In the news recently:
Before Christmas, Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg called for greater investment into ‘disruptive technologies’ to help combat climate change, arguing that, ‘A properly functioning market will price in the risks associated with climate change and reward firms that mitigate them’. You can read their opinion piece here. Since then, a company in Tamil Nadu, India, has claimed a world first: turning captured CO2 from their £3m industrial plant into valuable chemicals with the help of Carbon Clean Solutions, a consultancy also based in India. Tamil Nadu also has the world's biggest solar farm, supplying 150,000 homes on a 10km2 site. Read more about these two projects here and here.
New research from an international team, led by the University of Bristol, has provided the first clues to understanding how bacteria resist colistin – a ‘last resort’ antibiotic used to treat life-threatening bacterial infections that do not respond to other treatment options. The team, led by Dr Jim Spencer from the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues from the universities of Oxford and Cardiff, Diamond Light Source, Thailand, and China, has identified mcr-1 as the first colistin-resistance gene that could be passed between bacteria, enabling resistance to spread rapidly within a bacterial population. Read more about this research here.
Fracking company Third Energy was granted planning permission to extract shale gas at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, after Friends of the Earth and residents had challenged the original decision in the High Court. The fracking application was the first to be approved since the ban was lifted in 2012. Third Energy intends to work on an existing well to test the commercial viability of the site but has not yet indicated when it intends to begin. Read more here.
Many leading scientists had their work recognised in the latest New Year’s Honours, including:
- Prof Ottoline Leyser, Sainsbury Laboratory
- Prof Amanda Fisher, Imperial College London
- Prof Shankar Balasubramanian, University of Cambridge
- Prof James Smith, Francis Crick Institute
- Prof Jane Francis, British Antarctic Survey