COP26: French Astronaut – “Earth is a Sad View from Space”
A French astronaut reported on the damage from climate change on Earth seen from space, calling it a "sad sight" in a conversation with President Emmanuel Macron.
Thomas Peske, who is on his second orbit of the International Space Station in orbit around the planet, told Macron via video link that the destructive impact of human activity is becoming more visible, even from a distance of 400 km.
"Unfortunately, that's the case, Mr. President," Peske said.
"Through the windows of the space station we clearly see the fragility of the Earth. We see the harmful effects of human activity, pollution of rivers and air."
The astronauts at the station observed "entire burning regions, such as Canada. We saw California covered in a cloud of smoke, we saw the flames with the naked eye."
Similar devastation can be seen in Greece and southern France, the astronaut said, describing the "sad sight of recurring tropical storms".
Asked by Macron if things had changed since Pesque's first mission in 2016, the astronaut replied:
"Yes, meteorological phenomena are accelerating at an alarming rate."
Visibly struck by this finding, Macron remained silent for a moment, then said:
"We need to speed up our commitments and their implementation much more. That is the goal of COP26."
Peske, an astronaut with the European Space Agency, is the current commander of the International Space Station. He is due to return to Earth in the coming days after a second six-month stay at the station, five years after his first space station mission.
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