Explore Challenges

Climate Change

Africa in the 21st Century

November 2007

The 21st Century Challenges series was launched in 2007 with Sir Bob Geldof & Kofi Annan discussing the major challenges facing Africa in the 21st century


Watch the talks

Challenges / Africa in the 21st Century

Future of low carbon energy

March 2008 A discussion on how global investment can be encouraged to forward low carbon technologies.     Watch the talks

Challenges / Future of low carbon energy

Carbon Capture Storage (CCS)

60 second guide to Carbon Capture Storage

Engineering our climate / 60 Seconds / Carbon Capture Storage (CCS)

Scientists issue warning that technology to beat global warming may backfire

Engineering solutions to modify the Earth's environment and climate may be necessary if humanity is to adapt to global warming, a group of influential scientists will say today. =

Engineering our climate / In The News / Scientists issue warning that technology to beat global warming may backfire

Necessity’s inventions

The infant science of geo-engineering – one that so many would gladly see strangled in its cradle – could grow into the best job creation scheme for universities ever invented.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Necessity’s inventions

Royal Society to research potential of geoengineering to limit global warming

The Royal Society has announced plans today to study which planetary-scale geoengineering techniques might play a practical role in stemming the worst impacts of climate change.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Royal Society to research potential of geoengineering to limit global warming

Farms to take heat out of warming

Farmers could help curb rising global temperatures by selecting crop varieties that reflect solar energy back into space, researchers say.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Farms to take heat out of warming

EU spending spree brings carbon capture closer to reality

Europe-wide plan proposes €1.25bn for carbon capture at coal-fired power plants; €1.75bn earmarked for better international energy links

Engineering our climate / In The News / EU spending spree brings carbon capture closer to reality

Every silver lining has a cloud

Plans to engineer the climate may be less effective than had been hoped

Engineering our climate / In The News / Every silver lining has a cloud

Geo-engineering our climate

Events / Geo-engineering our climate

Can geo-engineering rebuild the planet?

As global warming worsens, the idea of vast projects to alter the Earth's environment is moving from fantasy to necessity.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Can geo-engineering rebuild the planet?

What is geoengineering?

Read about engineering solutions to directly modify the Earth's environment and climate to help ease the warming of the planet

Engineering our climate / Focus / What is geoengineering?

Sulphur screens

Could a screen of chemicals in the stratosphere help to cool the earth?

Engineering our climate / 60 Seconds / Sulphur screens

Fifth of world carbon emissions soaked up by extra forest growth, scientists find

Trees in the tropics are getting bigger, which means they are soaking up an extra 5bn tonnes of CO2 a year

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Fifth of world carbon emissions soaked up by extra forest growth, scientists find

Ocean fertilisation

How could fertilising the oceans help fight climate change?

Engineering our climate / 60 Seconds / Ocean fertilisation

Beijing blanketed by snow after China seeds clouds to beat drought

Heavy snowfalls over Beijing have been induced by blasting chemicals into clouds over northern China to try to mitigate the most severe drought to grip northern China in nearly half a century.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Beijing blanketed by snow after China seeds clouds to beat drought

Ocean iron plan approved as researchers show algae absorb CO2

Greenhouse gases trapped deep in ocean by iron-fertilised algae, scientists say, as experiment gets green light

Engineering our climate / In The News / Ocean iron plan approved as researchers show algae absorb CO2

Customising clouds to stop global warming

An engineering professor and a cloud physics expert have been pumping salt into clouds to change the way they reflect light from the sun in an attempt to stop the planet heating up.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Customising clouds to stop global warming

Artificial trees

Artificial trees that could extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

Engineering our climate / 60 Seconds / Artificial trees

Increasing cloud reflectivity

Professors John Latham and Stephen Salter have designed a fleet of ships that could pump fine particles of sea-water into clouds

Engineering our climate / 60 Seconds / Increasing cloud reflectivity

Increasing reflectivity

Could we cool the planet by increasing the reflectivity of urban areas?

