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We could still limit global warming to just 2˚C — but there’s an ‘if’ – Nature.com

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Listen to the latest from the world of science, with Benjamin Thompson, Nick Petrić Howe and Shamini Bundell.

In this episode:

00:46 What COP26 promises will do for climate

At COP26 countries made a host of promises and commitments to tackle global warming. Now, a new analysis suggests these pledges could limit warming to below 2˚C – if countries stick to them.

BBC News: Climate change: COP26 promises will hold warming under 2C

03:48 Efficiency boost for energy storage solution

Storing excess energy is a key obstacle preventing wider adoption of renewable power. One potential solution has been to store this energy as heat before converting it back into electricity, but to date this process has been inefficient. Last week, a team reported the development of a new type of ‘photothermovoltaic’ that increases the efficiency of converting stored heat back into electricity, potentially making the process economically viable.

Science: ‘Thermal batteries’ could efficiently store wind and solar power in a renewable grid

07:56 Leeches’ lunches help ecologists count wildlife

Blood ingested by leeches may be a way to track wildlife, suggests new research. Using DNA from the blood, researchers were able to detect 86 different species in China’s Ailaoshan Nature Reserve. Their results also suggest that biodiversity was highest in the high-altitude interior of the reserve, suggesting that human activity had pushed wildlife away from other areas.

ScienceNews: Leeches expose wildlife’s whereabouts and may aid conservation efforts

11:05 How communication evolved in underground cave fish

Research has revealed that Mexican tetra fish are very chatty, and capable of making six distinct sounds. They also showed that fish populations living in underground caves in north-eastern Mexico have distinct accents.

New Scientist: Blind Mexican cave fish are developing cave-specific accents

14:36 Declassified data hints at interstellar meteorite strike

In 2014 a meteorite hit the Earth’s atmosphere that may have come from far outside the solar system, making it the first interstellar object to be detected. However, as some of the data needed to confirm this was classified by the US Government, the study was never published. Now the United States Space Command have confirmed the researchers’ findings, although the work has yet to be peer reviewed.

LiveScience: An interstellar object exploded over Earth in 2014, declassified government data reveal

Vice: Secret Government Info Confirms First Known Interstellar Object on Earth, Scientists Say

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