News: Space, Earth and Environment, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Energi och miljöhttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyMon, 10 Jun 2019 09:27:50 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Chalmers-student-Global-Swede-2019.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Chalmers-student-Global-Swede-2019.aspxChalmers student receives Global Swede Award 2019<p><b>​Jaswanth Subramanyam, student in Physics and Astronomy at Chalmers, receives the distinguished award Global Swede 2019. The Award is presented to active, committed and enthusiastic students who are excellent in areas closely related to innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship and shown that they are good representatives of their own country as well as Sweden.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">It is the ninth consecutive year that the diploma ceremony for Global Swede is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Institute. Global Swede is part of the Government and the Swedish Institute's work on building long-term relationships with international students in Sweden. The purpose is to create bridges of cross-border and multicultural networks that will contribute to Swedish trade and promote the work of reaching future solutions.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>– I am honoured to be recognized like this, it was an amazing ceremony with inspiring speeches and spell-binding music performances. And the best part was not only being able to meet representatives of these prestigious establishments but also meeting my peers from across the world excelling in various fields and pursuing their own passions in their studies, says Jaswanth Subramanyam, who has come from India to study at Chalmers University of Technology. When not studying at Chalmers, Jaswanth is a musician. You can <a href="https://open.spotify.com/album/07TkBYSxySxUEXNrz7etN5?si=47B1xF-NRqKqgF3W41XUUg">listen to his recent album Jza Phonics at Spotify​</a>.</div> <div> </div> <div>– Global Swede is a way of saying “thank you” to some of our most innovative international students. Students from other countries play an important role in our international relations and I hope that the award can encourage continued exchanges and relations with Sweden, says Foreign Trade Minister Ann Linde, who attended the ceremony.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><a href="https://si.se/global-swede-2019/">Read more at the Swedish Institute's website​</a>. </div></div>Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/climate-smart-vacation.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/climate-smart-vacation.aspxNew tool lets you plan climate smart vacations<p><b>​​As the climate issue heats up, consumers are becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment. ‘Flygskam’, or ‘flight shame’ is a growing trend that reflects the increasing awareness of flying’s harm to the environment. Now, researchers from Chalmers present a tool that allows consumers to evaluate the outcome of their different travel options.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The new website – <a href="https://travelandclimate.org/">Travel and Climate</a> – gives an instant and simple calculation of the emissions from different modes of travel for a given journey. </span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>For example, for 2 people travelling from London to Barcelona, the tool gives a calculation of 130kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted for a train or bus journey, 244kg by private car, and 371kg by plane. </div> <div>The Swedish version of the tool has already existed for around a year, receiving coverage in most of the major Swedish media outlets, and has had over 50,000 unique visitors since it began. Alongside the launch of the English version, the Swedish version - <a href="https://klimatsmartsemester.se/">Klimatsmart Semester</a> - has been revamped with more information and a new design. </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Jorgen_Larsson170x220_2.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The website is based on research by Jörgen Larsson and his group from Chalmers University of Technology, looking at the impact of Swedish flying habits on the climate. </span><br /></div> <div>“Our studies have shown that Swedish flying results in emissions of about a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalents per citizen. This is around five times higher than the global average, and roughly the same as Sweden’s total emissions from car usage,” says Jörgen Larsson.</div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Their analysis of historical data from 1990 to 2017 has also shown the dramatic increase in flying overall. International flights from Sweden have doubled, from 0.5 trips per person in 1990 to 1.0 trips per person in 2017. The average distance of these trips is about 2700 km one-way – roughly the distance from Stockholm to Madrid. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Continued rising emissions from aviation threaten the target of the Paris Agreement, of keeping global warming well below two degrees. Jörgen Larsson hopes the new tool will help to further spread knowledge of flying’s damaging effects and contribute to fewer flights. </span></div> <div>“Reaching the two-degree target will require changes in our lifestyle. Maybe if everyone adopted a vegan diet instead, flight emissions would not have to decrease so much,” he explains. “But that would also be a large intervention in our lifestyle.”</div> <div>Much is made of the technical developments of aircraft and engines, with better aerodynamics and more efficient operations. It is true that these have had an effect, and emissions per passenger kilometre have fallen by roughly 2% each year in the period. “The problem is that air travel has simultaneously risen by over 3%,” says Jörgen Larsson. Emissions in total have therefore increased. </div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:inherit;font-size:16px;font-weight:600;background-color:initial">The data behind the tool:</span><br /></div> <div>The new website offers consumers a chance to easily and quickly calculate the impact of different transport methods for their travel plans, offering a side by side comparison. </div> <div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssLsUHfi0hE&amp;feature=youtu.be">Watch a video trailer for the new website here</a>.  </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“Previous methods of measurement had only accounted for the fuel tanked in each country. This meant that a flight from Stockholm to New York, via Amsterdam for example, only the fuel loaded in Stockholm would be measured,” explains Jörgen Larsson. The researchers’ new methods have been developed to account for the whole trip. </span><br /></div> <div>All the calculations and figures for the tool are available in a methodological report on the site. It is currently only available in Swedish, but an English version will be published in June. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The following organisations have supported the development of the platform: </div> <div><ul><li>Region Västra Götaland via Klimat 2030</li> <li>the Centre for Tourism at the University of Gothenburg</li> <li>Chalmers University of Technology</li> <li>West Sweden Tourism Board</li> <li>The City of Gothenburg</li> <li>Göteborg &amp; Co</li> <li>Mistra Urban Futures, and </li> <li>Mistra Sustainable Consumption. </li></ul></div> <div><a href="https://travelandclimate.org/who-behind-it">More about the funding, organisations and the researchers behind the project can be found here​</a>. </div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:inherit;font-size:16px;font-weight:600;background-color:initial">More info:</span><br /></div> <div>Criticism of such a powerful industry as aviation has not been met without resistance. Last year, Jörgen Larsson found himself the centre of a media storm, with the Swedish Air Transport Society accusing him and his colleagues of conducting unscientific research. The ensuing debate resulted in the Presidents of both Chalmers University of Technology and KTH publishing an<a href="https://www.dn.se/debatt/hyfs-och-kunskap-kravs-i-debatten-om-flyg-och-klimat/"> article in a Swedish national newspaper condemning the hypocrisy and incorrect information being spread from the Swedish aviation industry</a>.