Engineering our climate / 60 Seconds / Increasing reflectivity

Great clean-up - can economic rescue plans also save planet?

Campaigners hope huge spending packages aimed at easing the slump will spell the first serious attempt to tackle climate change. But are they as green as billed?

The future shape of Capitalism / In The News / Great clean-up - can economic rescue plans also save planet?

Scientists to stop global warming with 100,000 square mile sun shade

Scientists claim they can fight global warming by firing trillions of mirrors into space to deflect the sun's rays forming a 100,000 square mile "sun shade".

Engineering our climate / In The News / Scientists to stop global warming with 100,000 square mile sun shade

Carbon capture won’t work until 2030, says energy boss

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, has warned that coal plants fitted with carbon capture storage (CCS) equipment are unlikely to be ready to make big cuts in Britain's emissions before 2030.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Carbon capture won’t work until 2030, says energy boss

Decision on new coal-fired plant delayed again

Decisions about any new coal-fired power plants in the UK have been delayed until the autumn, prompting warnings from energy companies about the growing risk that the country could run out of electricity generating capacity.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Decision on new coal-fired plant delayed again

Meet the panel for ‘Engineering our climate’

Read the biographies of the panel for 'Engineering our climate' event. Prof David Keith is an internationally renowned environmental scientist, based at Calgary Univeristy, Canada and Dr Paul Johnston, Head of Science Unit for Greenpeace International

Engineering our climate / Focus / Meet the panel for ‘Engineering our climate’

Interview with Tony Juniper

Tony Juniper, special adviser to The Prince of Wales' Rainforest Project, and former director of Friends of the Earth, joins 21st Century Challenges to discuss the issues surrounding rainforest conservation and the challenges of the 21st century.

Razing the Rainforest / Focus / Interview with Tony Juniper

Big problems need big solutions

Climate change is a massive problem that needs big and bold solutions, says Professor Tim Lenton. He outlines the reasons why "geo-engineering" projects could help win the battle against dangerous climate change.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Big problems need big solutions

Revenge of the rainforest

The Amazon has long been the lungs of the world. But now comes dramatic evidence that we cannot rely on it in the fight against climate change

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Revenge of the rainforest

Hopes of climate change accord ‘are sinking’

Two leading climate scientists have broken ranks with their peers to declare that hopes of getting a meaningful political deal on halting global warming this year are already lost. Is Geoengineering Plan B?

Engineering our climate / In The News / Hopes of climate change accord ‘are sinking’

Carbon capture: Scrubbing the skies

Removing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere could help combat climate change. Will it really work?

Engineering our climate / In The News / Carbon capture: Scrubbing the skies

Britain’s rivers called on to provide renewable energy

Up to 25 hydroelectric schemes generating enough renewable energy to power 40,000 homes may be sited on stretches of rivers including the Severn and the Trent.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Britain’s rivers called on to provide renewable energy

Sea rise ‘to exceed projections’

The global sea level looks set to rise far higher than forecast because of changes in the polar ice-sheets, a team of researchers has suggested.

London under water / In The News / Sea rise ‘to exceed projections’

Fate of the rainforest is ‘irreversible’

A third of the Amazonian 'carbon sink' is doomed whether or not emissions are cut, Copenhagen conference is told

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Fate of the rainforest is ‘irreversible’

Amazon rainforest at risk of ecological ‘catastrophe’

Climate change could kill the Amazon rainforest even if deforestation and emissions are curbed, scientists at the Met Office fear.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Amazon rainforest at risk of ecological ‘catastrophe’

Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say

Scientists say 4C rise would kill 85% of the Amazon rainforest. Even modest temperature rise would see 20-40% loss within 100 years

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say

Plan B: scientists get radical in bid to halt global warming ‘catastrophe’

The director of a Nasa space laboratory will this week lead thousands of climate change campaigners through Coventry in an extraordinary intervention in British politics.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Plan B: scientists get radical in bid to halt global warming ‘catastrophe’

Artificial trees and brightened clouds may help to cool us down

Techniques for geo-engineering are coming under serious scrutiny as temperatures and CO2 emissions continue to rise

Engineering our climate / In The News / Artificial trees and brightened clouds may help to cool us down

Forests ‘facing a testing time’

World forests face the dual challenge of climate change and the global economic crisis, a key UN report says.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Forests ‘facing a testing time’

Without commercial carbon capture, it’s ‘game over’, E.ON boss tells government

Leading energy industry executives today called on the government to ensure the development of carbon capture and storage becomes commercially viable.

