Renewables' deep-sea mining conundrum

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionShould we be mining the seabed for minerals?

British scientists exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean have discovered a treasure trove of rare minerals.

Their investigation of a seamount more than 500km (300 miles) from the Canary Islands has revealed a crust of "astonishingly rich" rock.

Samples brought back to the surface contain the scarce substance tellurium in concentrations 50,000 times higher than in deposits on land.

Tellurium is used in a type of advanced solar panel, so the discovery raises a difficult question about whether the push for renewable energy may encourage mining of the seabed.

The rocks also contain what are called rare earth elements that are used in wind turbines and electronics.

Energy implications

Read full article Renewables' deep-sea mining conundrum

Arrests 'big step' in chimp trade battle

Chimpanzee
Image caption This baby chimp, Nemley junior, was rescued in a police operation in Abidjan

A series of dramatic arrests of notorious wildlife traffickers is being hailed as "one big step" against the illegal trade in baby chimpanzees.

Last weekend one of the most prolific animal dealers in West Africa was found and detained in Guinea.

Read full article Arrests 'big step' in chimp trade battle

Is there a way to tackle air pollution?

Logan Eddy
Image caption Logan Eddy helped to test a pollution monitor

The search for solutions to the threat of polluted air is generating ideas that range from the modest to the radical to the bizarre.

A London primary school may issue face-masks to its pupils. The council in Cornwall may take the extreme step of moving people out of houses beside the busiest roads.

Read full article Is there a way to tackle air pollution?

Our changing attitudes to chimpanzees

The feeding of chimpanzees from Monkey Island, a celebrated colony of former research lab captives on an atoll deep in the jungle of southern Liberia Image copyright ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images

The BBC's revelations about the illegal trade in baby chimpanzees triggered an outpouring of emotion on social media about the cruelty suffered by these adorable animals

And this raises questions about how our attitudes to our closest relations in the natural world have changed.

Read full article Our changing attitudes to chimpanzees

UK nuclear fusion lab faces uncertain future

Jet, Culham Image copyright CCFE
Image caption JET holds the record for the longest sustained nuclear fusion reaction

A question mark hangs over a world-leading laboratory that has pioneered research into fusion for nearly 40 years.

The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford is largely funded by the EU and dozens of its scientists come from outside the UK.

Read full article UK nuclear fusion lab faces uncertain future

Will Paris deal tackle climate change?

Open-cast mining Garzweiler in front of a smoking power plant near the city of Grevenbroich in western Germany. Image copyright AP

Only seven years ago, the very idea that an international climate agreement would come into force today looked hopeless.

In 2009, world leaders met in Copenhagen but got nowhere.

Read full article Will Paris deal tackle climate change?

Flights probe jet stream role in floods

FAAM
Image caption One of the instruments clusters hangs beneath a wing on the FAAM plane

A major international effort is under way to research one of the greatest unknowns in weather forecasting - the influence of the jet stream.

For the first time, a fleet of drones and planes is being deployed from the United States, Iceland and Britain to investigate the flow of air crossing the Atlantic.

Read full article Flights probe jet stream role in floods

Cheetah is now 'running for its very survival'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionEndangered species like the cheetah are being used as pets, as David Shukman reports

Pitiful scenes of cheetah cubs lying emaciated and bewildered highlight one of the cruellest but least-publicised examples of illegal wildlife trafficking.

Baby cheetahs are so prized as exotic pets that entire litters are seized from their mothers when they may only be four to six weeks old.

Read full article Cheetah is now 'running for its very survival'

Pollution particles 'get into brain'

Brain Image copyright ZEPHYR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Tiny particles of pollution have been discovered inside samples of brain tissue, according to new research.

Suspected of toxicity, the particles of iron oxide could conceivably contribute to diseases like Alzheimer's - though evidence for this is lacking.

Read full article Pollution particles 'get into brain'

Global warming and the race for the White House

A power station on Ohio River

Two starkly different visions of global warming are offered by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their race for the White House.

The Democratic Party contender says she believes in the science of climate change and plans to see America become a "clean energy superpower" - installing half-a-billion solar panels by the end of her first term.

Read full article Global warming and the race for the White House