</div> <div>Eventually, the researchers met with representatives from the Swedish Air Transport Society to clear the air, and a positive working relationship developed. Now, the researchers have started a collaboration with Swedavia, the national Swedish airport operator, giving them direct access to large amounts of data for use in further research.</div> Thu, 23 May 2019 15:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/More-stars-will-surround-the-Horsehead.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/More-stars-will-surround-the-Horsehead.aspxMore stars will surround the Horsehead in the future, new study reveals<p><b>​​​Why are so few stars born around the Horsehead Nebula, even though all the conditions seem to be there? That question can now answer a Chalmers-led research team.</b></p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Orion-horsehead-340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:210px;height:210px" />​<span style="background-color:initial">The Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion is one of the most famous shapes in the sky, as was recently seen in <a href="https://www.svtplay.se/video/21925806/eurovision-song-contest-2019/eurovision-song-contest-2019-semifinal-1-14-maj-21-00?position=3531&amp;cmpid=del:tw:20190522:semifinal-1:pla:lp">Australia’s spectacular performance in the Eurovision Song Contest</a>. </span><div><br /></div> <div>The Horsehead is located in Orion B, one of two main molecular clouds in the constellation Orion’s “belt”.</div> <div>In this cloud, astronomers believe that many new stars could be born - but on the contrary, the birth rate is unusually low. <span style="background-color:initial">In a new study, a research team led by Chalmers astronomer Jan Orkisz explains why: the cosmic filaments in Orion B are still young, and star formation in the filaments might become more active in the future.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">– Comparing the filaments of Orion B with other clouds, such as the nearby cloud Orion A where the filaments are more massive, gravitationally bound and actively forming stars, can show that Orion B is a very peculiar cloud. Despite its size and mass, it is known for its very low star formation activity, says Jan Orkisz, at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers. </span><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Jan_Orkisz_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– However, we rather interpret it as the fact that Orion B is simply a cloud in an early evolutionary stage: <span style="background-color:initial">its filamentary architecture already shows similarities with more evolved environments, and star formation in the filaments might become more active in the future. </span><span style="background-color:initial">If this is the case, then it also shows that filaments play an important part early in the evolution of interstellar matter, as they start to structure the gas before gravity has taken over, says Jan.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>Further studies of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex can thus help understanding all the stages of the cycle through which the Galactic matter goes.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The text is based on the press release: </span><a href="https://www.iram-institute.org/EN/news/2019/174.html">Filaments around the Horsehead Nebula are still too young to form stars, from I​RAM, Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique</a><span style="background-color:initial">.</span><br /></div> <div><div><br /></div> <div><a href="https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/2019/04/aa33410-18.pdf">Read the full article about the study: A dynamically young, gravitationally stable network of filaments in Orion B, published in Astronomy &amp; Astrophysics</a>.  </div></div> ​​<div><em>Image credits: </em></div> <div><em>Top image: IRAM, Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique. ​</em><br /><em>Image of the Horsehead Nebula: </em><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Horsehead_Nebula#/media/File:Barnard_33.jpg"><em>Ken Crawford. (Click to see high resolution image)</em></a><em>.</em><br /><em>Portrait Jan Orkisz: Christian Löwhagen</em><br /></div>Wed, 22 May 2019 15:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/the-first-image-of-a-black-hole.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/the-first-image-of-a-black-hole.aspxThe first image of a black hole<p><b>Astronomers at Chalmers have been part of an international collaboration presenting the first observations of the black hole at the heart of distant galaxy Messier 87.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. On April 10, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.</span><div><br /></div> <div>This breakthrough was announced in a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The EHT links telescopes around the globe to form an Earth-sized virtual telescope with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution. The EHT is the result of years of international collaboration, and offers scientists a new way to study the most extreme objects in the Universe predicted by Einstein’s general relativity during the centennial year of the historic experiment that first confirmed the theory.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;We have taken the first picture of a black hole,&quot; says EHT project director Sheperd S. Doeleman of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard &amp; Smithsonian. &quot;This is an extraordinary scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Centrum/Onsala%20rymdobservatorium/340x/eht_chalmers_foton_72dpi_340x157.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Of these researchers, three are from Chalmers: John Conway and Michael Lindqvist at Onsala Space Observatory and the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, as well as Ivan Martí-Vidal, formerly of Onsala Space Observatory and now astronomer at the Instituto Geográfico Nacional in Spain.<br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial">– These results are incredibly exciting. But they are just the beginning of what I think will be a fantastic adventure when it comes to depicting black holes, </span><span style="background-color:initial">says</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">John Conway, professor of radio astronomy at Chalmers and director of Onsala Space Observatory.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>At Chalmers, the Group for Advanced Receiver Development at <span style="background-color:initial">Onsala Space Observatory,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">GARD</span><span style="background-color:initial">, are developing receivers and frequency mixers for expanding EHT's possibilities to look even further into the universe. </span></div> <span></span><div></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>More information and more images can be found in the <a href="https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1907/?lang">press release from ESO, the European Southern Observatory</a>. </div>Thu, 11 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Hakan-Frisinger-scholarship-goes-to-Chalmers-professor.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Hakan-Frisinger-scholarship-goes-to-Chalmers-professor.aspxHåkan Frisinger scholarship to Chalmers professor<p><b>​Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Means of Transport Research awards its 2018 scholarship to Chalmers Professor Sonia Yeh. The scholarship, amounting to 250 000 SEK, rewards Sonia Yeh for her innovative research concerning sustainable transport and developing solutions for mobility.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Sonia Yeh is a professor at Physical Resource Theory at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers University of Technology. Her fields of research centres on alternative transportation fuels, consumer behaviour, urban mobility and sustainability standards. Her research has made her an internationally recognized expert on energy economics and modulation of energy systems.