United Kingdom, Climate Change
Climate change: trees to the rescue Fighting climate change is the challenge of the century. The last UN Environment Emissions Gap Report warned that, in order to ensure global warming stays below 2°C, efforts should be tripled , and if we want to stay below 1.
Improving the imperfect: photosynthesis for the future Despite its splendour and beauty, nature is full of imperfections. Indeed, the process of natural selection relies upon minor errors in genetic duplication to produce new variants, better suited to a given environment.
Green energy and politics: crowdfunding to the rescue? The Paris climate change pact , which entered into force last year, was announced with a huge fanfare. The deal aims to limit the rise in average global temperatures to “well below” two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Money-saving small wind turbines: myth or reality? Getting clean energy through your own turbine without relying on a central grid sounds great, but with subsidies being cut across Europe, is it too good to be true? Those with plenty of experience with wind turbines are quick to concede the financial challenges of this green technology.
Rooting sustainability starts on school benches Do young people know what a smart city is? Do they care about saving energy and preserving the Earth’s resources? “Rooting sustainability starts on the benches of schools,” affirmed UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova at the recent UN Climate Change Conference ( COP22 ) in Marrakech, Morocco.
Homes storing CO2, just like trees Domestic efforts play an important role in curbing global warming. Besides producing and using renewables, homes can also act as banks that store CO2 .
Cities: surviving floods and significant whims of the weather Part of the solution to counter the devastating effects of floods on human communities could be long-term climate forecasting, backed by assessments on the vulnerability of towns and cities As centres of innovation and growth, European cities are home to around 75% of the continent’s population and use about 80% of the energy it produces.
Bracing for summer thunderstorms With summertime and heat waves approaching, thunderstorms are becoming more frequent again. Recently several regions in Europe were hit by devastating thunderstorms along with strong winds, lightning strikes, hail and flash floods.
Resilient seeds - Nurturing the future of agriculture For the first time in its history, the Global Seed Vault on the Svalbard Islands, Norway, has authorised a withdrawal. It was requested in 2015 by Syria, a country where the war is endangering the local agricultural seed collections.
The sun is shining… Let’s prepare for severe weather! As well as being a time for celebration, winter in Europe is a time for serious weather. Blizzards, flash floods, hurricanes, heavy snow fall can cause chaos, major disruption, economic loss, and endanger lives.
The case for low methane-emitting cattle You may think that climate change is being caused by burning oil, coal and gas. But not so fast! The emission of methane from cattle is a surprisingly important factor .
To be or not to be green What happens to research findings once the researchers have gone away? A web site run from the University of Stuttgart in Germany offers scientists an opportunity to bring their own data from completed research project on environmental and health risks and contribute to an Integrated Environmental Health Impact Assessment System, dubbed IEHIAS .
Juggling with multiple risks Multiple disasters can have a cumulative impact leading to great human and financial loss. The awareness of all possible risks is of fundamental importance.
On the global water trail Water is one of humanity’s most pressing issues. Do we have enough of it for drinking, for farming or for industry? Too much, in the shape of flooding? Or too little, in the form of drought? The WATCH project, funded by the EU, was designed to give us better answers to questions of water management .
Tougher climate-resistant crops Might it be possible to make better plants more quickly than we do today? And without the public objection that accompanies genetic manipulation? Climate change means that this is now an urgent question.
Peter Freeman: Plants tell time Scientist Peter Freeman is managing a project that is probing the clock and metabolism of plants, called TiMet . Partners to the project include star biologists in the Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, all working to gain better insights into what make plants tick.