Biodegradable plastic

The mission: biodegradable plastics

Life as we live it would be impossible without plastics. But with their persistence, plastics are an enormous burden on the environment. Helmholtz researchers are working to resolve this conflict by searching for enzymes that break down plastic waste. A further goal is to bid farewell to oil by developing biodegradable plastics.

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Ein Vogel sitzt auf einem Zweig und hat ein Insekt im Schnabel

Thinking together what belongs together: biodiversity and climate

Biodiversity and climate are closely interrelated. On the one hand, biodiversity plays a key role in ensuring that we live in a stable climate and that vital cycles function; on the other hand, changing temperatures have an impact on animal and plant species. How can climate protection and nature conservation be thought together?

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Reihen von gestochenem Torf an einer Abgrabungsstelle in einem Torfmoor in Nordwestdeutschland.

How can carbon dioxide be recovered from the atmosphere?

If the global temperature increase is to be kept at a tolerable level (regardless of whether it’s 1.5 or 2 degrees), then there’s a theoretical limit to the amount of CO2 that can be released into the atmosphere. If we subtract the amount of carbon dioxide humanity has released into the atmosphere so far from the maximum tolerable amount, the remainder is the carbon budget we’re left with.

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Schornsteine mit Rauch

What is carbon dioxide and why is it a problem for the climate?

Molecules of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) consist of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. Carbon dioxide is a natural constituent of our air, but its concentration is very low. CO2 makes up only about 0.04 percent of the air by volume; air is mostly nitrogen and oxygen. That doesn’t sound like much, but CO2 still plays a very important role.

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