Cars and climate

The car industry has been boosted by scrappage schemes which defied the doubters by proving successful, but if the recession really is coming to an end, this is where we’ll start to see the evidence.

We’re back into automotive results time this week, with Ford among the companies releasing their third-quarter figures. The car industry has been boosted by scrappage schemes which defied the doubters by proving successful, but if the recession really is coming to an end, this is where we’ll start to see the evidence.

Meanwhile, the talks preceding next month’s Copenhagen climate talks are reaching their critical point. This week sees the final round of negotiations before the summit itself, with representatives from many governments meeting in Barcelona.

Information on the climate is a vital component of these talks, and a mission to measure concentrations of moisture in soil and salt in the oceans lifts off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia this week. The European Space Agency’s SMOS probe is intended to further our understanding of how climate change influences evaporation cycles and the circulation of water in the seas, both important factors in climate and weather.

We’ll be seeing pictures from another planet as well, where the climate is always hot. NASA is to release new colour images of the surface of Mercury from the third and final flypast of the MESSENGER probe, including pictures of parts of the planet never before surveyed.

Stuart Nathan
Special Reports Editor