In the spotlight
European Commission proposes EU-wide energy cap
The European Commission unveiled proposals for a sweeping EU-wide energy cap and levy in a bid to stop member states imposing divergent national measures as they scramble to quell public outrage over high electricity bills.
European Parliament backs 45% renewable energy goal for 2030
The European Parliament voted on Wednesday (14 September) in favour of a 45% target for renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix by 2030, paving the way for negotiations with the 27 member states to finalise the text before the end of the year.
📢 A game changer for Europe: A new European Hydrogen Bank.
President @vonderleyen has announced a new European Hydrogen Bank to bridge the investment gap and connect future supply and demand
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) September 16, 2022
Cyber-risk from Internet of Things prompts new EU rules
It is estimated that every 11 seconds there is a ransomware attack targeting an organisation across the globe – a dark criminal business with an estimated cost of €20bn in 2021. Overall, cybercrime had a global cost of €5.
Scientists try to teach robot to laugh at the right time
Laughter comes in many forms, from a polite chuckle to a contagious howl of mirth. Scientists are now developing an AI system that aims to recreate these nuances of humour by laughing in the right way at the right time.
A new #CyberResilience Act was presented at the Parliament by Commision President von der Leyen this week during #SOTEU. The new 🇪🇺 #CyberSecEU rules will protect consumers and businesses from products with inadequate security features. https://t.co/G64Q3QETM4 pic.twitter.com/x5SVyuDVFA
— EP Technology (@EP_Technology) September 16, 2022
Scientists have created a ‘digital mask’ that will allow facial images to be stored in medical records.
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) September 16, 2022
Europe’s summer tells us climate change doesn’t care where you live
Europe’s record-smashing heatwave has given those of us who live in the global north a sobering look at what’s ahead. It’s removed any basis for thinking that the climate crisis would only affect generations to come or “other” countries.
Patagonia founder pledges company to fighting climate change
The planet is now Patagonia’s “only shareholder” as the company’s billionaire founder announced he would channel its profit to environmental concerns.
We are moving towards a more resource-efficient and safer #CircularEconomy. #SCIPdatabase provides waste operators information about substances of very high concern in products and will help to improve the re-use and recycling of materials. Take a look! 🔗 https://t.co/11Xq7Mm3Zj pic.twitter.com/pry2FPQP4k
— European Chemicals Agency – ECHA 🇪🇺 (@EU_ECHA) September 16, 2022
The #OzoneLayer is healing.
This action has protected millions of people from skin cancer, safeguarded life on Earth, & slowed climate change: if ozone-depleting chemicals hadn't been banned, we would be looking at a 🌎 temperature rise of an additional 2.5°C by 2100.#OzoneDay pic.twitter.com/6X196qlIsW
— EU Climate Action (@EUClimateAction) September 16, 2022
Mobility & Energy
World’s first fossil fuel registry launches
The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels is the first large-scale public database to track what is yet to be burned. Its launch coincides with global climate talks set to take place at the UN General Assembly in New York.
Sun, sea, sustainability – could your next European holiday be a greener one?
With the tourism industry on a high bounce following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, many holiday-goers are looking for ways to travel more responsibly and sustainably. But the annual surge of visitors at resorts and destinations can create environmental headaches for people living in the locality.
Scientists find a simple way to produce hydrogen from water at room temperature
Hydrogen fuel promises to be a clean and abundant source of energy in the future – as long as scientists can figure out ways to produce it practically and cheaply, and without fossil fuels. A new study provides us with another promising step in that direction, provided you can make use of existing supplies of post-consumer aluminum and gallium.
Think the #CleanEnergy transition will be expensive, painful and require personal sacrifices? @UniofOxford researchers have a message for you – YOU'RE WRONG! It will actually save us TRILLIONS. Here's why 👇 https://t.co/QZiLXgkDFy
— Oxford Martin School (@oxmartinschool) September 16, 2022
Burning the world's remaining fossil fuel reserves would unleash 3.5 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions — seven times the remaining carbon budget to cap global heating at 1.5C — according to the first public inventory of hydrocarbons https://t.co/9ZUYSCfRSH
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) September 18, 2022
Agriculture & Food
European food companies break their plastics promises
Two-thirds of pledges to go greener on plastic fail or are dropped, a DW investigation has found. Here’s how European food and drink companies break their own commitments, and how legislation might hold them accountable.