</span><div><br /></div> <div>Among other things she co-led a large collaborative team from the University of California Davis and UC Berkeley advising the U.S. states of California and Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada to design and implement a market-based carbon policy targeting GHG emission reductions from the transport sector.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sonia Yeh came to Chalmers as Adlerbertska visiting professor and U.S Fulbright Distinguished Chair Professor in Alternative Energy Technology to foster the exchange of transport research among the U.S, Sweden and the rest of Europe.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Appointed permanently at Chalmers since 2017, she now aims to promote sustainable transport by linking innovative Big Data techniques with emerging developments in human mobility. With the focus on designing solutions that minimize the system-wide, drawbacks of transportation, such as pollution, while enhancing the societal benefits, or convenience and access to mobility.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Håkan Frisinger was CEO of Volvo in 1983–1987, and Chairman of the Board in 1997-1999. The nomination of recipients of the Frisinger scholarship is conducted by the Chalmers University of Technology and Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF). The decision about the scholarship is taken by the Board of the VREF.<br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The scholarship will be presented by the Håkan Frisinger Foundation at a seminar on Monday May 6 from 13.00, at Chalmerska Huset, Gothenburg. The seminar will be held in English.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><a href="/en/about-chalmers/calendar/Pages/Håkan-Frisinger-Seminar.aspx">Click here for more information and to register for the seminar​</a></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: AB Volvo<br />Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist</div> <div></div>Wed, 10 Apr 2019 15:35:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Jubilee-conference-looking-into-space-and-to-the-future.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Jubilee-conference-looking-into-space-and-to-the-future.aspxJubilee conference looking into space and the future<p><b>​On April 15 international researchers working on instrumentation and technologies for astronomy, planetary and remote sensing gather at Chalmers for ISSTT 2019, the 30th International Symposium on Space Terahertz Technology. – This is a relatively small and highly specialized research field, contributing absolute top-class instruments and research to many other fields, says Victor Belitsky, head of ISSTT’s local organizing committee at Chalmers.</b></p>​This also marks the second time the ISSTT is arranged at Chalmers, who was first to arrange the symposium outside of the US, in 2005. The symposium topics range from instrumentation for miniature “shoe box” satellites and how to probe the trail of water in distant space in search of habitable planets, to the development strategies for the <a href="https://www.almaobservatory.org/en/home/">ALMA Observatory in Chile</a>.<div><div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/RoG/Profilbilder/belitsky-victor.JPG" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– What is perhaps “exotic” for our field is that it covers many areas. It’s rooted in basic physics, we have first-rate engineering of micro components down to Nano levels, as well as practical installations in full scale telescopes – and there are many connections and active feedback from users and researchers. This is also reflected in the wide variety of topics during the conference, says Victor Belitsky. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Victor is professor and head of the Group for Advanced Receiver Development (GARD) at Chalmers. GARD is part of the division Onsala Space Observatory at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment and the group is responsible for designing and delivering instruments and receiver systems to some of the world’s largest astronomy observatories such as ALMA, <a href="http://www.apex-telescope.org/">APEX</a> and <a href="https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/herschel">Herschel</a>.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Victor describes the atmosphere at ISSTT to be both informal and productive, mainly since many of over the 130 coming researchers are returning ISSTT participants, willing to share ideas and discoveries. But there are also new researchers coming every year. To encourage young participants the symposium arranges a student competition for the first time this year, to “identify and recognize outstanding technical contributions from individual students”. Five students from the master program in Wireless, Photonics and Space Engineering are also participating in the symposium. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The five keynote speakers are: </div> <div><div><ul><li><span style="background-color:initial">Susanne Aalto, </span><span style="background-color:initial">Extragalactic Astronomy, Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers. </span></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">Donal Murtagh, Microwave and optical remote sensing, </span><span style="background-color:initial">S</span><span style="background-color:initial">pace, Earth and Environment, </span><span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers. ​</span></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">Leonardo Testi, </span>Professor, Head of the ESO ALMA Support Centre</li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">Paola Caselli, </span>the Max-Planck-Institute, and Space, Earth and Environment , Chalmers</li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">Karl-Friedrich Schuster, </span>Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique</li></ul></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">When considering the symposium programme, Victor is most looking forward to the last day of the conference, which focuses on new devices and future developments. But he also knows to expect the unexpected during the ISSTT. </span><br /></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– The abstracts from our invited speakers look very promising, but I also know that we are in for some surprises, as some of the speakers will present their very latest work, and even works in progress for others to comment. So, I am most looking forward to the surprises! </div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text: Christian Löwhagen.</em></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">Read more: ​​</h5> <div><a href="https://www.isstt2019.com/">ISSTT 2019 official web site​</a>. </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/see/research/OSO/gard/Pages/default.aspx">GARD, the Group for Advanced Receiver Development at Chalmers</a>. </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Will-image-the-distant-universe.aspx">News item about the ALMA receivers, developed and produced by GARD</a>.</div> <div><p class="MsoNormal"><br /></p></div></div>Tue, 09 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/EU-consumption-plays-major-role-in-tropical-deforestation.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/EU-consumption-plays-major-role-in-tropical-deforestation.aspxEU consumption linked to tropical deforestation<p><b>A sixth of all emissions resulting from the typical diet of an EU citizen can be directly linked to deforestation of tropical forests. Two new studies, from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, shed new light on this impact, by combining satellite imagery of the rainforest, global land use statistics and data of international trade patterns.  “In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year. If the EU really wants to achieve its climate goals, it must set harder environmental demands on those who export food to the EU,” says Martin Persson from Chalmers, one of the researchers behind the studies.</b></p><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Martin-Florence.