Queen Elizabeth I would tell Boris to tax the rich rather

The Tudor Monarch introduced the world’s first universal welfare state in 1601, groundbreaking at the time, in response to repeated plague outbreaks and famines. The ‘Poor Laws’ required all of England’s 10,000 parishes to take responsibility for their poor – anyone who refused to contribute could face prison. For the next 200 years, England was better […]

Encourage wealthy and well-connected to use their influence to tackle climate change

A paper published today in the journal Nature Energy identifies five ways that people of high socioeconomic status have a disproportionate impact on global greenhouse gas emissions – and therefore an outsized responsibility to facilitate progress in climate change mitigation. By saying it’s only the super-rich that need to change their behaviour, we ignore the power that others have […]

Crayfish and carp among the invasive species pushing lakes towards ecosystem collapse

Human activity and climate change are causing invasive non-native species to spread rapidly across the globe. Researchers have found that certain invasive species can push lake ecosystems beyond a critical ‘tipping point’, causing a sudden shift from healthy to degraded conditions that is difficult to reverse. Invasive fish such as Asian silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and […]

Concentrate farming to leave room for species and carbon

Farming should be as high-yield as possible so it can be limited to relatively small areas, allowing much more land to be left as natural habitats while still meeting future food targets, according to a major new analysis of over a decade of research. Most species fare better under this “land sparing” approach than if […]

Former coalmining communities have less faith in politics than other ‘left behind’ areas

Communities once reliant on the coal industry are now more politically disenchanted, with residents less likely to vote, than places with similar levels of deprivation but without the “narrative of decline” that holds sway in former mining areas. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Cardiff Business School used survey data on social and political […]

Going up: birds and mammals evolve faster if their home is rising

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have combined reconstructions of the Earth’s changing surface elevations over the past three million years with data on climate change over this timeframe, and with bird and mammal species’ locations. Their results reveal how species evolved into new ones as land elevation changed – and disentangle the effects of […]

Pollinators: first global risk index for species declines and effects on humanity

Disappearing habitats and use of pesticides are driving the loss of pollinator species around the world, posing a threat to “ecosystem services” that provide food and wellbeing to many millions – particularly in the Global South – as well as billions of dollars in crop productivity. This is according to an international panel of experts, […]

Climate change will transform cooling effects of volcanic eruptions

Researchers have shown that human-caused climate change will have important consequences for how volcanic gases interact with the atmosphere. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and the UK Met Office, say that large-magnitude eruptions will have greater effects as the climate continues to warm. However, the cooling effects of small- and medium-sized eruptions could […]