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

Coal-fired Power station with steaming cooling tower and lonesome tree

Reducing carbon emissions: don’t wait until tomorrow  

Neil Grant, Research Postgraduate on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP, blogs on why avoiding a tonne of carbon dioxide today is not the same as removing a tonne of carbon dioxide tomorrow. In 2019, public concern about climate change increased dramatically, and pressure is growing on world leaders to take decisive action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Experts are warning that, with the world significantly off-track to … Continue reading Reducing carbon emissions: don’t wait until tomorrow  

A group of refugees leaving Hungary, walking down the road carrying their things

Climate change is a security issue. How can we make sure climate security receives the attention it needs?  

Shirin Hakim and Miriam Aczel, who recently co-organised a Grantham Institute event about climate change, low-carbon transitions and security, reflect on why climate change is a security issue and the next steps for researchers and policymakers .   While climate change and security have traditionally been examined in isolation, climate is increasingly entering the policy arena as a national security issue. The impacts of global warming are far-reaching. Extreme weather like droughts and flooding … Continue reading Climate change is a security issue. How can we make sure climate security receives the attention it needs?  

Direct air capture: could this new technology save us from climate change?

FEATURE: A promising technology that sucks carbon dioxide from the air could help, but not replace, climate action, say experts. Simon Levey explores what is Direct Air Capture and what are the chances of it taking off in time to help avert the climate crisis. Continue reading Direct air capture: could this new technology save us from climate change?

Why global challenges need interdisciplinary researchers, and how to become one

Dr  Jonathan Bosch,  one year on from finishing up as a Research Postgraduate on the  Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP (SSCP DTP), shares his tips on how to be successful at interdisciplinary research. As we face up to some of the toughest challenges of our age, the boundaries between the traditional academic fields – such as science, engineering, medicine, sociology, etc. – … Continue reading Why global challenges need interdisciplinary researchers, and how to become one

A nurse leans over a small baby, being held by a man, in a small rural hospital

Energy for life – The underestimated component for good healthcare provision

Muriel Hauser, visiting research postgraduate at the Grantham Institute, considers why electricity is so important for healthcare, and how improving access to energy can improve access to healthcare for all people.  Have you ever worried that a blackout might occur when you’re in hospital? That an operation could be interrupted because of a power outage, or that it could be impossible to get an X-ray … Continue reading Energy for life – The underestimated component for good healthcare provision

Dam spans deep river valley, with water gushing out and green-sided hills to either side

The pitfalls of hydroelectric power in drought-prone Africa

Alvaro Lara, former student on the MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance programme, considers Africa’s reliance on hydroelectric power, the impact of climate change on the water cycle and why current plans to invest in more hydroelectric projects may not be a route to energy security. For much of 2017, one of the world’s least-developed countries, Malawi in south-east Africa, experienced intermittent blackouts as a result of … Continue reading The pitfalls of hydroelectric power in drought-prone Africa

Heindl’s Gravity Storage - graphic showing a huge mass of rock in a cylinder, held up by water

Gravity – the solution to energy storage?

Oliver Schmidt, research postgraduate on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP who is funded by the Grantham Institute, recently authored a report analysing the costs of gravity-based energy storage options. In this blog, he considers why harnessing the power of gravity could revolutionise energy storage in the future. Lithium-ion batteries seem to be used everywhere – from tablets and smart phones, to electric … Continue reading Gravity – the solution to energy storage?