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />​<span style="background-color:initial">The link between production of certain foods and deforestation has been known before. But what Martin Persson and Chalmers colleague Florence Pendrill have now investigated is the extent to which deforestation in the tropics is linked to food production, and then where those foods are eventually consumed. In the first study (</span><a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab0d41" style="outline:currentcolor none 0px">Deforestation displaced: trade in forest-risk commodities and the prospects for a global forest transition</a>)<span style="background-color:initial">, they focused on how the expansion of cropland, pastures, and forestry plantations has taken place at the expense of the rainforest.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“We can see that more than half of deforestation is due to production of food and animal feed, such as beef, soy beans and palm oil. There is big variation between different countries and goods, but overall, exports account for about a fourth of that deforestation which is connected to food production. And these figures have also increased during the period we looked at,” says Florence Pendrill.</span></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Using this information, the researchers investigated, in the second study (<span style="background-color:initial">(</span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378018314365" style="outline:currentcolor none 0px">Agricultural and forestry trade drives large share of tropical deforestation emissions</a>)<span style="background-color:initial">,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> the amount of carbon dioxide </span><span style="background-color:initial">emissions resulting from this production (see the picture below), and where the produce is then consumed. The figures for the EU are particularly interesting, since the EU is a large food importer. Furthermore, the EU shall soon present a plan for how to reduce its contribution to deforestation.</span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The EU already has strict requirements in place connected to deforestation which producers of timber and wood products must adhere to in order to export their goods to the EU. This demonstrates their ability to influence other countries’ work in protecting the rainforest.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“Now, as the connection between food production and deforestation is made clearer, we should start to discuss possibilities for the EU to adopt similar regulations for food imports. Quite simply, deforestation should end up costing the producer more. If you give tropical countries support in their work to protect the rainforest, as well as giving farmers alternatives to deforestation to increase production, it can have a big impact,” says Florence Pendrill. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The current studies were done in collaboration with researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Germany, and NTNU, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. They are a continuation of research which was done through the Prince project (Policy Relevant Indicators for National Consumption and Environment), where the connections between Swedish consumption and emissions from deforestation were presented in the autumn. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The studies indicate that, although there is a big variation between different EU countries, on average a sixth of the emissions from a typical EU diet can be directly traced back to deforestation in the tropics. Emissions from imports are also high when compared with domestic agricultural emissions. For several EU countries, import emissions connected to deforestation are equivalent to more than half of the emissions from their own, national agricultural production. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“If the EU really wants to do something about its impact on the climate, this is an important emissions source. There are big possibilities here to influence production so that it avoids expanding into tropical forests,” says Martin Persson. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Above all, Martin Persson believes the responsibility for achieving these changes lies with bigger actors, such as countries and large international organisations. But he also sees a role for the consumer to get involved and have an influence.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“Public opinion is vital for the climate question – not least in influencing politicians, but also commercially. We can see already that several companies have made commitments to protecting tropical forests, through voluntarily pledging to avoid products which are farmed on deforested land. And in large part, that results from the fact that popular opinion is so strong on this issue,” he concludes. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text: Christian Löwhagen. </em></div> <div><em>Photos: Anna-Lena Lundqvist and Christian Löwhagen.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em> </em></div> <em> </em><div>​<br /></div> <div> </div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><span>More information on: Carbon dioxide emissions due to tropical deforestation</span></h5></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"> </h5> <div>For the period 2010–2014, the researchers estimate net emissions of 2.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide due to deforestation associated to the expansion of croplands, pastures and forestry plantations in the tropics. The main commodity groups associated with these emissions were cattle meat (0.9 gigatonnes of CO2) and oilseed products (including both palm oil and soybeans; 0.6 gigatonnes of CO2).</div> <div> </div> <div>There are large geographic variations in what commodities are associated with deforestation-related emissions. In Latin America, cattle meat is the dominant contributor (0.8 gigatonnes of CO2), mainly attributed to Brazilian production. In Indonesia almost half of the emissions (0.3 gigatonnes of CO2) come from oilseeds (mainly oil palm). In the rest of Asia-Pacific and Africa, a more diverse mix of commodities drives emissions from deforestation.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Diagram-fordelning-utslapp.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">Emissions sources for deforestation-related carbon dioxide emissions</h5> <div>Emissions sources for deforestation-related carbon dioxide emissions are diverse and vary by region. Emissions embodied in production are shown for each commodity group within each region. A region’s width on the x-axis corresponds to the embodied emissions produced in that region, while the y-axis shows the share of emission attributed to each commodity group within each region, implying that the rectangles within the plot are scaled according to the emissions embodied in each region-commodity combination. The percentages within the rectangles indicate the share of the total embodied emissions; 2.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide due to tropical deforestation during the period 2010–2014.</div></div> <div><em>Image: Florence Pendrill.</em></div> <em> </em><div>​<br /></div> <div> </div>Wed, 27 Mar 2019 06:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Spiralling-giants-Alma-massive-binary-star.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Spiralling-giants-Alma-massive-binary-star.aspxSpiralling giants: Alma witnesses the birth of a massive binary star<p><b>​A team of astronomers, among them Jonathan Tan (Chalmers) have made new observations with Alma of a molecular cloud that is collapsing to form two massive protostars that will eventually become a binary star system.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">While it is known that most massive stars possess orbiting stellar companions it has been unclear how this comes about. Are the stars born together from a common, spiralling gas disk at the center of a collapsing cloud, or do they pair up later by chance encounters in a crowded star cluster?</span><div><br /></div> <div>Understanding the dynamics of forming binaries has been difficult because the protostars in these systems are still enveloped in a thick cloud of gas and dust that prevents most light from escaping. Fortunately, it is possible to see them using radio waves, as long as they can be imaged with sufficiently high spatial resolution.