Often there are areas on the outskirts of a country where emergency response is rudimentary, located far from major cities and where critical infrastructure is vulnerable to these types of events. This is first and foremost untenable/indefensible for the citizens; however, authorities with emergency management responsibility need new methods in order to support the communities in their own efforts to build capacity, since the fire and rescue services do not necessarily have the capacity to carry out search and rescue operations as they are expected to in the future. One of the many challenges, besides the violent and devastating events themselves, is that the areas can also be threatened with relocation if the locals are unable to cope with the rising threats of climate change – this is critical for the Nordic societies in general.
Fossil resources such as oil, gas, and coal are depleting, which implies that alternative technologies have to be developed to satisfy the demand of Nordic societies for fuels as well as for the thousands of products made out of oil, such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, and paints. In analogy to photosynthetic processes in nature, CO2 can be employed as an alternative carbon source in chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy-related industries to synthesize essential substances. CO2 is a sustainable and cheap raw material, but the development of chemical processes for efficient and selective conversion of CO2 to desired products is a major challenge.
Changing climate and degrading agricultural land are global challenges for agriculture and forest production. These pressing issues together with dwindling natural resources will increase the pressure on agri-food systems and forestry at the same time as we have to provide sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a growing world population. For example, warmer and wetter Nordic summers will require new, adapted plants for retained production and yield stability. Milder winters will allow new plant pathogens to migrate north leading to a changed plant pathogen pressure in the Nordic countries.
Linking the detailed information of the spatio-temporal distribution of air pollution levels and the chemical composition of the atmospheric particles with register data for mortality and morbidity, we have a unique opportunity in the Nordic countries to gain new understanding of the various health impacts from different kinds of air pollution from different kind of sources.
According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Each year approximately 10 000 people in the Nordic region die prematurely as a result of air pollution exposure, but the question of which pollutants are the most detrimental to health has yet to be resolved. Professor Jørgen Brandt and other participants in the NordForsk project NordicWelfAir are hunting for the answer.