This December marks one year on from the Paris agreement, where world governments agreed to keep global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius of the average pre-industrial temperature. To mark the occasion, Horizon takes stock of the situation and examines the challenges ahead. We speak to scientists who are mapping a pathway for governments to cut back on emissions, we host a debate on steel - one of Europe’s most polluting industries, and we look the progress of carbon capture and storage. We also interview Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute in Germany, who was the first to propose that 2 degrees should be set as a limit for global warming.
Europe needs a climate research plan as focused as the US Apollo space programme that took astronauts to the moon, according to Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who in 1995 first proposed that we should limit the increase in the earth's temperature to 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Technologies such as nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, which are currently unpopular in many European countries, might be necessary if Europe is to meet the emissions reduction targets set out in Paris last year, according to researchers looking into the options facing Europe's Member States.
The steel industry plays a big role in Europe’s energy consumption, but many say green technologies have been sidelined to stay competitive with cheaper, dirtier steel from China. To explore the best way forward, Horizon organised a debate between Dr Klaus Peters, the secretary general of the European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP), and Wendel Trio, the director of Climate Action Network Europe.
This month we hear from the next generation of scientists and researchers in Europe about how they’re shaping the future, what they see as urgent research priorities to tackle global challenges, and the impact of the pandemic. From biodiversity to how to make industry greener, and the digital divide to the future of work, our stories reflect some of the issues that will be under discussion at the European Commission’s annual Research & Innovation Days conference at the end of June. We look at the impact of Europe’s pandemic response on vulnerable populations, ask five young bioeconomy researchers what this economy really is and how we get there, examine what new business models mean for the future of work, and more.
How do you design and build a robot that you can’t even see? And what would you use it for? In May, Horizon explores the developing field of nanorobotics and its potential applications. We speak to Prof. Brad Nelson at ETH Zurich in Switzerland whose team found that the nanobots they were working on destroyed the drugs they were meant to be delivering, so are now repurposing them to purify water. We speak to researchers who are using the origami-like properties of DNA to make tools such as nanorobotic boxes with lids that open, and others that have created a molecular robotic arm that can pick up, reposition and release molecules. And because tasks like going into a blood vessel to dissolve a dangerous clot would be ideal for a nanorobot, we find out how scientists are devising ways to enable nanorobots to travel through the bloodstream.
Microscopic organisms known as extremophiles inhabit some of the last places on Earth you might expect to find life, from the extreme pressures of the ocean floor to freezing ice caps. Understanding how these microbes survive by interacting with different metals and gases is opening up new knowledge about Earth’s elements and their potential uses.
A circular bioeconomy – which turns renewable biological resources and waste streams into new products – is at the heart of the EU’s efforts to slash its carbon emissions while also maintaining economic growth. But what does a bioeconomy look like and how do we get there?
Researchers are investigating links between microbes and rare earth elements.
We asked five young bioeconomy researchers to set out their vision.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.