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International research led by Prof. Wim Thiery of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel research group BCLIMATE shows that children are to face disproportionate increases in lifetime extreme event exposure – especially in low-income countries. Bridging between climate science and demography, the team for the first time quantified lifetime exposure to droughts, heatwaves, crop failures, river floods, tropical cyclones, and wildfires. They computed lifetime exposure for every generation born between 1960 and 2020, and this for every country in the world and for every global warming scenario between today’s 1°C and 3.5°C above pre-industrial. Their findings show that under current climate policy, newborns across the globe will on average face seven times more scorching heatwaves during their lives than their grandparents. In addition, they will on average live through 2.6 times more droughts, 2.8 times as many river floods, almost three times as many crop failures, and twice the number of wildfires as people born 60 years ago. “Our results highlight a severe threat to the safety of young generations and call for drastic emission reductions to safeguard their future.” says Thiery, climate scientist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and lead author of the study.
Dr. Daniel Pauly is the world’s most-cited fisheries scientist, but life for the UBC professor has been far from easy. The biracial son of a French woman and an American GI, he was born in Paris and kidnapped as a child to be a live-in servant for a Swiss family. Dr. Pauly went on to blow the whistle on the devastation caused to marine ecosystems by the global fishing industry, and to become a marine scientist whose work received worldwide recognition. Now, readers can learn more in his biography, The Ocean’s Whistleblower, available this week.
The decline of biodiversity is one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st century. This is why “Biodiversity and the Future of Diversity” was chosen as the topic of this year’s Annual Assembly of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, which is being held in Halle (Saale) on Friday, 24 September, and Saturday, 25 September. Researchers are coming together for two days to discuss why biodiversity must be preserved and promoted and how this can be achieved. Anja Karliczek, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Dr. Reiner Haseloff, Minister-President of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, gave opening remarks in the morning. All Annual Assembly sessions are being livestreamed.
The debate on green vehicles often focuses on fuel efficiency and alternative fuels, with the transition to fuel alternatives commonly being considered better for the environment the faster it is. A new study shows that keeping and using existing fuel-efficient cars a little longer can actually reduce CO₂ emissions even with gasoline cars. Thus, a gradual transition and policies that encourage a change in consumption patterns are also key for reducing overall emissions.
- Journal of Industrial Ecology
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A team co-led by a Washington State University scientist offers an alternative way to understand and minimize health impacts from human-caused changes to the climate and environment in a new study published in the journal One Earth.
- One Earth
“Although some hoped having the human genome in hand [as of two decades ago] would let us sprint to medical miracles,” writes Science Senior Editor Laura Zahn, in an introduction to a special issue of the journal, “the field is more an ongoing relay race of contributions from genomic studies.” In a Policy Forum, a Perspective, four Reviews and two related News stories, the special issue examines well-earned successes in applying research in the human genome to understanding human evolution, cancer, polygenic traits, and functional genomics. It also highlights research ground yet to cover. A Perspective in the issue by Jennifer E. Rood and Aviv Regev reflects on the progress since the publication of the first draft sequence of the Human Genome Project (HGP). The initiative forever altered biomedicine, they say, but work remains to fulfill its true potential. “The HGP has also left us with a major mission—still incomplete 20 years later—to understand how genomic information leads to the development, function, and malfunction of cells and organisms and to fully leverage this knowledge to promote human health and treat disease,” say Rood and Regev. In a Policy Forum, Natalie Ram and colleagues highlight the first law in the United States—and in the world—that comprehensively regulates law enforcement’s use of consumer genetic data to investigate crimes. It was enacted in May 2021 in Maryland. Before that, the primary restraint on law enforcement’s use of consumer genetic data had come from consumer genetics platforms themselves, with some declining to cooperate. The new law’s success, say the authors, “provides a roadmap for regulating genetic genealogy in a way that balances privacy and public safety, and its terms include six critical features that others should model moving forward.” Four Reviews cover topics including the value of the polygenic (risk) score for identifying people at increased risk of disease, thereby facilitating prevention or early intervention; the importance of integrating different types of data in understanding the molecular evolution of malignant cell states across the cancer life cycle; the importance of understanding the biological mechanisms by which genetic variants influence phenotypes, using new methods; and the way recent advancements in DNA sequencing technologies and laboratory preparation protocols have expanded the scope of ancient DNA research over the past decade. A story from Jocelyn Kaiser, a reporter in Science’s news department, reviews the promise of newborn genome sequencing, which still faces a host of ethical and practical obstacles. Even so, one company in the United Kingdom is pushing ahead with a major test: Genomics England is planning a large pilot research project, involving as many as 200,000 babies. In a separate news story on human genomics, reporter Mitch Leslie profiles researcher and physician Dan Kastner, who became the scientific director of the National Human Genome Research Institute in 2010. Kastner is known for having defined autoinflammatory diseases as a category of illness, and for having collaborated to identify 14 defective genes that trigger these conditions. By identifying what drives these diseases, Kastner’s work opened the door for life-changing and even life-saving treatments for patients. What’s more, the gene-hunting methods he and other scientists have pursued could change the approach for identifying and defining diseases; doctors have traditionally recognized new illnesses based on clusters of symptoms, but Kastner proposes to first sequence genomes to pinpoint mutations and then determine if people who carry these glitches suffer from unexplained health problems. This approach could allow for discovery of diseases scientists didn’t imagine occurring, Leslie writes. In fact, Kastner and his colleagues have already revealed one such unimagined disease, and he plans to search for more.
A new machine vision system for testing materials and parts for nuclear reactors shows damage, such as swelling and defects due to radiation, in real time. It could speed up the development of components for advanced nuclear reactors, which may play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.
- U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research Program
Engineers at the University of Cincinnati are developing new ways to convert greenhouse gases to fuel to address climate change and get astronauts home from Mars.
- Nature Communications
A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, in collaboration with scientists at Princeton University, shows that the intensification of global hydrological cycle drives more ocean heat uptake into the deep ocean and moderates the pace of global warming.
- Nature Climate Change
- NASA Headquarters,