 

Engineering our climate / In The News / Without commercial carbon capture, it’s ‘game over’, E.ON boss tells government

Scientists perform ocean experiments

An international team of scientists has returned from the southern ocean after conducting the biggest experiment into geo-engineering.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Scientists perform ocean experiments

Artificial trees and brightened clouds may help to cool us down

Techniques for geo-engineering are coming under serious scrutiny as temperatures and CO2 emissions continue to rise

Concreting the countryside / In The News / Artificial trees and brightened clouds may help to cool us down

Scotland ‘ahead of the game’ on renewables

Plans to make Scotland 50% reliant on renewable energy sources are ahead of schedule, new figures released by the Scottish Parliament today suggest.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Scotland ‘ahead of the game’ on renewables

MPs call for government geo-engineering strategy

The report from the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee concludes that the UK has "no clear strategy" for the engineering sector and is facing a "lack of expertise" that threatens the viability of government initiatives to cut carbon emissions

Engineering our climate / In The News / MPs call for government geo-engineering strategy

Who ate all the algae?

A group of Indian and German researchers gave their first report from the biggest ever experiment in geo-engineering: an expedition to pour iron into the Southern Ocean.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Who ate all the algae?

G20 summit: Prince of Wales to discuss rainforests with leaders

The Prince of Wales will meet world leaders and the heads of international institutions on Wednesday to discuss solutions to protect the planet's threatened rainforests.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / G20 summit: Prince of Wales to discuss rainforests with leaders

Rio to build walls around slums in attempt to halt deforestation in Brazil

State government blames expansion of slum areas for sharp loss of Brazilian rainforest over past three years

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Rio to build walls around slums in attempt to halt deforestation in Brazil

Prince Charles calls for emergency rainforest funding

Prince Charles tells world leaders that they must 'strain every sinew' to find ways to halt the destruction of forests across the world

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Prince Charles calls for emergency rainforest funding

Solution to the carbon problem could be under the ground

Hope for the fight against climate change as study finds greenhouse gas can be buried without fear of leaking

Engineering our climate / In The News / Solution to the carbon problem could be under the ground

Obama climate adviser open to geo-engineering to tackle global warming

The global warming situation has become so dire that Barack Obama's chief scientific adviser has raised with the president the possibility of massive-scale technological fixes to alter the climate known as 'geo-engineering'.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Obama climate adviser open to geo-engineering to tackle global warming

UK wind industry jobs growth potential ‘at risk’

Britain risks missing out on tens of thousands of jobs and failing to hit its renewable energy target unless the state steps in to rescue the struggling wind power industry, the Government will be warned today.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / UK wind industry jobs growth potential ‘at risk’

Remote-controlled helicopters in rainforest used to monitor global warming

Remote-controlled helicopters are being used to identify the animals and plants living in some of the world's least accessible rainforests.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Remote-controlled helicopters in rainforest used to monitor global warming

Potential sites for UK nuclear power stations revealed

The energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, says nuclear power is part of Britain's low-carbon future

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Potential sites for UK nuclear power stations revealed

Fiddling With The Earth’s Thermostat

Scientists, including Obama's science advisor, get tied in knots over geoengineering.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Fiddling With The Earth’s Thermostat

The emissions reductions gospel is failing – we need something more

NGOs who oppose geo-engineering are running the risk of climatic catastrophe

Engineering our climate / In The News / The emissions reductions gospel is failing – we need something more

Engineers set to convert carbon dioxide into solid rock

Engineers in Iceland are set to convert carbon dioxide to solid rock as a way to tackle global warming.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Engineers set to convert carbon dioxide into solid rock

Obama to regulate ‘pollutant’ CO2

The US government is to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, having decided that it and five other greenhouse gases may endanger human health and well-being. Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Obama to regulate ‘pollutant’ CO2

How to Fix a Climate Emergency

As forecasts for global temperatures grow increasingly dire, scientists are taking a serious look at an idea once considered crazy: reengineering the atmosphere.

