French astronaut on space station calls for climate change action now

earth thomas pesquet
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared this image of Earth from the International Space Station. Credit: Thomas Pesquet/Twitter (Image credit: Thomas Pesquet/Twitter)

A French astronaut in space shared his current view of Earth and a call to address global warming as international leaders meet at a United Nations summit on climate.

Thomas Pesquet, a European Space Agency astronaut who is commander of the International Space Station, shared a view of the United Kingdom, which is hosting the meeting, surrounded by water. You can just see a solar panel of the space station peeking into the picture at top left.

"The Climate Change Conference #COP26Glasgow has started: we need #ClimateAction to reduce emissions and protect our world, and we can only do this together," Pesquet wrote in a tweet (opens in new tab) posted Monday (Nov. 1), tagging the United Nations Twitter feed.

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The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland until Nov. 12; Scotland is unfortunately under clouds in this picture, Pesquet noted.

(Pesquet is due to land in the coming weeks with Crew-2, but is in space a little longer amid a delay launching the Crew-3 mission due to a minor medical issue with one of the astronauts. NASA is currently targeting launch on Saturday (Nov. 6).)

Summit officials say that COP26 is "the world's best last chance" at addressing the global warming crisis, which in 2021 alone spurred devastating wildfires, storms, floods, glacial melting and other extreme weather across numerous global jurisdictions.

The 25th summit was held in December 2019 in Madrid and the results were widely panned by environmental observers, according to National Geographic (opens in new tab), especially as some discussions about carbon markets were deferred to Glasgow.

Pesquet also expressed dissatisfaction with the 2019 summit. "The results were a little disappointing," he said on Flickr (opens in new tab)

"Let's hope that the leaders from all over the world can unite and work together to achieve the goals that will keep our planet habitable for many millennia to come. We need #ClimateAction to reduce emissions and protect our world."

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace