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Durham University

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental research news

Environment

Counting down to the COP26 climate change summit

Climate change banner reading one world

Welcome to the first in our monthly ‘Countdown to COP’ series, where we will be exploring climate change research, events and expertise across our University ahead of the next COP climate change summit in November.

(3 Jun 2021) » More about Counting down to the COP26 climate change summit


Developed in Durham: Sphera

4 people sitting on a sofa

Founded in September 2019 by three PhD students, Sphera is Durham University’s first student spinout.

(28 May 2021) » More about Developed in Durham: Sphera


Can the height of your house reduce malaria?

mosquito

Whilst we think of the home as a sanctuary, in Africa, around 80% of malaria bites occur indoors at night. Preventing mosquitoes from getting indoors is a simple way of protecting people from this often lethal disease.

(26 May 2021) » More about Can the height of your house reduce malaria?


Climate change and wildlife conservation across the Americas

flying flamingos

A continental-scale network of conservation sites is likely to remain effective under future climate change scenarios, despite a predicted shift in key species distributions.

(4 May 2021) » More about Climate change and wildlife conservation across the Americas


Melting ice sheets caused sea levels to rise up to 18 metres

an iceberg

Research led by our geography department has found that previous ice loss events caused sea-levels to rise around 3.6 metres per century, offering vital clues as to what lies ahead should climate change continue.

(8 Apr 2021) » More about Melting ice sheets caused sea levels to rise up to 18 metres


Did dogs join us in settling the Americas?

Siberian husky

Dogs are regarded as our best friend and now our researchers say the first people to settle in the Americas brought their canines with them.

(26 Jan 2021) » More about Did dogs join us in settling the Americas?


Investigating impact of human activity on birds

Our scientists have shown where bird species would exist in the absence of human activity under research that could provide a new approach to setting conservation priorities.

(25 Jan 2021) » More about Investigating impact of human activity on birds


More than a million barriers on Europe’s rivers

Fresh water ecosystems can be adversely affected by barriers to the flow of water and a new study suggests that Europe’s river system is particularly badly affected.

(17 Dec 2020) » More about More than a million barriers on Europe’s rivers


Heating our homes with hydrogen

Gas pipe

Our research is supporting a new project that could see hydrogen become the future heat source for homes and provide green energy to industry.

(2 Dec 2020) » More about Heating our homes with hydrogen


Easier way to create biodiesel developed

Our researchers have developed a new way to turn the rubbish we throw away into chemicals that can help make fuel, medicines, fertilisers and biodegradable packaging.

(4 Nov 2020) » More about Easier way to create biodiesel developed


Tackling floods and water waste

Flood warning sign on flooded road

We need to look to nature for help so new homes are resilient to climate change according to a new report to MPs and policymakers.

(20 Oct 2020) » More about Tackling floods and water waste


Insects provide strategy for sustainable food production

Did you know that each year 1.3billion tonnes of food are wasted? 

(15 Oct 2020) » More about Insects provide strategy for sustainable food production


Changing attitudes to soil health

Hands holding soil

Future generations need to be educated about the crucial role that healthy soil plays in tackling climate change, according to new research.

(14 Oct 2020) » More about Changing attitudes to soil health


£4.5m to help us futureproof crops

Our research into how crops could be ‘future-proofed’ against climate change to avoid food shortages has been boosted by a major funding award.

(2 Oct 2020) » More about £4.5m to help us futureproof crops


Mapping our wasted heat

Have you ever thought about all the wasted heat that’s released into our atmosphere from large factories and power stations?

(17 Sep 2020) » More about Mapping our wasted heat


Understanding past warming can limit climate change effects

Evidence from Earth’s past warming events should be built into forecasts showing how today’s climate change could affect different species and ecosystems.

(28 Aug 2020) » More about Understanding past warming can limit climate change effects


Migrating bird populations affected by climate and land changes

Changes in climate and habitat on the breeding and non-breeding grounds of migratory birds are both playing an important part in driving their long-term population changes.

(18 Aug 2020) » More about Migrating bird populations affected by climate and land changes


Decarbonising heat research receives over £4 million in funding

We’ve won major funding for three new research projects to decarbonise heat which will significantly reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions.

(26 Jun 2020) » More about Decarbonising heat research receives over £4 million in funding


Largest amount of microplastics found on ocean floor

Our researchers have helped record the highest level of microplastics ever found on the ocean floor – with up to 1.9 million pieces in an area of just one square metre.

(30 Apr 2020) » More about Largest amount of microplastics found on ocean floor


Research helps transform coal mine into geothermal heat source

Our research is being used to transform coal mines into multi-million pound renewable energy systems.

(24 Apr 2020) » More about research helps transform coal mine into geothermal heat source


CO₂ emissions are plummeting – here’s how to keep them down

A positive result of the world’s response to Coronavirus, means that CO₂ emissions have been slashed. Professor Simone Abram looks at how we can maintain this environmental benefit.

(27 Mar 2020) » More about CO₂ emissions are plummeting – here’s how to keep them down


Animal spotting project helps double children’s mammal knowledge

A roe deer captured on camera by a MammalWeb motion-sensing camera

A citizen science project we ran in schools has dramatically increased children’s knowledge of UK wild mammals.

(4 Feb 2020) » More about Animal spotting project helps double children’s mammal knowledge


Durham geothermal energy expertise at UK Conservative Party conference

Delegates at the UK Conservative Party annual conference have heard how Durham’s research could provide a long-term, sustainable source of low-carbon energy.

Shaping the Future of Energy - Interview with Prof. Jon Gluyas, Director Durham Energy Institute

(2 Oct 2019) » More about Durham geothermal energy expertise at UK Conservative Party conference


New PhD opportunities in science and engineering

Smart surfaces, recyclable plastics and new medicines are some of the subjects students will be able to study and research, thanks to a £5.3 million funding boost.

(5 Feb 2019) » More about New PhD opportunities in science and engineering