‘We still don’t know enough about the dangers of microplastics’

There is 'large uncertainty' surrounding the risk from microplastics, pieces of plastic less than 5mm wide, says Prof. Bart Koelmans.

by Jonathan O’Callaghan An estimated 5.25 trillion particles of plastic float in Earth’s oceans, threatening not only the health of marine ecosystems and animals, but that of humans in the water we drink and the food we eat. However, research into the extent of the dangers posed by microplastics is still just in its infancy. … Read more

Genetic diversity maps to help forests survive climate change

Image credit - Mehdi Pringarbe/INRA Avignon, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Forests have a special magic for many of us. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, they are places for enchantments, mythical creatures and outlaws. But if they are to survive into the future, they may also need a helping hand from science. Globally, forests are having a tough time. Industrial logging, wildfires and deforestation for agriculture … Read more

Greener fuels to propel rocket launches into space

Hydrazine, the most common rocket propellant, is on the EU’s list of substances of high concern.

by Ethan Bilby Turns out, green fuels are rocket science. Space exploration may have given us pictures of our pristine, blue planet Earth and raised awareness to protect our environment, but that’s no good if the rockets that get us to orbit are based on old, toxic propellants. For decades, the most common rocket propellant has … Read more

Noisier waters linked to behaviour change, hearing loss in whales

Image Credit - Flickr/spezz CC BY 2.0

Studies investigating whale-watching boats and the inner ears of marine mammals could soon provide new insight into the effects of noisier oceans on cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – who depend on their hearing for navigating, finding food and communicating underwater. Noise in our oceans is increasing due to human activities such as shipping, … Read more

‘Internet of electricity’ and zero-carbon molecules will help decarbonise Europe – report

The EU should cut greenhouse gases by 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050, according to the European Commission's low-carbon economy roadmap.

An ‘internet of electricity’, zero-carbon cities and turning European soils into carbon sinks are among a slew of ambitious ideas to decarbonise our society and slash greenhouse gas emissions proposed by environmental experts in a reportpublished on 28 November. ‘The message in our report is that this decarbonisation business is potentially a huge economic opportunity,’ said Professor … Read more

Storing CO2 underground can curb carbon emissions, but is it safe?

Scientists at Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in Iceland have demonstrated a carbon capture and storage cycle at half the cost of previous estimates.

by Jonathan O’ Callaghan At first glance, it almost sounds crazy. Can we really take carbon dioxide emissions from an industrial plant and store them underground? To find out, research is currently taking place to test if such an idea is not only viable but safe, and prove that to the public. This approach is … Read more