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’s oceans are overfished, polluted and – for something that makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – still little understood. This month, Horizon looks at some of the science that could help us take better care of our oceans, from robots trash collectors out at sea to finding ways to track the plastic that enters our waters. Plus, we look at how climate change is affecting plans for sustainable aquaculture, tech that can help divers reduce the cost of their dives by more than 50%, and the challenges facing research in the Black Sea.
To mark the European year of cultural heritage, Horizon explores how science is helping to uncover more about our past and to preserve our art, landscapes, buildings and ways of life for the future. We discover why prehistoric humans chose to paint rock art where they did, and how farming techniques from hundreds of years ago could help fight climate change today. Plus, we learn how cultural heritage feeds into European identities and what can be done to prevent the destruction of historical sites during wartime.
The rise of alternative health practices and a quest for purity can partly explain the falling confidence in vaccines which is driving outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, according to Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision medicine at the UK’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is working to understand the causes of vaccine hesitancy in order to devise ways of rebuilding trust.
Some materials are special not for what they contain, but for what they don’t contain. Such is the case with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – ultra-porous structures that are being developed for a variety of future applications from fire-proofing to drug-delivery.
Understanding people’s fears is the key to increasing confidence.
Are metal organic frameworks the hole-y grail of nanomaterials?
A new report on how to reinvigorate Europe's industrial sector recommends prioritising AI and cyber security research.