Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times1. It has been estimated that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 °C throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2)2, 3. However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this2, 4, and so the unabated use of all current fossil fuel reserves is incompatible with a warming limit of 2 °C. Here we use a single integrated assessment model that contains estimates of the quantities, locations and nature of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, and which is shown to be consistent with a wide variety of modelling approaches with different assumptions5, to explore the implications of this emissions limit for fossil fuel production in different regions. Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 °C. We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C. Our results show that policy makers’ instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. Implementation of this policy commitment would also render unnecessary continued substantial expenditure on fossil fuel exploration, because any new discoveries could not lead to increased aggregate production.
When it comes to rare plants, it’s all about economics: from the theft of the world’s smallest waterlily to a snowdrop bulb that sold for £725. But is the accepted definition of a ‘rare plant’ missing something vital, asks Robbie Blackhall-Miles
The emergence of catalysis in early genetic polymers such as RNA is considered a key transition in the origin of life, pre-dating the appearance of protein enzymes. DNA also demonstrates the capacity to fold into three-dimensional structures and form catalysts in vitro. However, to what degree these natural biopolymers comprise functionally privileged chemical scaffolds for folding or the evolution of catalysis is not known. The ability of synthetic genetic polymers (XNAs) with alternative backbone chemistries not found in nature to fold into defined structures and bind ligands raises the possibility that these too might be capable of forming catalysts (XNAzymes). Here we report the discovery of such XNAzymes, elaborated in four different chemistries (arabino nucleic acids, ANA; 2[prime]-fluoroarabino nucleic acids, FANA; hexitol nucleic acids, HNA; and cyclohexene nucleic acids, CeNA) directly from random XNA oligomer pools, exhibiting in trans RNA endonuclease and ligase activities. We also describe an XNA-XNA ligase metalloenzyme in the FANA framework, establishing catalysis in an entirely synthetic system and enabling the synthesis of FANA oligomers and an active RNA endonuclease FANAzyme from its constituent parts. These results extend catalysis beyond biopolymers and establish technologies for the discovery of catalysts in a wide range of polymer scaffolds not found in nature. Evolution of catalysis independent of any natural polymer has implications for the definition of chemical boundary conditions for the emergence of life on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe.
Imagine if we could compute across phenotype data as easily as genomic data; this article calls for efforts to realize this vision and discusses the potential benefits.
Norman Warthmann's insight:
"...We urge all biologists, data managers, and clinicians to actively support the development, evaluation, refinement, and adoption of methodologies, tools, syntaxes, and standards for capturing and computing over phenotypic data and to collaborate in bringing about a coordinated approach....."
Scientists in the US have discovered a new class of antibiotic that has been shown to kill Staph and Strep throat infections in mice. They say the way it kills bacteria will make it very difficult for them to evolve resistance in response to the...
.....Whatever the outcome, the younger generations show a tendency toward being empowered citizens valuing co-creation and sharing rather than becoming consumers. The financial sector has proven to evolve alongside both social and economic development throughout history, and it is therefore necessary to view banks and finance as an integral part of future services and society instead of a separate entity.
The world is changed. Much that once was is lost and the financial industry is facing an uncertain future.
It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir) to recover from California's continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.
Billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer explains why today's middle class is feeling stuck, how that hurts the whole economy and what President Obama can do about it -- with a stroke of his executive pen.
"Progress in the software industry has been crushed under the weight of technical debt accumulated over the last 40 years. The tools, languages, libraries, and platforms we all rely on suffer from massive incidental complexities responsible for billions of dollars in wasted productivity. Anyone who spends any amount of time as a developer and loses days, weeks, or months implementing some library that “should” exist or working around some shitty software tech to implement a task that “should be simple” knows, deep down, that this can’t be the best humans are capable of. It’s not that we don’t know any better. Given more time and resources that could be devoted to tasks other than shipping the next release, most programmers at least have ideas for how to do things better. But we never seem to get these resources because of the failed economics of our software commons. I’ll explain the problem and tell you can what you can do right now to start changing the game......"
In the course of evolution, animals have become adapted to certain food sources, sometimes even to plants or to fruits that are actually toxic. The driving forces behind such adaptive mechanisms are often unknown. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now discovered why the fruit fly Drosophila sechellia is adapted to the toxic fruits of the morinda tree. Drosophila sechellia females, which lay their eggs on these fruits, carry a mutation in a gene that inhibits egg production. The flies have very low levels of L-DOPA, a precursor of the hormone dopamine, which controls fertility; interestingly, large amounts of L-DOPA are contained in morinda fruits. Flies that were fed with L-DOPA can compensate for the genetic deficiency and considerably increase their reproductive success. The same gene mutation also contributes to the resistance that these flies have to the toxic acids produced in the fruits and killing all other fruit fly species.