Engineering our climate / In The News / How to Fix a Climate Emergency

Key role of forests ‘may be lost’

Forests' role as massive carbon sinks is "at risk of being lost entirely", top forestry scientists have warned.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Key role of forests ‘may be lost’

UK government to unveil plans for coal-powered future

Key to the plans will be boosting carbon capture and storage technology. CCS has the potential to capture 90% of emissions but has never been proven at commercial scale.

Engineering our climate / In The News / UK government to unveil plans for coal-powered future

Budget 2009: Darling gives renewables a £5bn shot in the arm

British Wind Energy Association welcomes package, but planning and grid connections still restrict renewables revolution

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Budget 2009: Darling gives renewables a £5bn shot in the arm

Pollution ‘fights global warming’

Air pollution may be helping the fight against global warming by enhancing the ability of plants to absorb carbon dioxide, scientists say.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Pollution ‘fights global warming’

Interview: James Lovelock on how to save Gaia

James Lovelock suggests that the technology for reversing climate change may be within our grasp

Engineering our climate / In The News / Interview: James Lovelock on how to save Gaia

Trees are growing faster and could buy time to halt global warming

Plants and trees are growing faster because of rising carbon dioxide levels, potentially buying Earth more time to address global warming, according to scientists.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Trees are growing faster and could buy time to halt global warming

Winds of change blow for offshore power operators

It's official: it's getting windier down south. This unexpected quirk of climate change has given a much needed boost to offshore wind-farm developers.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Winds of change blow for offshore power operators

The climate engineers

Schemes to reflect sun or absorb CO2 warrant study - to sort the real science from the science fiction

Engineering our climate / In The News / The climate engineers

Time to act

Without a solid commitment from the world's leaders, innovative ways to combat climate change are likely to come to nothing.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Time to act

Fertilising the seas opens up an ocean of opportunity for commerce

Many proposals to save the planet through geo-engineering are immensely expensive and futuristic.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Fertilising the seas opens up an ocean of opportunity for commerce

Have your say - Engineering our climate

Tell us what you thought of 'Engineering our climate' event. Discuss the issues raised on the night by our panel.

Engineering our climate / Focus / Have your say - Engineering our climate

Scientists urges big push into geo-engineering

Speaking at London’s Royal Geographical Society, leading Canadian climate scientist Prof David Keith said the time had come to invest intensively in geo-engineering research instead of waiting to see if efforts to cut CO2 emissions in themselves would avert catastrophic climate change.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Scientists urges big push into geo-engineering

Deforestation ‘faster in Africa’

Africa's forests are disappearing faster than those in other parts of the world because of a lack of land ownership, a report says.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Deforestation ‘faster in Africa’

Professor Steven Chu: paint the world white to fight global warming

Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white. A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more sunlight and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Professor Steven Chu: paint the world white to fight global warming

Carbon capture technology tested

New carbon capture technology is being tested for the first time in the UK on a working coal-fired power station.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Carbon capture technology tested

Rebound effect will raise fossil fuel use

Terry Barker, director of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, predicts that by 2030, half the carbon emission savings gained from more fuel-effi-cient transport, buildings and industry will be cancelled out by a corresponding rise in consumption of fossil fuels.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Rebound effect will raise fossil fuel use

Amazon rainforests pay the price as demand for beef soars

A three-year survey by Greenpeace shows that western demand for beef and leather and an increase in cattle ranching is leading to intensified deforestation in the Amazon.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Amazon rainforests pay the price as demand for beef soars

Rainforest is worth more standing

A new analysis has shown that payments to reduce carbon emissions from the forests could generate more income than palm oil production on deforested land.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / Rainforest is worth more standing

The pros and cons of geoengineering

Geoengineering solutions to curb global warming may offer advantages in combating temperature rise, but could also significantly damage the earth’s eco-systems, climate scientists say in a new study published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Engineering our climate / In The News / The pros and cons of geoengineering

‘Boom and bust of deforestation’

Cutting down Amazon forest for cattle and soy does not bring long-term economic progress, researchers say.

