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ARCHIVES 2015, 2014

Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects

280319 - This new report from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine provides an introduction to the field, including the unique characteristics and constraints of the technology, and assesses the feasibility and implications of creating a functional quantum computer capable of addressing real-world problems. This report considers hardware and software requirements, quantum algorithms, drivers of advances in quantum computing and quantum devices, benchmarks associated with relevant use cases, the time and resources required, and how to assess the probability of success. Download or buy this report HERE

WMO State of the Climate in 2018 shows accelerating climate change impacts

 280319 - The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018, its 25th anniversary edition, highlights record sea level rise, as well as exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years. This warming trend has lasted since the start of this century and is expected to continue.“Since the Statement was first published, climate science has achieved an unprecedented degree of robustness, providing authoritative evidence of global temperature increase and associated features such as accelerating sea level rise, shrinking sea ice, glacier retreat and extreme events such as heat waves,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. These key climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced. Carbon dioxide levels, which were at 357.0 parts per million when the statement was first published in 1994, keep rising – to 405.5 parts per million in 2017. For 2018 and 2019, greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to increase further.The WMO climate statement includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, an extensive community of scientific experts, and United Nations agencies. It details climate related risks and impacts on human health and welfare, migration and displacement, food security, the environment and ocean and land-based ecosystems. It also catalogues extreme weather around the world.“Extreme weather has continued in the early 2019, most recently with Tropical Cyclone Idai, which caused devastating floods and tragic loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It may turn out to be one of the deadliest weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere,” said Mr  Taalas.“Idai made landfall over the city of Beira: a rapidly growing, low-lying city on a coastline vulnerable to storm surges and already facing the consequences of sea level rise. Idai’s victims personify why we need the global agenda on sustainable development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” said Mr Taalas.The start of this year has also seen warm record daily winter temperatures in Europe, unusual cold in North America and searing heatwaves in Australia. Arctic and Antarctic ice extent is yet again well below average.According to WMO’s latest Global Seasonal Climate Update (March to May), above average sea surface temperatures – partly because of a weak strength El Niño in the Pacific – is expected to lead to above-normal land temperature, particularly in tropical latitudes. Download the WMO Statement HERE

Antibiotic resistance in European wastewater treatment plants mirrors the pattern of clinical antibiotic resistance prevalence

(Report in Science Advances Vol. 5, no. 3)

270319 - Integrated antibiotic resistance (AR) surveillance is one of the objectives of the World Health Organization global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. Urban wastewater treatment plants (UWTPs) are among the most important receptors and sources of environmental AR. On the basis of the consistent observation of an increasing north-to-south clinical AR prevalence in Europe, this study compared the influent and final effluent of 12 UWTPs located in seven countries (Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Finland, and Norway). Using highly parallel quantitative polymerase chain reaction, authors analyzed 229 resistance genes and 25 mobile genetic elements. This first trans-Europe surveillance showed that UWTP AR profiles mirror the AR gradient observed in clinics. Antibiotic use, environmental temperature, and UWTP size were important factors related with resistance persistence and spread in the environment. These results highlight the need to implement regular surveillance and control measures, which may need to be appropriate for the geographic regions. Download PDF version of the report HERE

UK intelligence panel warns on Huawei security flaws

270319- The UK watchdog set up to monitor products supplied by Huawei has issued a dire warning over the security risks posed by the Chinese telecoms supplier, raising fresh questions over the company’s future involvement in Britain’s mobile network.In a damning report published on Thursday, the Huawei oversight board stopped short of calling for an outright ban on the Chinese company’s equipment in UK’s fifth-generation telecoms networks.But the board, which is chaired by the head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, said it would be “difficult to appropriately risk-manage future products in the context of UK deployments, until Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security processes are remediated”. Download the report HERE

Public Lecture: Sea Level Rise from Melting Ice Sheets, and What We Should Do About it


270319 - The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, along with glaciers and ice caps around the world, are melting faster than anticipated as a result of climate change caused by greenhouse gases from human activities. This rapid evolution--resulting from complex interactions between the atmosphere, the ocean, and ice--has been captured in great detail by a growing body of observational platforms that include satellites, aircraft, underwater floats, and autonomous gliders. In this talk, In this lecture Dr. Eric Rignot covers how and why the ice sheets are melting and what we can do about it. Practical solutions exist that are economically viable and ethically desirable, including transforming our energy production system and developing scalable carbon sequestration strategies. At stake is whether the world will be irreversibly committed to a multiple meter rise in sea level with potentially catastrophic consequences.Watch the Webcast HERE

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

260319 - The European Commission has recommended a set of operational steps and measures to ensure a high level of cybersecurity of 5G networks across the EU. Fifth generation (5G) networks will form the future backbone of our societies and economies, connecting billions of objects and systems, including in critical sectors such as energy, transport, banking, and health, as well as industrial control systems carrying sensitive information and supporting safety systems. Democratic processes, such as elections, increasingly rely on digital infrastructures and 5G networks, highlighting the need to address any vulnerabilities and making the Commission's recommendations all the more pertinent ahead of the European Parliament elections in May. Download the recommendations HERE

Gene-Editing Registry Proposed

200318 - A panel convened by the World Health Organization is to ask the agency to establish a global registry of human germline gene-editing projects, Stat News reports. It adds that the panel will additionally recommend that funders require their grantees to register such work and journal editors only publish studies that were on the registry. The WHO said in December that it would be convening a panelto develop standards and guidelines for gene editing, following researcher He Jiankui's announcement that he had edited the genomes of two twin girls as embryos. That panel's members were announced in February with Margaret Hamburg, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, and Edwin Cameron, a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, as co-chairs. Reuters adds that the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is in favor of the proposed registry. "Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically," he says in a statement.

