A Science Perspective on the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

When I initially heard about the VW scandal, it was secondhand and I hadn’t read any of the news yet, I didn’t have any of the facts. But I remember thinking (and saying), I don’t know what the big deal is about, everyone knows those chassis dynamometer tests they use for estimating emissions don’t get...
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Choosing the Right Trees for Urban Greening

Many cities are currently creating more green spaces and planting trees. The growing momentum to increase the amount of green space in urban areas, seen, for example, in various ‘Million Tree’ campaigns, brings many benefits to urbanites. A reduction in summer temperatures, additional recreational opportunities, and storm-water control are among the motivations behind such programmes....
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You Are What You Breathe? Measuring Air Quality in Berlin

Berlin may not be the Netherlands, but there is definitely a fair amount of bicycling infrastructure throughout the city. And if you’re biking in Berlin you’re not alone on the road with only cars for company either. The debate about which cities are the best for biking aside, I enjoy biking, and this summer I...
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The Race against Climate Change – A Commentary on the Climate Conference in Lima

What progress was made at the Climate Conference in Lima? What further steps need to be taken on the way to Paris? Will we succeed in concluding a new climate agreement in a year’s time? How will this agreement be enforced? What about greenhouse gases and other pollutants besides CO2? And how exactly can the...
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How Dirty are the Glaciers of Central Asia?

To answer that question, it makes sense to travel there and take samples yourself. Together with colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, I spent the summers of 2013 and 2014 taking snow samples from four different glaciers in Kyrgyzstan. The Abramov Glacier is found in the northern...
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