</div> <div>         <span style="white-space:pre"> </span></div> <div>In the current research, published in Nature Astronomy, the researchers led by Yichen Zhang (<a href="http://www.riken.jp/">RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research​</a>, Japan) and Jonathan Tan (Chalmers and University of Virginia), used the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (Alma) telescope array in northern Chile to observe, at high spatial resolution, a star-forming region known as IRAS07299-1651, which is located about 5,500 light years (<span style="background-color:initial">1.68 kiloparsecs</span><span style="background-color:initial">) away in the constellation Puppis.</span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/spiralling_giants_figure1_2_72dpi_340x340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The observations showed that already at this early stage, the cloud contains two objects, a massive “primary” central star and another “secondary” forming star, also of high mass. For the first time, the research team were able to use these observations to deduce the dynamics of the system. The observations showed that the two forming stars are <span style="background-color:initial">quite far apart, </span><span style="background-color:initial">separated by a distance of about 180 astronomical units (180 times the distance </span><span style="background-color:initial">from </span><span style="background-color:initial">the E</span><span style="background-color:initial">arth to the S</span><span style="background-color:initial">un)</span><span style="background-color:initial">.</span><span style="background-color:initial"> They are cur</span><span style="background-color:initial">rently orbiting each other with a period of at most 600 years, and have a total mass at least 18 times that of our Sun.</span></div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>“This is an exciting finding because we have long been perplexed by the question of whether stars form into binaries during the initial collapse of the star-forming cloud or whether they are created during later stages. Our observations clearly show that the division into binary stars takes place early on, while they are still in their infancy,” says Yichen Zhang.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Another finding of the study was that the binary stars are being nurtured from a common disk fed by the collapsing cloud and favoring a scenario in which the secondary star of the binary formed as a result of fragmentation of the disk originally around the primary. This allows the initially smaller secondary protostar to “steal” infalling matter from its sibling. Eventually they should emerge as quite similar &quot;twins”.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“This is an important result for understanding the birth of massive stars. Such stars are important throughout the universe, not least for producing, at the ends of their lives, the heavy elements that make up our Earth and are in our bodies”, says Jonathan Tan.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“What is important now is to look at other examples to see whether this is a unique situation or something that is common for the birth of all massive stars”, concludes Yichen Zhang.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>See also: <a href="https://public.nrao.edu/news/2019-alma-image-spiral-stars/">press release at NRAO</a>, <a href="http://astronomy.as.virginia.edu/news/spiraling-giants-witnessing-birth-massive-binary-star">press release at University of Virginia</a>. </div> <div> </div> <div><div><span style="font-weight:700">Contacts</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Robert Cumming, communicator, Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31-772 5500, +46 70-493 31 14, robert.cumming@chalmers.se</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Jonathan Tan, professor of astrophysics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 6516, jonathan.tan@chalmers.se</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong><em>Image and film clip</em></strong></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Image A (top and above right): Alma’s view of the IRAS-07299 star-forming region and the massive binary system at its center. </em><em style="background-color:initial"><div style="display:inline !important">The background image shows dense, dusty streams of gas (shown in green) that appear to be flowing toward the center of the system. Gas that is moving toward us -- as traced by the methanol molecule -- is shown in blue; motions away from us in red. The inset image shows a zoom-in view of the massive forming binary, with the brighter, primary protostar moving toward us shown in blue and the fainter, secondary protostar moving away from us shown in red. The blue and red dotted lines show an example of orbits of the primary and secondary spiraling around their center of mass (marked by the cross). <a href="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/spiralling_giants_figure1_2_300dpi_full.jpg">Link to full-resolution image​</a></div></em></div> <div><em><div><br /></div></em></div> <div><em>Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Y. Zhang et al</em></div> <div><em> </em></div> <div><em>Film clip:</em></div> <div><a href="https://youtu.be/7kSQRckQrdo"><em><span>See film clip on YouTube at address</span> </em>https://youtu.be/7kSQRckQrdo​</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em></em></span><i><span style="background-color:initial">A movie composed of images taken by Alma showing the gas streams, as traced by the methanol molecule, with different line-of-sight color-coded velocities, around the massive binary protostar system. The grey background image shows the overall distribution, from all velocities, of dust emission from the dense gas streams.</span><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></i></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More about the research and about Alma</strong></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The research findings are reported in Nature Astronomy in the article </span><span style="background-color:initial">Dynamics of a massive binary at birth by </span><span style="background-color:initial">Yichen Zhang, Jonathan C. Tan, Kei E. I. </span><span style="background-color:initial">Tanaka, James M. De Buizer, Mengyao Liu, Maria T. Beltrán, Kaitlin Kratter, Diego Mardones and Guido Garay, </span><span style="background-color:initial"> doi: 10.1038/s41550-019-0718-y</span></div> <div>Link to paper: <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0718-y">https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0718-y​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial">The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.</span><br /></div> <div> </div></div>Mon, 18 Mar 2019 19:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Astronomy-professor-new-member-of-royal-academy.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Astronomy-professor-new-member-of-royal-academy.aspxAstronomy professor new member of royal academy<p><b>​Susanne Aalto, Professor of Radio Astronomy at Chalmers University of Technology, has been appointed member in the Class of Astronomy and space science in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. &quot;The Academy consists of outstanding researchers who are strongly committed to science, who are driving it forward, renewing and conducting the current scientific conversations in society. To get the chance to work with such high-level researchers is a great honour,” says Susanne Aalto.</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences describe their new member in the following terms: </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;At the General Meeting on 20 February this year, Susanne Aalto, Chalmers University of Technology, was elected as new Swedish member in the Class of Astronomy and space science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Susanne Aalto is Professor in Radio Astronomy at the department for Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers. Her main research fields are star formation, supermassive black holes, and powerful winds in galaxies both near and far. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>She is particularly interested in starburst galaxies. These are extremely bright galaxies where new stars are formed at a much faster rate than in our own Galaxy. Through the use of long radio waves, she studies the cold gas clouds where stars are born, and which also help black holes to grow​. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In recent years, Susanne Aalto has been actively involved in the ALMA telescope in Chile, which contributes to huge scientific advances in this area. At high altitude, and located in one of the world’s driest places in the Atacama Desert, the telescope has particularly good conditions to observe the known universe.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Hidden-galaxy-evolution.aspx">Read more on Susanne and her research</a></div> <div><a href="https://kva.se/en/startsida">Read more on the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences</a> </div> <div><br /></div>Fri, 01 Mar 2019 01:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/New-insights-on-aerosol-formation-in-the-atmosphere.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/New-insights-on-aerosol-formation-in-the-atmosphere.aspxNew insights on aerosol formation in the atmosphere<p><b>​Close cooperation between researchers in Germany, England and Sweden has contributed to a completely new approach to studies of particle formation in the atmosphere. ​</b></p><div>The climatologists involved in the study took a new approach: they were the first to consider the fact that the atmosphere contains biogenic as well as anthropogenic trace gases and vapours in various mixtures. In their study, they revealed why the amount of aerosols formed in atmospheric mixtures can be significantly smaller than expected from previous laboratory studies. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The insights will lead to a better understanding of the influence that aerosols have on climate and air quality, and will <span style="background-color:initial">contribute to more precise and thus more reliable climate models – an important prerequisite for better climate protection and improved air quality. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">David Simpson and Robert Bergström at the Chalmers division of </span><span style="background-color:initial">Microwave and optical remote sensing contributed the global model calculations to the study, which was published in Nature on January 31, 2019.</span><br /></div> <div>– With this new knowledge, we will also be able to study how other substances react to each other in different environments. Hopefully it will lead to more accurate calculations of particle impact on climate and air quality, says David.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0871-y">Link to the Nature article: <span style="background-color:initial">&quot;Secondary organic aerosol reduced by mixture of atmospheric vapours&quot;</span></a><span style="background-color:initial">.</span></div> <div><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00263-1">Link to Nature news, a short popular science summary of the article. </a><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><br /></div> <div><a href="https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/scientists-find-an-unexpected-link-between-air-pollutants-from-plants-and-manmade-emissions/"><span>Link to press release from the University of Manchester: &quot;Scientists find an unexpected link between air pollutants from plants and manmade emissions</span>&quot;​</a><span style="background-color:initial">.</span></div></div>Tue, 05 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/gpc/news/Pages/Nomination_for_the_Lise_Meitner_Award_2019.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/gpc/news/Pages/Nomination_for_the_Lise_Meitner_Award_2019.aspxCall for nominations: Gothenburg Lise Meitner award 2019<p><b>​The Gothenburg Physics Centre (GPC) is seeking nominations for the 2019 Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award.  Nominations are due on Monday, 4 March, 2019.</b></p>​​The Lise Meitner award honors exceptional individuals for a “<em>groundbreaking discovery in physics</em>”.  <br />In addition to their scientific accomplishments, the candidates must meet the following selection criteria:<br /><ul><li>They have distinguished themselves through public activities of popularizing science and are prepared to deliver the annual Lise Meitner Lecture (middle of September).</li> <li>Their research activity is connected to or benefit activities at GPC.<br /></li></ul> Nominations should include a motivation describing the achievements of the candidate, a short biography/CV, contact details and a local contact person. <br /><br />We would also like to thank those of you who did make an effort to nominate a candidate in the past! In case your nomination has not been chosen, we encourage you to submit her or his name again. As the number of nominations has declined in recent years, we <span style="font-weight:700">strongly </span>encourage all members of GPC to nominate a candidate! Please think broadly! There are certainly outstanding candidates you either know personally or whom you would like to come here to Gothenburg.  ​<br /><br />Nominations should be sent to any member of the of the Lise Meitner Award Committee 2019: <br /><br />Dinko Chakarov <a href="mailto:dinko.chakarov@chalmers.se">dinko.chakarov@chalmers.se</a> <br />Hans Nordman <a href="mailto:hans.nordman@chalmers.se">hans.nordman@chalmers.se</a><br />Ann-Marie Pendrill <a href="mailto:Ann-Marie.Pendrill@physics.gu.se">Ann-Marie.Pendrill@physics.gu.se</a><br />Vitaly Shumeiko <a href="mailto:vitaly.shumeiko@chalmers.se">vitaly.shumeiko@chalmers.se​</a><br />Andreas Heinz (Chair) <a href="mailto:andreas.heinz@chalmers.se">andreas.heinz@chalmers.se</a><br /><a href="mailto:andreas.heinz@chalmers.se"></a><br /><a href="/en/centres/gpc/activities/lisemeitner"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />More information about Lise Meitner and the award can be found at the GPC website</a><br /><br />With best regards,<br /><br />The 2019 Lise Meitner Committee​Fri, 01 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/Pages/gender-equality-at-Chalmers.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/Pages/gender-equality-at-Chalmers.aspx“If you care about gender equality at Chalmers, come!”<p><b>​Liisa Husu, expert in studies of gender equality in academia, gives a guest lecture on 27 February. “She will doubtless bring new insights”, says Pernilla Wittung Stafshede.</b></p><strong>​<img src="http://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/PublishingImages/liisa_husu_W.jpg" alt="Liisa Husu, Photo: Ulla-Carin Ekblom" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px" /></strong><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Liisa Husu is one of the pioneers </strong>in the study of gender equality in academia. She has focused particularly on gender dynamics and inequality in scientific careers and organizations, and in science policy. Liisa Husu is Professor of Gender Studies at Örebro University.</span><div><br /></div> <div><strong>On 27 February, she visits Chalmers</strong> for a guest lecture on gender challenges in academic careers and organizations. The seminar is intended for all Chalmers employees, particularly for graduate students, postdocs and faculty. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“She will doubtless bring new insights. I hope the audience will get a better understanding of gender challenges in academia and learn more scientific facts about it. Maybe the seminar will be an eye-opener for some. I personally hope we will get suggestions for how to approach this issue at Chalmers,” says Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, leader of Genie, Chalmers gender initiative for excellence.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>“Liisa Husu’s expertise in gender equality</strong> in higher education and her international experience and contacts led us to ask her to join Genie’s advisory board. Now, we want to make her knowledge available to the whole of Chalmers in a lecture that is open to all,” says Pernilla Wittung Stafshede.