However, Stat News notes that it's not yet clear how the use of the registry would be enforced. Victor Dzau, the president of US National Academy of Medicine, tells it that, unless there are legal ramifications, it is "hard to see how you could make the private sector comply," adding that "but at least this is a first step."


Global carbon emissions set to hit record high in 2018

051218 - A new report, conducted by the Global Carbon Project (GCP) and the University of East Anglia, states that in 2018 the projected rise of carbon emissions will be 2.7 per cent, this is much higher than the 1.6 per cent rise in 2017. Download the report HERE

The European Commission calls for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050

301118 - On 28 November 2018, the Commission presented its strategic long-term vision for “a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050”. According to AN eu press Release,“The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – while ensuring social fairness for a just transition. Following the invitations by the European Parliament and the European Council, the Commission's vision for a climate-neutral future covers nearly all EU policies and is in line with the Paris Agreement objective to keep the global temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5°C”. Download HERE.In  depth analysis in support of the Commission communication .Download HERE

291118 - BCG: The Economic Case for Combating Climate Change

According the Boston Consulting Group, All countries can generate an economic payback from their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—even if they move unilaterally.  More HERE

291118 - NIST Atomic Clocks Now Keep Time Well Enough to Improve Models of Earth

Experimental atomic clocks at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have achieved three new performance records, now ticking precisely enough to not only improve timekeeping and navigation, but also detect faint signals from gravity, the early universe and perhaps even dark matter. More HERE and HERE

291118 - The euro area financial stability environment has become more challenging

According to ECB’s November issue of the Financial Stability Review, a growing economy and improved banking sector resilience have continued to support the financial stability environment in the euro area. Furthermore, a series of volatility events have not spread to the broader global financial system. At the same time, downside risks to the global growth outlook have become more pronounced since May relating to a resurgence in protectionism and stress in emerging markets. Vulnerabilities in financial markets continue to build up amid pockets of high valuations and compressed global risk premia. In the euro area, political and policy uncertainty have increased over the review period. Download FSR issue HERE

281118 - Amid uproar, Chinese scientist defends creating gene-edited babies

Undisputedly a major event in human history…Read media coverage of the event on STATNEWS

201118 -UN Secretary-General speech on Climate Change and the 2019 Climate Change Summit

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere reach new record

201118 - The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, up from 403.3 ppm in 2016 and 400.1 ppm in 2015. Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also rose, whilst there was a resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance called CFC-11, which is regulated under an international agreement to protect the ozone layer.

WMO advances Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System

191118- WMO has hosted the first symposium and user summit of the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS), which aims to help inform and guide reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases which are driving climate change. More HERE

161118 - International System of Units revised in historic vote

In a landmark decision, representatives from 54 of the BIPM's Member States voted on 16 November 2018 to revise the International System of Units (SI), changing the world's definition of the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole. More HERE

Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies & Climate Change

241018 - To achieve goals for climate and economic growth, technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the air and sequester it need to play a large role in mitigating climate change, says a new U.S. Academies report. More HERE

PWC Low Carbon Economy Index 2018 : Time to get on with it

201018 - Emissions are on the rise again as the shift towards low carbon energy lags behind global economic growth. The Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to two degrees looks even further out of reach. There's no shortage of solutions - governments and business just need to implement them, PWC experts say. More HERE

Turning Greenhouse Gases Into Useful Products

181018 - A new U.S. Academies report outlines a research agenda for improving the commercial viability of technologies that turn greenhouse gases into useful products such as fuels, construction materials, and chemicals. More HERE

 National Academies Launching New Study on Sunlight-Reflection Research

161018 -The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is forming a new committee to develop a research agenda and research governance approaches for climate-intervention strategies that reflect sunlight to cool Earth. READ MORE

Global Strategic Trends : The Future Starts Now (UK Ministry of Defence)

161018 - Global Strategic Trends describes a strategic context for defence and security looking out to the middle of the century. It takes a comprehensive view of the future derived through research headed by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC).This publication is the sixth edition Of Global Strategic Trends. The findings and deductions contained in this publication do not represent the official policy of the UK government or that of the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD). It does, however, represent the view of DCDC, a department within the MOD. Download PDF

Technologies to Address Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

091018 - This report from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security highlights 15 technologies or categories of technologies that, with further scientific attention and investment, as well as attention to accompanying legal, regulatory, ethical, policy, and operational issues, could help make the world better prepared and equipped to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks from becoming catastrophic events. More HERE

IPCC Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C Impacts

061018 - An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. More HERE

USPTO Announces 2018 Patents for Humanity Winners

090818 – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the latest winners of the Patents for Humanity program. The Patents for Humanity program was launched by the USPTO in February 2012 as part of an initiative promoting game-changing innovations to address long-standing development challenges. Read MORE





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