This Lab addresses topics related to climatic change and Earth resources. Both the United Nations (UN) and the European Commission (EC) identify these as critical topics for future research, teaching and science communication. For example, the UN highlight Climate Change as a Global Issue, and their 2020 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) include 7: Affordable and clean energy, 12: Responsible consumption and production, and 13: Climate action.
The consequences of climate change are staggering. Past records, and modern observations clearly demonstrate it impacts ecosystems, the quality of the environment, and aspects of human society, politics, communication, and civil engagement. The scientific community have already convincingly demonstrated anthropogenic processes accelerate changes in Earth’s climate systems, and will do so increasingly in future. Rich and diverse research continues to refine the records of change, and enhance models of drivers and critical system behaviours. Achieving climate-neutral development, and mitigating the effects of ongoing change, requires development of innovative technologies – both for alternative energy sources, and for green technologies – that make efficient use of Earth resources.
A very broad range of increasingly scarce Earth resources are required for the wellbeing (and comfort) of humanity. The EU recently released an updated List of Critical Raw Materials which serves as a guide for the focii of this FORTHEM Lab. We explore the formation of resources, extraction methods, and environmental mitigation. Furthermore, since sustainable resource use worldwide is severely hampered by a broad lack of understanding of the origin and finite nature of resources, we particularly focus our attention on communicating about this topic to society.
More generally, FORTHEM’s Climate and Resources lab members are devoted toward ensuring collaborative education and research (i.e. Citizen Science) enhances societal understanding of these topics, as this will demonstrably build societal resilience to them.
- History of climate change: what we can learn?
- How do Earth processes, such as volcanic eruptions and plate tectonics, modify climate?
- Climate change as a driving force of landscape and ecosystem change, and responses of these systems
- Impacts of climate change on resources, such as water and food
- Response of economies, social formations, and human populations to climate change
- Development of approaches for climate change communication and education
- Adaptation tools, strategies, their efficiency and focus
- Alternative energy sources, such as geothermal, wind, tide, and hydro-electric energy
- Sustainability of critical Earth resources needed to respond to and mitigate climate change.
- Tools for low-carbon development, including bioeconomy and alternative energies
- Biorefinery to achieve maximally efficient use of biomaterials
- Carbon budgets of organisations (such as the FORTHEM Alliance)