EU Science Hub

How Santa Claus is coping in a changing world

Dec 21 2018

Worried about the effects of global warming, new data protection regulations and fake news, Santa Claus is taking advantage of JRC science to align his operations with the requirements of the modern world.

This year Santa's elves have not only been watching JRC researchers to find out whether they have been naughty or nice. Santa sent them to the Commission's science service to find out how scientific knowledge and tools could be used to increase the efficiency of Santa's present delivery operations – and at the same time reduce its carbon footprint.

The JRC Press Office met with Santa's head Spokeself to find out more.

"Global warming is an issue for Santa, as it is for all of us working with him. We are very concerned about the mild winters and lack of snow. Santa has already been looking for alternative ways of transport, but before giving up the reindeer, he would prefer to do something to stop global warming. That is why he has made a personal commitment to make all our operations carbon neutral", Santa's Spokeself said.

Santa's team was particularly interested in the JRC's work on energy efficiency and how it could be applied to reduce the energy consumption of the gift workshops.

"Many of the JRC's activities are relevant for what we do. Scientific information and tools enable us to make improvements along the production chain, starting from the storing of personal information to the running of the gift workshops and the delivery services", the Spokeself commented.

Thanks to the JRC's Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres, big energy savings can be made in Santa's data centre – the place where the addresses and records of the world's children are stored.

"As far as personal data goes, I must say that the EU's General Data Protection Regulation was a bit of a headache for us. But now the elves have discovered Cyber Chronix, the game that the JRC designed to explain data protection issues to young people. And although they are not so young anymore, they were having so much fun with the game that they will soon know all the data protection principles by heart!", the Spokeself laughed.

Santa is still relying on reindeer for transport and is reluctant to move to other forms of transport. However, he has been studying different e-mobility options as a backup solution, in case the snow situation makes it impossible to travel with reindeer.

"He is following closely the JRC's work on e-mobility and interoperability. If we were to move on to e-mobility one day, all the interoperability issues would need to be solved to guarantee timely present delivery globally. We are happy that the JRC is collaborating with the Unites States to solve these issues, to guarantee strong global standards in the future", the Spokeself said.

Santa's team was also interested in the JRC's support to the Galileo navigation system. And the team was convinced that Santa should install the new eCall system in his sleigh.

"We rely a lot on global positioning systems and like everyone else, we sometimes get lost, especially in the more remote areas of the world. Galileo will improve this situation. It will enable us not only to find our way but also to save a lot of time. We didn't know about the eCall system, but we will definitely recommend that Santa uses it in the future", said the Spokeself.

The team has already been using the JRC's map of travel time to cities to plan Santa's route. They have to deliver presents to all the world's children, even those who live in areas that are very difficult to access. The JRC's map of travel time to major cities has been very useful for this, the team confirms.

Finally, the Spokesperson complemented the JRC for its work on fake news: "There are all sorts of rumours out there – also about Santa Claus! Some people maintain that he doesn't even exist, how crazy is that? I am so glad that this issue is finally being addressed and I hope that as a result people will think twice about what news they believe in!"

Merry Christmas to everyone!

JRC Press Office