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Scientists fear impact of deep-sea mining on search for new medicines

Bacteria from the ocean floor can beat superbugs and cancer. But habitats are at risk from the hunger for marine minerals

When Prof Mat Upton discovered a microbe from a deep-sea sponge was killing pathogenic bugs in his laboratory, he realised it could be a breakthrough in thefight against antibiotic resistant superbugs, which are responsible for thousands of deaths a year in the UK alone.

Further tests last year confirmed that an antibiotic from the sponge bacteria, found living more than 700 metres under the sea at the Rockall trough in the north-east Atlantic, was previously unknown to science, boosting its potential as a life-saving medicine.

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Farhana Yamin: ‘It took 20 minutes to unglue me from Shell’s office. It was a bit painful’

The climate crisis lawyer talks about the Extinction Rebellion protests and why the government must take action on the environment

Farhana Yamin is an environmental lawyer who, over the past three decades, has worked on a number of international treaties, including the Paris climate agreement. She has represented small island nations threatened by the effects of global heating and recently took part in the Extinction Rebellion protests.

How did you become politically interested in the environment?
When I was about 20, 22 and qualifying as a lawyer. It was just before the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. I was already working for the small island states in the climate negotiations. And the climate change convention was adopted and the biodiversity convention was adopted. So all of these agreements were supposed to have sorted out the problem. It was a time when I was very optimistic about what law could do.

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130,000 trees to be planted in English cities and towns
As part of efforts to tackle global heating, grants will be available for planting and three years’ care

More than 130,000 trees are to be planted in English towns and cities over the next two years as part of the nation’s battle against global heating.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will announce on Sunday that grants for the plantings will be made available through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

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‘This is a wake-up call’: the villagers who could be Britain’s first climate refugees

As sea levels rise, Fairbourne, sandwiched between mountains and the beach, is being returned to the waves. But where will its residents go?

It is an almost perfect spring day. The sky is milky blue and there is barely a ripple on the mirror-flat expanse of Barmouth Bay. The sunshine is warm and the mountains are beginning to turn from slate-grey to luscious green. Bev Wilkins, a former businesswoman, launches a ball down the beach for her beloved German shepherd rescue dog, Lottie. In a blur of legs and black fur, the dog dashes into the frothy surf. “It is a lovely spot when the sun comes out,” she says, welcoming her dripping pet back with an affectionate rub. “Horrible when it rains.”

Related: Tell us if your home is at risk from flooding or coastal erosion

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The heat is on over the climate crisis. Only radical measures will work

Experts agree that global heating of 4C by 2100 is a real possibility. The effects of such a rise will be extreme and require a drastic shift in the way we live

Drowned cities; stagnant seas; intolerable heatwaves; entire nations uninhabitable… and more than 11 billion humans. A four-degree-warmer world is the stuff of nightmares and yet that’s where we’re heading in just decades.

While governments mull various carbon targets aimed at keeping human-induced global heating within safe levels – including new ambitions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – it’s worth looking ahead pragmatically at what happens if we fail. After all, many scientists think it’s highly unlikely that we will stay below 2C (above pre-industrial levels) by the end of the century, let alone 1.5C. Most countries are not making anywhere near enough progress to meet these internationally agreed targets.

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