#DYK that #climatechange has a devastating impact on #EUBiodiversity?#Natura2000 sites with effective management plans are 🔑 to providing species with opportunities to shift their distribution due to rising temperatures.
— LIFE Programme (@LIFEprogramme) September 16, 2022
Boosting brain function in later life through singing
Ask anyone in a choir why they enjoy it, and they will tell you about the euphoric effects singing has on their mental health. A team of neuroscientists and clinical psychologists based at the University of Helsinki (Finland) believe these benefits could extend to improving brain function and treating aphasia.
Air pollution could increase risk of allergies in newborn babies, study from University of Colorado finds
“This study adds to the growing body of literature showing that air pollution exposure, even during infancy, may alter the gut microbiome, with important implications for growth and development,” said senior author Tanya Alderete, the university’s assistant professor of Integrative Physiology.
More safety for medicines
Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH) professor receives “ERC Proof of Concept Grant” to revolutionise drug safety; novel immune cells to benefit millions of people.
The transatlantic partnership will allow countries to:
📱🖥👨⚕️increase digital competencies of health professionals📊monitor progress of implementation in the Region pic.twitter.com/u8Su2xBGLu
— WHO/Europe (@WHO_Europe) September 16, 2022
Monkeypox isn’t covid-19. Since May the viral disease has infected 35,000 people in 92 countries, less than one-tenth as many as covid infects in a day. Critically, both a vaccine and a treatment predate the current epidemic https://t.co/nCRBPVw3gr
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) September 18, 2022
The sooner you detect cancer, the more chances you have to defeat it.
— EU Health – #HealthUnion (@EU_Health) September 17, 2022
Science policy & Communication
Media-saturation challenges trust in European democracy
Between doomscrolling and disinformation, our media-saturated world makes it difficult to know who to trust. To mark today’s International Day of Democracy we spoke to a journalism researcher about the role of media in a healthy democracy.
Policymakers renew call to strengthen Research and Development budgets in central and eastern Europe
An economic crisis fuelled by war, energy shortages and inflation looks likely to put further strain on national Research and Development budgets.
The noisiest newcomer to the digital-ad scene is TikTok. But Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are also loading ever more ads around their main businesses https://t.co/8edJ4Uz3gZ
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) September 19, 2022
EU aims to shield media from state interference
The European Media Freedom Act, which is scheduled to be released this week, could give Brussels new tools to strengthen safeguards against state control of public and commercial media through political nominations on oversight boards and covert funding through advertisement. The EU has had its own battles over media freedom with member states.
.@DisinfoEU welcomes the #MediaFreedomAct presented today by @ThierryBreton & @VeraJourova but is very concerned by Article 17 that could undo the progress in the fight vs #disinformation. We call upon MS & @Europarl_EN to reject any attempt of bringing #MediaExemption back. 1/2
— EU DisinfoLab (@DisinfoEU) September 16, 2022
Media freedom is not a given🚫
We are taking action to protect media pluralism and independence.
The European #MediaFreedomAct will:
☑️ protect editorial freedom
☑️ prohibit spyware
☑️ ensure the independence of public service media and fair funding
☑️ and more
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) September 16, 2022
What keeps you up at night?
Can’t sleep? You’re not alone. A recent report highlights how much sleep we’ll lose each year as temperatures continue to rise. Climate change is also drying up water supplies – from North America to East Africa to Europe.
Ancient glaciers on Mars flowed so slowly, we can barely tell they flowed at all
On Earth, shifts in our climate have caused glaciers to advance and recede throughout our geological history (known as glacial and inter-glacial periods). The movement of these glaciers has carved features on the surface, including U-shaped valleys, hanging valleys, and fjords. These features are missing on Mars, leading scientists to conclude that any glaciers on its surface in the distant past were stationary.
By “listening” to sound waves from the sun, “helioseismology” allows astronomers to understand the structure and dynamics of the sun’s interior. A new raft of observatories is now extending this technique to stars beyond our solar system https://t.co/rVfgdtFwT3
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) September 16, 2022
DNA reveals donkeys were domesticated in East Africa around 5000 B.C.E.
— European Research Council (ERC) (@ERC_Research) September 18, 2022