A study of 286 Amazon municipalities found that deforestation brought quick benefits that were soon reversed.

Razing the Rainforest / In The News / ‘Boom and bust of deforestation’

China recruits algae to combat climate change

Chinese firm behind ambitious plan to breed microalgae in greenhouse with the potential to absorb carbon emissions

Engineering our climate / In The News / China recruits algae to combat climate change

Just add lime (to the sea) – the latest plan to cut CO2 emissions

Putting lime into the oceans could stop or even reverse the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, according to proposals unveiled at a conference on climate change solutions in Manchester today. Cquestrate is one of a number of so-called "geo-engineering schemes" that have been proposed to intervene in the Earth's systems in order to tackle climate change.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Just add lime (to the sea) – the latest plan to cut CO2 emissions

The Manchester report

The idea is one of 20 radical solutions to the threat of global warming to be proposed during presentations at a conference in Manchester this weekend

Engineering our climate / In The News / The Manchester report

Government to map low-carbon road

A huge expansion of wind power, home insulation and "smart" electricity meters are among measures being planned to build the UK's low-carbon future. Ministers hope their Carbon Transition Plan will help them meet 2020 targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and expanding renewable energy.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / Government to map low-carbon road

Moscow snow ban to create engineering jobs

Civil engineering recruitment could be boosted in Russia this winter after the mayor of Moscow unveiled plans to launch a major geoengineering project.  Mayor Yury Luzhkov is hoping to control the weather by banning snow from landing in the Russian capital through expanding cloud seeding operations.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Moscow snow ban to create engineering jobs

Interview: Ken Caldeira on geo-engineering’s possibilities and pitfalls

Atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira first became known for his groundbreaking work on ocean acidification, a phrase originally coined as a headline for one of his papers. Of late, however, Caldeira's research has led him into the controversial area of geo-engineering — the large-scale, deliberate manipulation of the Earth's climate system.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Interview: Ken Caldeira on geo-engineering’s possibilities and pitfalls

People may have to go vegetarian to save planet says Lord Stern

Meat wastes water, creates greenhouse gases and could become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving

Importing goods, exporting drought? / In The News / People may have to go vegetarian to save planet says Lord Stern

Can we manipulate the weather?

Chinese scientists claim to be able to control the weather. But is so-called geoengineering more than wishful thinking? And, if so, should we be worried?

Engineering our climate / In The News / Can we manipulate the weather?

UK to embrace nuclear says Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband has said the UK cannot afford to "say no" to nuclear power as he prepares to announce plans to fast-track a new generation of reactors.

Future of low carbon energy / In The News / UK to embrace nuclear says Ed Miliband

Tackling climate change with technology

Scientists have been looking for ways of modifying the Earth's environment to control global warming - it's known as geo-engineering.

Engineering our climate / In The News / Tackling climate change with technology

Radical sea defence rethink urged

Rising sea levels and an increase in the frequency of storms could leave many UK coastal areas vulnerable to extreme flooding, a report has warned. The project's findings, which include sketches and details of the proposed "new cities", will be presented in a exhibition that will visit London, Portsmouth and Kingston-upon-Hull.

London under water / In The News / Radical sea defence rethink urged

Prosperity without growth? Prof Tim Jackson

Professor of Sustainable Development in the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) at the University of Surrey.

The future shape of Capitalism / Focus / Prosperity without growth? Prof Tim Jackson

Professor Peter Piot M.D PhD

The virologist who co-discovered the Ebola virus talks about global health and 'out-of-the-box' thinking.

Global health in the 21st Century / Focus / Professor Peter Piot M.D PhD