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Liisa Husu does research on topics such as gender paradoxes in changing academic and scientific organization. Her perspective is that of a highly experienced researcher in gender equality in science. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Liisa Husu has done extensive work</strong> as adviser to universities, funding agencies and governments. She was the national coordinator of women’s studies and senior adviser in the Finnish gender equality machinery, Council for Equality between Women and Men and Equality Ombudsman’s Office, at the Prime Minister’s office in her native Finland. She was also a member of the Swedish Ministry of Education advisory group on gender in European research policy in 2017, and is the moderator of the European Network on Gender Equality in Higher Education. </div> <div> </div> <div>“If you care about gender equality at Chalmers, come! I hope every head of department will attend the seminar and bring their faculty and students with them”, concludes Pernilla Wittung Stafshede. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>The seminar takes place in Palmstedtsalen,</strong> Campus Johanneberg on 27 February at 13:15. It is hosted by Genie together with Chalmers Energy and Transport Areas of Advance. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/Transport/calendar/Pages/Gender-challenges-in-academic-careers-and-organisations.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about the seminar and register &gt;&gt;</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>By:  <span style="background-color:initial">E</span><span style="background-color:initial">milia Lundgren</span><span style="background-color:initial"> and Ann-Christine Nordin<br />Photo Liisa Husu: Ulla-Karin Ekblom</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div>Thu, 31 Jan 2019 09:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/New-theory-on-how-the-first--human-society-was-formed.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/New-theory-on-how-the-first--human-society-was-formed.aspxNew theory on how the first human society was formed<p><b>​A new theory on how human early societies arose has attracted much attention in its research field since published. The concept of the &quot;social protocell&quot; draws inspiration from how the first signs of life are considered to have originated and developed on earth.</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">– The theory we use explains how evolution under the right conditions can suddenly move from a micro to a macro level. A so-called Evolutionary Transition in Individuality, which is a nearly universal explanation of explosive increases in complexity and diversity of the kind we see when the human being entered the stage, says <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/claes-andersson.aspx">Claes Andersson</a>, at the Chalmers division of Physical Resource Theory.</span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">– </span><span style="background-color:initial">The theory explains in a conceptually simple way how human societies could emerge evolutionarily as organized and functional entities at the community level - even though its individual </span><span style="background-color:initial">members didn't </span><span style="background-color:initial">understand, or even could</span><span style="background-color:initial"> understand, how </span><span style="background-color:initial">societies work. </span><span style="background-color:initial">The model we use is also considered to describe life's origin in primitive cells, so-called protocells, over four billion years ago., says Claes.</span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The article is published in Biological Theory by Claes and Petter Törnberg, previous PhD Student at Chalmers, currently at the ​</span><span style="background-color:initial">Universiteit van Amsterdam​. </span><br /></div> <div><a href="https://research.chalmers.se/publication/507366"><span style="background-color:initial">Read the full article: </span><span style="background-color:initial">Toward a Macroevolutionary Theory of Human Evolution: The Social Protocell</span></a> in the Chalmers research database. </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div>Thu, 31 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Deliberations-from-COP24.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Deliberations-from-COP24.aspxDeliberations from COP24 – a meeting of paradoxes<p><b>​Ida Karlsson, PhD Student at Chalmers, working in the Mistra Carbon Exit research program, shares some thoughts and insights from a week at COP 24, the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice.</b></p><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">​<span>Paradoxes</span></h5> <div>The first week of COP24, the UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland was full of paradoxes. To start with, the site of the conference itself is one clear paradox. With the slogan Black to Green, Katowice has closed 18 of its 20 coal mines, one of which has been converted into the beautifully designed green roofed cultural zone housing the COP. At a first glance, Katowice appears transformed and thriving, having an unemployment rate of only 1.7% and one of Europe’s large fleet of electric buses. At the same time, the smoky haze over the city from the coal-fired residential heating is often thick and the strong ties to coal was rather unsubtle with Katowice pavilion at the conference decorated by chunks of coal stacked in metal crates parading jewelry and soaps made of coal. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>To continue this paradox, Poland got the first Fossil of the Day Award by NGO Climate Action Network (CAN) International on the grounds of the sponsorships of the conference and Polish President Andrzej Duda saying in his speech during the opening ceremony that there is no contradiction between climate protection and coal use, domestic coal reserves will last for 200 years. Nevertheless, the Polish presidency of the COP, led by Michał Kurtyka, has taken an active and significant role in driving the negotiations forward, chairing discussions and exploring landing grounds. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Based on my experience from the first week, I would say that a few clear themes have emerged from the talks: </div> <div><ul><li>finance, </li> <li>the role of non-state actors, </li> <li>an enhanced focus on industry, partnerships and collaboration, </li> <li>a socially just transition, as well as </li> <li>moving from ambition to action. <br /></li></ul></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="https://www.mistracarbonexit.com/news/2018/12/10/blogpost-deliberations-from-cop24">Ida's full report can be found at the Mistra Carbon Exit website​</a>.</div> <div>Ida is a PhD Student at the division of Energy Technology, at the department of Space, Earth and Environment. <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/ida-karlsson.aspx">​Read more about her research​</a>. </div>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 06:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Organic-food-worse-for-the-climate.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Organic-food-worse-for-the-climate.aspxOrganic food worse for the climate<p><b>​Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature.</b></p>​<span>The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact from land-use, and used this, along with other methods, to compare organic and conventional food production. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions. </span> <div><br /></div> <div>“Our study shows that organic peas, farmed in Sweden, have around a 50 percent bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed peas. For some foodstuffs, there is an even bigger difference – for example, with organic Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70 percent,” says Stefan Wirsenius, an associate professor from Chalmers, and one of those responsible for the study. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/ekologisk-mat-Diagram---ENG-450.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The reason why organic food is so much worse for the climate is that the yields per hectare are much lower, primarily because fertilisers are not used. To produce the same amount of organic food, you therefore need a much bigger area of land. