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Coronavirus: How we emerge from this terrible crisis could push us into a better future

The Grantham Institute’s Dr Alex Koberle blogs on how the response to COVID-19 could help shape a sustainable, resilient future. The COVID-19 global pandemic is pushing institutions and governments to their limits. People are worried about their health, their families, losing their jobs and the uncertainty the future holds. The economic fallout of this crisis is still uncertain too, and we may well wake up … Continue reading Coronavirus: How we emerge from this terrible crisis could push us into a better future

Coronavirus and climate change: “There is much uncertainty, and much to play for”

The Grantham Institute’s Dr Ajay Gambhir blogs on how learning from the coronavirus crisis could help place the world on a firmer footing to tackle the multiple challenges we will face this century – including climate change. Coronavirus is here. Its impact on our health systems, economies and behaviours cannot yet be understood, but analogies have already been drawn between this immediate challenge and the … Continue reading Coronavirus and climate change: “There is much uncertainty, and much to play for”

Antarctica at 200: why the ‘climate decade’ must secure the future for Antarctica

Following an Imperial Lates event focused on what the future may hold for Antarctica, Richard Knight, former student on Imperial’s MSc Environmental Technology course, blogs on how vulnerable the continent is, how its sensitivity to climate change threatens the world, and how to protect it.   This year Antarctica celebrates its 200-year anniversary, marking two centuries since it was discovered. Since then, humanity’s interests have largely shifted away from exploiting the continent’s rich aquatic life and mineral … Continue reading Antarctica at 200: why the ‘climate decade’ must secure the future for Antarctica

The graphic shows that a single journey from London to Paris by plane will cost £64, take 4 hours 40 minutes, and emit 59kg equivalent of carbon dioxide. By train, the same journey will cost £49, take 2 hours 55 minutes, and emit 2kg equivalent of carbon dioxide. Assumptions: the start and end location are the main train terminal in the centre of each city; travel costs are for the cheapest advance tickets bought in advance and include all connecting journeys; carbon emissions are calculated using UK government greenhouse gas emissions factors for short-haul flights, ferry and international rail travel. To find out more, visit www.imperial.ac.uk/stories/climate-action

Reducing demand for air travel starts at work

Laura Warwick, Research Postgraduate on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Partnership, says flying shouldn’t be the default option when it comes to international travel. Aviation is becoming an increasingly contentious issue in the UK. The government’s decision to step in to assist regional airline Flybe seems to be at odds with the UK Committee on Climate Change’s warning that continued … Continue reading Reducing demand for air travel starts at work

patches of fire burn on a grassy field in a dark landscape with trees in the background

Spreading like wildfire; the double-threat of changing landscapes and climate

Wildfire is the single greatest terrestrial disturbance agent on Earth. Satellite data suggest that in an average year, wildfires burn a total area of around 3.5 million km2, an area around 15 times larger than the UK. While some of these fires are purposefully controlled or are manageable, and can have benefits for ecosystems and livelihoods, other fires burn uncontrollably, with sometimes devastating consequences for safety, livelihoods, wildlife and climate. Continue reading Spreading like wildfire; the double-threat of changing landscapes and climate

A man and his dog stand at the end of a footbridge over a flooded car park. Sign reads 'Long Stay'.

Salt marshes or sea walls? Preventing coastal flooding in the UK

Nick Reynard, Lizzie Ellison and Amy Wilson, Research Postgraduates on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP, consider how nature-based solutions can help boost flood defences and tackle climate change. Climate change is causing vast glaciers to melt, a drastic rise in global sea levels and more extreme weather events. A major consequence of these changes is the increased frequency and severity of … Continue reading Salt marshes or sea walls? Preventing coastal flooding in the UK

Road leading to the horizon in the desert or similar with the word future and an arrow

Climate change: Teaching our unknowable future

Grantham Institute Lecturer Dr Joeri Rogelj says when it comes to climate change education, ‘stories about the future’ help people to come to terms with uncertain outcomes, and consistently receive great feedback from students. The impacts of climate change are happening now and our daily news is inundated with stories of record-breaking weather events and their destructive effects on people’s lives around the globe. Understanding … Continue reading Climate change: Teaching our unknowable future

Anti-fracking protesters with yellow signs saying "frack free Lancashire"

Fracking Q&A: The background, the ban and what’s coming next

Last weekend, the United Kingdom Government announced a moratorium on fracking, based on evidence from a report by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA). In this Q&A, Imperial’s Karen Makuch, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law, and Miriam Aczel, President’s Scholar at the Centre for Environmental Policy, consider what led to the ban, and what it might mean for the UK energy sector going forwards.   What … Continue reading Fracking Q&A: The background, the ban and what’s coming next

Picture of the road A401 by Shepherd's Bush Green, flanked by tower blocks

Painting over the cracks – a short-term fix for air pollution?

The Grantham Institute’s Dr Andreas Kafizas blogs on how light-activated paint and coatings can help tackle air pollution, and whether or not they are effective. Air pollution is a public health emergency. Imperial research shows that poor air quality in London leads to around 1,000 hospital admissions for asthma and serious lung conditions every year. For the UK as a whole, it is estimated that … Continue reading Painting over the cracks – a short-term fix for air pollution?

Watercolour painting of krill bioluminescence. (c) Wikimedia commons

9 things you need to know about krill and why they are essential to the health of the ocean

Watercolour painting of krill bioluminescence. (c) Wikimedia commons Imperial’s Dr Emma Cavan, lead author of a recent Nature Communications paper on the role of krill in influencing the environment, and the University of Tasmania’s Professor Steve Nicol, author of ‘The Curious Life of Krill’, blog on why krill are so much more than they seem. Krill – a crustacean that looks a bit like a … Continue reading 9 things you need to know about krill and why they are essential to the health of the ocean