Our research is on global change.
We study the impact of human activities on the natural environment.
The approach we adopt is highly interdisciplinary, combining tools from envirionmental chemistry, remote sensing, wildlife observation, and citizen science. We bridge the natural and social sciences to study the Earth System from an integrated perspective.
To achieve this, we have 2 complementary strategies:
We target different spatial and temporal scales to have access to areas and time periods with different levels of anthropogenic impacts (e.g. remote areas, past climate changes).
Tropical climates are changing rapidly in the most populated regions of the planet. The changes largely arise from alterations in the Hadley circulation driven by natural and anthropogenic factors, ...
Up to 11% of worlds rainforests overlap with conventional oil and natural gas reserves. In this context, the occurrence of petroleum-extraction activities in the Amazon and their impact on the environment and those indigenous populations living in the vicinity of these areas has generated a great deal of controversy. A major cause for concern has been the reported high levels of oil-related lead in the blood of members of remote indigenous communities. On a different vein, the use of lead-based ammunition, which in 2003 had a global consumption of 120,000 tons, is a very important source of direct lead release to soil at the global level. This study aims at providing new insights into lead (and other heavy metals) pollution in remote areas of the planet, and at establishing their potential sources.
While the Green Deal and the Paris Agreement envision a transition away from fossil fuels, their extraction and the consequent carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to intensify, posing serious challenge towards the achievement of the climate policy targets of global mean temperature to remain below to 1.5°C. A decade ago, the climate change community started to focus its attention on the way to calculate the allowable total amount of carbon emissions that should not be exceeded in order to limit average global warming to a desired temperature limit, a concept known as the remaining carbon budget. In fact, the CO2 emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves (2,900 gigatons of CO2 or GtCO2) largely exceed the carbon budget for a 1.5°C limit (440 GtCO2), showing that an actual commitment to limit global warming and tackle the climate challenge should lead to large proportions of fossil fuel reserves remaining unexploited. This prompted the discussion on unburnable fuels (or unextractable) internationally and a recent surge in scholarly discussions and socio-political interest on supply-side fossil fuel policies to limit fossil fuel production. There have been a number of prominent attempts that sought to translate ambitious but hitherto isolated proposals to set aside specific unburnable fossil fuel deposits, but the selection of the fossil fuel resources that need to stay under the ground is a crucial, required and pending step to enact, scaled-up and globally adopted supply-side climate policies in a coordinated manner for reaching the climate policy targets. UNBURNED project will fill this gap by examining how to identify and prioritize at the global level those fossil fuel reserves that should remain unburned so to maximize socio-environmental collateral benefits of climate mitigation policies, while compensating over economical collateral effects. By rigorously studying the geo-spatial socioenvironmental, economic and equity criteria for identifying and prioritizing fossil fuel reserves that need to be left untapped globally, UNBURNED will address the urgent need for interdisciplinary research to understand how the climate change policy targets can be concretely met, contributing to a rapid, economically effective and equitable phase-out of fossil fuel production, while delivering important socio-environmental benefits. Such imperative research will be further exploited to create a flexible and interactive online platform (the atlas of unburnable fuels) to provide a simple guideline for energy corporations and governments on coordinated divestment strategies and future investment to minimize the risks of stranded assets.