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The ground-breaking aspect of the new study is the conclusion that this difference in land usage results in organic food causing a much larger climate impact. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The greater land-use in organic farming leads indirectly to higher carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to deforestation,” explains Stefan Wirsenius. “The world’s food production is governed by international trade, so how we farm in Sweden influences deforestation in the tropics. If we use more land for the same amount of food, we contribute indirectly to bigger deforestation elsewhere in the world.” </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Even organic meat and dairy products are – from a climate point of view – worse than their conventionally produced equivalents, claims Stefan Wirsenius.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Because organic meat and milk production uses organic feed-stocks, it also requires more land than conventional production. This means that the findings on organic wheat and peas in principle also apply to meat and milk products. We have not done any specific calculations on meat and milk, however, and have no concrete examples of this in the article,” he explains.</div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">A new metric: Carbon Opportunity Cost</h5> <div>The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost”, to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation. The study is among the first in the world to make use of this metric. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The fact that more land use leads to greater climate impact has not often been taken into account in earlier comparisons between organic and conventional food,” says Stefan Wirsenius. “This is a big oversight, because, as our study shows, this effect can be many times bigger than the greenhouse gas effects, which are normally included. It is also serious because today in Sweden, we have politicians whoseal goals is to increase production of organic food. If thoseat goals isare implemented, the climate influence from Swedish food production will probably increase a lot.”  </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>So why have earlier studies not taken into account land-use and its relationship to carbon dioxide emissions? </strong></div> <strong></strong><div><span>“There are surely many reasons. An important explanation, I think, is simply an earlier lack of good, easily applicable methods for measuring the effect. Our new method of measurement allows us to make broad environmental comparisons, with relative ease,” says Stefan Wirsenius. </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0757-z">The results of the study are published in the article “Assessing the Efficiency of Land Use Changes for Mitigating Climate Change” in the journal Nature​</a>. The article is written by Timothy Searchinger, Stefan Wirsenius, Tim Beringer och Patrice Dumas. </div> <div><br /></div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">For more​ information, contact: </h6><div>Stefan Wirsenius, Associate Professor at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment</div> <div><a href="mailto:%20stefan.wirsenius@chalmers.se">stefan.wirsenius@chalmers.se​</a></div> <div>+46 31 772 31 46</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Photo: Johan Bodell</div> <div>Illustrations: Yen Strandqvist</div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><span>​More on: The consumer perspective</span></h5></div> <div>Stefan Wirsenius notes that the findings do not mean that conscientious consumers should simply switch to buying non-organic food. </div> <div>“The type of food is often much more important. For example, eating organic beans or organic chicken is much better for the climate than to eat conventionally produced beef,” he says. “Organic food does have several advantages compared with food produced by conventional methods,” he continues. “For example, it is better for farm animal welfare. But when it comes to the climate impact, our study shows that organic food is a much worse alternative, in general.” </div> <div><br />For consumers who want to contribute to the positive aspects of organic food production, without increasing their climate impact, an effective way is to focus instead on the different impacts of different types of meat and vegetables in our diet. Replacing beef and lamb, as well as hard cheeses, with vegetable proteins such as beans, has the biggest effect. Pork, chicken, fish and eggs also have a substantially lower climate impact than beef and lamb. </div> More on: The confli​ct between different environmental goals<div><span>In organic farming, no fertilisers are used. The goal is to use resources like energy, land and water in a long-term, sustainable way. Crops are primarily nurtured through nutrients present in the soil. The main aims are greater biological diversity and a balance between animal and plant sustainability. Only naturally derived pesticides are used. </span><br /></div> <div>The arguments for organic food focus on consumers’ health, animal welfare, and different aspects of environmental policy. There is good justification for these arguments, but at the same time, there is a lack of scientific evidence to show that organic food is in general healthier and more environmentally friendly than conventionally farmed food, according to the National Food Administration of Sweden and others. The variation between farms is big, with the interpretation differing depending on what environmental goals one prioritises. At the same time, current analysis methods are unable to fully capture all aspects. </div> <div><strong>Read more: </strong></div> <div><a href="https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/livsmedel-och-innehall/ekologisk-mat1">https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/livsmedel-och-innehall/ekologisk-mat1</a></div> <div><a href="https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/globalassets/publikationsdatabas/rapporter/2016/miljopaverkan-fran-konventionellt-och-ekologiskt-producerade-livsmedel-nr-2-2016.pdf">https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/globalassets/publikationsdatabas/rapporter/2016/miljopaverkan-fran-konventionellt-och-ekologiskt-producerade-livsmedel-nr-2-2016.pdf</a></div> <div> </div> <div>The authors of the study now claim that organically farmed food is worse for the climate, due to bigger land use. For this argument they use statistics from the Swedish Board of Agriculture on the total production in Sweden, and the yields per hectare for organic versus conventional farming for the years 2013-2015. </div> <div><strong>Read more: </strong></div> <div><a href="https://www.jordbruksverket.se/webdav/files/SJV/Amnesomraden/Statistik%2c%20fakta/Vegetabilieproduktion/JO14/JO14SM1801/JO14SM1801_ikortadrag.htm">https://www.jordbruksverket.se/webdav/files/SJV/Amnesomraden/Statistik,%20fakta/Vegetabilieproduktion/JO14/JO14SM1801/JO14SM1801_ikortadrag.htm</a></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More on biofuels: “More biofuels will also increase carbon dioxide emissions”</h5> <div><br /></div> <div>Today's major investments in biofuels are also harmful to the climate because they require large areas of land suitable for crop cultivation, and thus – according to the same logic –  increase deforestation globally, the researchers in the same study argue.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>For all common biofuels (ethanol from wheat, sugar cane and corn, as well as biodiesel from palm oil, rapeseed and soya), the carbon opportunity cost is greater than the emissions from fossil fuel and diesel, the study shows. Biofuels from waste and by-products do not have this effect, but their potential is small, the researchers say.</div> <div>All biofuels made from arable crops have such high emissions that they cannot be called climate-smart, according to the researchers, who present the results on biofuels in a op-ed article in the Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter.</div> <div>​<br /></div>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0100