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.

Greening the grid

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

This extended article, now available on the ESRC website notes that while a future where renewable energy prevails is a dream for many, today the UK is still heavily reliant on older power generation technology such as coal, gas and nuclear. What steps are necessary to make the renewable energy future a reality?

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Environmental tipping points and food system dynamics

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

The Global Food Security (GFS) programme has published a new report providing evidence for the existence of environmental tipping points and exploring potential consequences for global food security.

Key points include:

Household food waste in the UK, 2015

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

This WRAP report provides estimates for total and avoidable household food waste (HHFW) for 2014 and 2015, for the UK. The changes compared to 2012 and previous estimates are discussed in the context of factors influencing food waste and the Courtauld Commitment 3 target for household food waste prevention. Key points are that the estimated amount of HHFW in the UK for 2015 was 7.3 million tonnes, and that overall there has been no statistically significant change in the estimated levels of HHFW between 2012 and 2015.

Recycling reset: how England can stop subsidising waste

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

The latest report from the Circular Economy Task Force recommends four positive steps to solve the problem:

  • standardised recycling collections;
  • waste-generating companies to contribute to council costs;
  • responsible companies should pay lower producer responsibility fees;
  • enable councils to charge those households which don’t recycle properly.

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New research published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows the huge potential of the Green Belt in terms of amenity and nature conservation.

CPRE is calling on the Government to prioritise investment in Green Belts in the forthcoming 25-year plan for the environment and make sure Green Belt protection is enforced.

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A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee suggests that protections for wildlife and habitats could be weaker after the UK leaves the EU if the Government doesn’t take action before, or in the early stages of the Article 50 process. The MPs looked at the legislative, trade, and financial issues and make recommendations for action to secure the future of the natural environment. They call on the Government to allow full parliamentary scrutiny of its plans for the future of environmental legislation after Brexit.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia, the University of Exeter and the James Hutton Institute have identified a set of key ‘sticking points’ that they believe inhibit consideration of the natural environment in decision-making. The briefing provides potential solutions. These include the creation of knowledge networks and the use of political ‘windows of opportunity’ such as flood incidents to get messages across. The briefing uses findings from the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, as well as more recent research undertaken by the organisations involved. 

Shaping the Paris Mechanisms

By Robert Lyons on 3rd January 2017

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement established three approaches for countries to cooperate with each other: cooperative approaches, a new mechanism to promote mitigation and sustainable development ('sustainable development mechanism'), and a framework for non-market approaches.

Arctic Resilience Report

By Robert Lyons on 3rd January 2017

This report is the concluding scientific product of the Arctic Resilience Assessment, a project launched by the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

The Speird Project

By Robert Lyons on 14th December 2016

The Scottish Government’s statistics now show that rural households spend more on energy to heat their homes than urban equivalents. However, research conducted by the project team using data from households in Renfrewshire has found this ‘energy spend gap’ is more significant than those statistics suggest, whilst other research has shown that influences on the energy spend of rural households are also highly multi-facted.

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