climate change

Heat stroke: A doctor offers tips to stay safe as temperatures soar

Heat stroke: A doctor offers tips to stay safe as temperatures soar

I easily remember laughing at Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child. I can still see the Coyote walking slowly through the sweltering desert, sun high in the sky, sweating, tongue-hanging-out, about to collapse from heat, hunger and thirst. Then, BEEP! BEEP! the Road Runner would fly past, and the chase was on with a perfectly revived Coyote.

Reforesting an area the size of the US needed to help avert climate breakdown, say researchers – are they right?

Reforesting an area the size of the US needed to help avert climate breakdown, say researchers – are they right?

Restoring the world’s forests on an unprecedented scale is “the best climate change solution available”, according to a new study. The researchers claim that covering 900m hectares of land – roughly the size of the continental US – with trees could store up to 205 billion tonnes of carbon, about two thirds of the carbon that humans have already put into the atmosphere.

Sydney declares a climate emergency – what does that mean in practice?

Sydney declares a climate emergency – what does that mean in practice?

Late on Monday night, the City of Sydney became the first state capital in Australia to officially declare a climate emergency. With climate change considered a threat to human life, Sydney councillors unanimously supported a motion put forward by Lord Mayor Clover Moore to mobilise city resources to reduce carbon emissions and minimise the impact of future change.

World Oceans Day 8 June: The ocean is the most important buffer for CO2 and global warming

World Oceans Day 8 June: The ocean is the most important buffer for CO2 and global warming

The annual World Oceans day is upon us. If we really want to do something about the effect of additional CO2 emissions on climate change we have to look at the oceans according to marine geologist, Professor Gert-Jan Reichart from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University.

Pollen is getting worse, but you can make things better with these tips from an allergist

Pollen is getting worse, but you can make things better with these tips from an allergist

Blooming spring flowers signal the beginning of spring, but for millions of people, they also signal the onset of the misery: allergy and asthma season. Itchy, watery eyes; sneezing, runny nose; cough and wheezing are triggered by an overreaction of the body to pollen.

Can genetic engineering save disappearing forests?

Can genetic engineering save disappearing forests?

Compared to gene-edited babies in China and ambitious projects to rescue woolly mammoths from extinction, biotech trees might sound pretty tame. But releasing genetically engineered trees into forests to counter threats to forest health represents a new frontier in biotechnology.

Coffee: 60% of wild species are at risk of extinction due to climate change

Coffee: 60% of wild species are at risk of extinction due to climate change

Is your morning coffee an espresso or a skinny latte? Is it from a darkly roasted French or Italian blend? If it’s a high quality brew, it’s almost certainly made with beans from the Arabica species (Coffea arabica), which is known for its finer flavours. Examples would be Javan coffees, Ethiopian sidamo, and the expensive Jamaican blue mountain.

Hothouse Earth: our planet has been here before – here’s what it looked like

Hothouse Earth: our planet has been here before – here’s what it looked like

Even if carbon emissions are reduced to hold temperature rises at the 2°C guardrail of the Paris Agreement, changes already afoot in the environment such as melting permafrost and forest die-back could accelerate warming well into the future, potentially pushing our planet into what is being called a “Hothouse Earth” state.

There’s a Radical Plan to Artificially Cool the Planet by Mimicking Volcanic Eruptions

There’s a Radical Plan to Artificially Cool the Planet by Mimicking Volcanic Eruptions

Some have suggested solar geoengineering — the injection of aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from the planet — as a way to counter global warming. However, new research suggests the radical process could do as much harm as good.

Melting ice and satellites: how to measure the Earth’s ‘wiggle

Melting ice and satellites: how to measure the Earth’s ‘wiggle

In a driverless future, it will be vital that our cars know exactly where they are on the road, down to the millimetre. We’ve found that our current methods of measuring location may not be up to scratch. Changes on Earth’s surface, including polar ice melt, may alter its centre of mass, throwing our calculations out of whack.

To curb climate change, we need to protect and expand US forests

To curb climate change, we need to protect and expand US forests

Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation.

How Europe’s coastal cities can cope with rising sea levels

How Europe’s coastal cities can cope with rising sea levels

The average global sea level has risen by more than 20cm since 1980 – that’s a rate of 0.5mm per month – according to new research from the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BCCC). These are frightening statistics for Europe’s vulnerable coastal cities including Barcelona, Istanbul, Dublin and others. With homes, infrastructure and indeed entire economies at stake, it’s crucial for authorities to understand the extent of the risk these cities are facing – and take steps to manage it.

Turning greenhouse gas into gasoline

Turning greenhouse gas into gasoline

A new catalyst material developed by chemists at MIT provides key insight into the design requirements for producing liquid fuels from carbon dioxide, the leading component of greenhouse gas emissions. The findings suggest a route toward using the world’s existing infrastructure for fuel storage and distribution, without adding net greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere.

What exactly does ‘instantaneous’ mean?

What exactly does ‘instantaneous’ mean?

How short is an “instant”? Is it a second? A tenth of a second? A microsecond? You might think all of these qualify. What about 100 years? That certainly doesn’t seem like an instant, and to a human being, it isn’t, since we’d be lucky to have a lifespan that long. But to a giant sequoia, say, 100 years is no big deal. And in geological terms it’s practically nothing.