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Environment

25 June 2021

Cities that connect people and nature are a post-pandemic priority, conference hears

Care homes that let people age with integrity, green kindergartens and community centres that bring together people of all ages were some of the visions for how to build a better Europe presented by citizens from Estonia, Bulgaria and Poland on 24 June at the European Commission’s annual flagship research conference.
14 June 2021

How carbon-intensive industries can scale up CO2 recycling

New technologies that capture and recycle carbon dioxide from industrial processes such as steel and cement making will be vital if the EU is to meet its goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and down to zero by 2050. However, while solutions are emerging, more work is needed in order to roll them out at scale, experts say.
10 June 2021

Extremophiles could hold clues for climate change-tackling technologies

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.
08 June 2021

What is the bioeconomy and how could it help fight climate change?

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?
03 June 2021

Car parts, ski boots and boxes: How broken or used plastic is being given new life

Since the early 1950s, humans have produced more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic – the weight of around a billion elephants. About 60% of that plastic has ended up in a landfill or in the natural environment, according to the UN Environment Programme, but that pattern may start to change as repair and recycling technology gathers pace.
01 June 2021

Bird-like robots could assist in medical emergencies and hunt down drones

A bird flaps its wings, glides using air currents and then smoothly descends to perch on a pole. But this is not just any bird, it’s a robot bird. And robots like these could in the next decade be used to respond to emergencies or to hunt down drones posing a threat to safety or security.
31 May 2021

Why scientists want to turn tree bark and compost into aircraft wings and plastic bags

Trees, crops and even organic waste can be transformed into a bewildering array of plastics to use in products ranging from single-use bags to heavy-duty aeroplane wings.
27 May 2021

Recovering drugs from sewers could reduce harm to wildlife

Common medicines that have passed through patients' bodies are ending up in the environment, but the threat many of them pose to wildlife and human health still needs to be determined. It may even be possible to recover some of these life-saving compounds so they can be reused.
18 May 2021

How flood protection can paradoxically put people at risk

Governments who build defences against rising seas can actually increase their citizens’ risk of being flooded – if they fail to take account of the ‘safe development paradox’, according to a flood defence expert.
11 May 2021

Why climate change could make Mediterranean atmospheric ‘meteotsunamis’ more common

Rogue waves that strike without warning across the Mediterranean and elsewhere may become more frequent as the climate changes, early-stage research suggests.