Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

Sustainability of liquid biofuels

By Robert Lyons on 18th July 2017

A new report by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that the UK should focus on the use of waste for the production of biofuels rather than crops that might displace food production. The authors argue that ncentives should be given to farmers to increase production of fuel crops like Miscanthus on marginal land and note that even with the greater use of electric vehicles, biofuels will still be needed for aviation and heavy goods.

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The more variable nature of some forms of renewable energy can be balanced by using adequately flexibile measures, such as adaptable fuel generation sources, active demand response (a change in consumer power consumption to match the demand for power with the supply), better storage of power and interconnections; the big challenge is to develop a flexible power system with the adequate resources to ensure a cost-effective integration of renewables.

This report for Nature Climate Change is a quantitative assessment of the economic costs of the joint impacts of local and global climate change for all main cities around the world. Cost–benefit analyses are presented of urban heat island mitigation options, including green and cool roofs and cool pavements. It is shown that local actions can be a climate risk-reduction instrument.

The latest report from the CCC argues that two new plans covering emissions reductions and actions to prepare for climate change are needed to meet the UK’s climate change objectives. The plans to be developed by the new Government will be drawn up against a backdrop of changes that could help to deliver better policy. However, some of these changes also present risks to the delivery of those climate change plans.

Two-thirds of cities experiencing relative economic decline face above average flood disadvantage according to new research by Sayers and Partners for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report highlights how floods interact with social vulnerability across the UK to create flood disadvantage, an issue which will be exacerbated by climate change.

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This first set of annual reports give insight into the progress Scotland’s public sector is making towards meeting Scotland’s climate change targets. The reports also provide useful insight into how the Scottish public sector is responding to the challenge of climate change within each organisation, including how the sector is contributing to carbon emissions reduction, climate change adaptation, procurement policies and activity.

This study notes that under current carbon-emission rates, this temperature rise will occur around the middle of this century, with damaging effects on coastal businesses and ecosystems, while also triggering major human migration from low-lying areas. Global sea-level rise will not be uniform, and will differ for different points of the globe.

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Community resilience to climate change

By Robert Lyons on 27th March 2017

Disadvantaged groups need to be helped to cope with the cost pressures caused by climate change, according to a new report compiled by the University of Dundee for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report warns that shocks such as extreme weather events and stresses like changes in the cost of living will interact to generate hardships for local communities.

The authors of this paper compare the impact of intensification in the beef and dairy sectors via two pathways; either intensification within a system (eg, a mixed crop-livestock system) or through transitioning to another more productive system (from pasture to mixed crop-livestock production) and assesses the mitigation potential that could arise. The paper reviews the impacts of these forms of intensification on both GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change (LUC), the last of which has often been excluded in other similar analyses.  

The costs and impacts of intermittency – 2016 update

By Robert Lyons on 27th February 2017

This report updates a previous UKERC study, published in 2006, which reviews the evidence on integrating variable renewable sources such as wind and solar into power systems. The new report argues that the key challenge facing policymakers, regulators and markets is delivering a flexible, low carbon system that makes best use of variable renewables whilst minimising overall cost and enhancing security and reliability.

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