Can algae save the world?

    Scientists are trying to turn tiny aquatic plants – algae – into a new sort of fuel… But why? The fuels we currently use are made from coal, oil and gas, which are releasing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The vast majority of climate scientists are convinced that people are causing the climate to change as a result of this.

    Find out more about climate change - the basics.

    Climate change will affect us all – and it’s already started. It isn’t just about the planet getting warmer. As well as causing extreme weather – such as floods, droughts and storms – climate change will force people out of their homes, increase disease and have massive economic effects.

    We can’t stop climate change overnight. In the UK and around the world, people will need to make changes to adapt to the new climate, like strengthening flood defences and breeding drought-resistant crops.

    To crack climate change, we’ll need politicians and industry to act. But every single person can do something to help slow climate change and become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    Changing our behaviour is one way of helping to tackle climate change, but science has a part to play too. Most technologies aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions – but a few scientists also have visions of keeping the Earth cool by blocking out sunlight.

    So which technologies will work best? There are so many options, it’s hard to know which technologies to take seriously. But for every new technology, you can make sense of the arguments using three questions…

    • Can the technology really slow down climate change?
    • Does the technology work in practice?
    • Will the technology do more harm than good?

    To show you how it’s done, we’ve applied our three questions to current biofuels, and then to a possible future biofuel…