CRISPRing trees for a climate-friendly economy

poplar tree
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Researchers led by prof. Wout Boerjan (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) have discovered a way to stably finetune the amount of lignin in poplar by applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Lignin is one of the main structural substances in plants and it makes processing wood into, for example, paper difficult. This study is an important breakthrough in the development of wood resources for the production of paper with a lower carbon footprint, biofuels, and other bio-based materials. Their work, in collaboration with VIVES University College (Roeselare, Belgium) and University of Wisconsin (U.S.) appears in Nature Communications.


Today’s fossil-based economy results in a net increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and is a major cause of global climate change. To counter this, a shift toward a circular and bio-based economy is essential. Woody biomass can play a crucial role in such a bio-based economy by

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Climate-friendly cooling to help ease global warming

hvac
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new IIASA-led study shows that coordinated international action on energy-efficient, climate-friendly cooling could avoid as much as 600 billion tons CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions in this century.


Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are mainly used for cooling and refrigeration. While they were originally developed to replace ozone-depleting substances that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol, many HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with a global warming potential up to 12,400 times that of CO2 over a 100-year period.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which entered into force in 2019, aims to phase down the consumption of HFCs by 2050. While previous agreements have resulted in improvements in the design and energy performance of, for instance, cooling equipment, the Kigali Amendment is the first to include maintaining and/or enhancing the energy efficiency of cooling technologies as an explicit goal. According to the

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