The Coming Flood of Space Junk Can’t Be Stopped by Technology Alone | Defense One


The number of manmade objects in orbit is set to triple in five years, a reflection of humanity’s growing dependence on ever-cheaper satellites for communication and imagery. Yet more spacecraft means more space debris to threaten them.

Technology can help. Sensors can track the larger pieces of orbiting junk, satellites can be built to dodge them, and giant nets may someday help collect cosmic litter, says Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, who directs the European Union Satellite Center. But what’s really needed, he said, are new international agreements governing how satellites are built and, eventually, degrade.

“This debris is already creating a huge problem because it’s hard to address,” Ducaru said in a conversation at the GLOBSEC security conference in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Source: The Coming Flood of Space Junk Can’t Be Stopped by Technology Alone – Defense One

Will the G-20 provide the urgent leadership needed on climate action?


In two weeks, G-20 leaders will meet in Osaka to take up a range of pressing global issues, after which a set of key U.N. summits in September will convene world leaders to take stock of and chart forward progress in three vital areas: the 2030 Agenda, climate action, and financing for development.

The U.N. Climate Summit will test the willingness of world leaders, including G-20 countries, to scale up ambitions to tackle the urgent threat of climate change. Accounting for more than 80 percent of global emissions, the role of the G-20 is pivotal.

Source: Will the G-20 provide the urgent leadership needed on climate action?

Climate Deniers Beware: A Tsunami of Public Opinion is Coming to Wipe You Out

President Trump and his fellow climate change deniers will not lose sleep over the testimony of former EPA administrators, but they may not be able to ignore for long the growing tide of public opinion. Recent polls indicate elevated concern about climate change among independents and moderate and conservative democrats.

Climate change is now the top concern of over 80% of Democratic voters – higher priority even than healthcare.

Nothing focuses the mind on climate change quite as much as extreme weather events. When scientists first began warning about the impacts that greenhouse gas emissions might have on the climate, the threat was theoretical.

Not anymore. Voters are seeing the impact of climate change in real time.

Source: Climate Deniers Beware: A Tsunami of Public Opinion is Coming to Wipe You Out | Opinion

Trump Official Goes Rogue, Says Climate Change May Cause Next Financial Crisis | Vanity Fair


Rostin Behnam, who sits on the powerful five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, told the New York Times in an interview Monday that the financial risks from climate change are akin to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that caused the 2008 financial crisis.

“If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products—mortgages, home insurance, pensions—cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” Behnam said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”

Source: Trump Official Goes Rogue, Says Climate Change May Cause Next Financial Crisis | Vanity Fair

18 EU countries now support 2050 carbon neutrality goal | EURACTIV.com


Germany, Greece, Italy and Slovenia have added their names to a growing list of EU countries supporting a carbon neutrality objective for 2050, increasing the chances that a deal will be struck at an EU summit later this week, according to documents seen by EURACTIV.

EU leaders could give their blessing to a proposed long-term climate strategy during a European Council summit in Brussels, taking place Thursday and Friday (20-21 June).

This is up from just eight countries during a March summit, which had exposed an East-West divide on the matter.

Source: 18 EU countries now support 2050 carbon neutrality goal – EURACTIV.com

Europe’s transport decarbonisation | EURACTIV.com


The Green Energy Platform, led by think-tank Farm Europe, organized a workshop in Brussels on Wednesday (12 June) to present the results of the ‘2030 Transport Decarbonisation Options’ study, conducted by consultancy firm Navigant.

The final versions of the Integrated National Climate and Energy Plans (NECPs) that the member states have to present to the European Commission are expected by the end of the year and the Commission will issue recommendations this week.

Will the revised Renewable Energy Directive help the member states meet their transport decarbonization objectives?

Source: Europe’s transport decarbonisation – EURACTIV.com

Climate Change May Be Spreading Flesh-Eating Bacteria to Unexpected Waters | Time


Climate change is warming ocean waters around the globe, which affects what can thrive in various parts of the seas. Now, bacteria that can cause a flesh-eating infection are showing up in waters once too cold to harbor them.

“We were all very surprised and puzzled that there were a significant number of cases of this infection that we hadn’t seen before,” says Dr. Katherine Doktor, co-author of the report and an infectious disease specialist at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey. In the eight years before 2017, the hospital had only seen one case of the infection, but in 2017 and 2018, it saw five total.

Source: Climate Change May Be Spreading Flesh-Eating Bacteria to Unexpected Waters | Time

Carbon-Neutral Fuel Made From Sunlight and Air


Carbon-neutral fuels are crucial for making aviation and maritime transport sustainable. ETH researchers have developed a solar plant to produce synthetic liquid fuels that release as much CO2 during their combustion as previously extracted from the air for their production.

CO2 and water are extracted directly from ambient air and split using solar energy. This process yields syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is subsequently processed into kerosene, methanol or other hydrocarbons. These drop-in fuels are ready for use in the existing global transport infrastructure.

Aldo Steinfeld, Professor of Renewable Energy Carriers at ETH Zurich, and his research group developed the technology. “This plant proves that carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels can be made from sunlight and air under real field conditions,” he explained.

Source: Carbon-Neutral Fuel Made From Sunlight and Air

Laser Trick Produces High-Energy Terahertz Pulses


A team of scientists from DESY and the University of Hamburg has achieved an important milestone in the quest for a new type of compact particle accelerator.

Using ultra-powerful pulses of laser light, they were able to produce particularly high-energy flashes of radiation in the terahertz range having a sharply defined wavelength (color).

Terahertz radiation is to open the way for a new generation of compact particle accelerators that will find room on a lab bench. The team headed by Andreas Maier and Franz Kärtner from the Hamburg Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) is presenting its findings in the journal Nature Communications. CFEL is jointly run by DESY, the University of Hamburg and the Max Planck Society.

The terahertz range of electromagnetic radiation lies between the infrared and microwave frequencies.

Source: Laser Trick Produces High-Energy Terahertz Pulses

Energy Harvesting for Ultra-Low Power Wearable Medical Devices | EE Times


One of the main challenges with battery-operated connected devices is autonomy. An increasing number will have requirements for greater battery power or longer battery life, but will not support bigger batteries. Some wearables, for example, might be medical implants; it’s not likely a bulky battery will be an option for such devices. Battery technology is keeping up by making use of energy harvesting.

Energy harvesting can be an incredible advantage for devices with a small form factor, such as those that proliferate in the internet of Things (IoT).

These small devices often only require tiny amounts of current, and energy harvesting from various sources can be a valuable design element.

Source: Energy Harvesting for Ultra-Low Power Wearable Medical Devices | EE Times