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.
The world looks very different from this time last year. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the centrality of science, research and innovation, accelerated some changes already in the works, but also exposed our weaknesses. In September, Horizon looks at how the pandemic is reshaping Europe in areas including health research, work, tech, transport and food – and how research can contribute to Europe’s recovery over the coming years. We will also be covering the European Research & Innovation Days at the end of the month, which will bring together scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs and citizens to debate how research and innovation can ensure that the transition to a post-coronavirus society is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
In August, Horizon looks at one of the features that makes Earth unique and habitable: plate tectonics. We explore what we know – and still don’t know – about how the shifting plates beneath our feet shape our planet. We speak to researcher Dr Kate Rychert, who wants to understand what makes a plate plate-like, and delve into one of the outstanding mysteries in the subject – how and why plate tectonics began. We find out about the link between mountain formation, erosion and climate change, and we look at what moonquakes and marsquakes can reveal about tectonic activity elsewhere.
European governments need to provide investment on a ‘wartime footing’ to stimulate a post-coronavirus economic recovery, but also need to redefine economic success to incorporate climate and social goals, the European Research and Innovation Days conference has heard.
The Covid-19 crisis provides an opportunity to reshape Europe’s economy, conference heard.
'Frontier research' scientists share how they are fighting Covid-19.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.