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.

A consultation tool written jointly by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was launched at the Town and Country Planning Association’s ‘Are we planning for the climate challenge’ event. The new tool lets communities take the lead in planning their own low-carbon future. It adopts CSE and CPRE’s new ‘Future Energy Landscapes’ approach that shows that putting local people at the centre of energy planning can result in ambitious vision and targets.

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On 30 November, the European Commission presented a package of measures to keep the European Union competitive as the clean energy transition is changing global energy markets. The Commission wants the EU to lead the clean energy transition, not only adapt to it. For this reason the EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU's economy and delivering on jobs and growth for all European citizens.

This publication from the European Environment Agency presents a synthetic overview of the progress achieved by the EU and its Member States in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of energy from renewable sources and reducing energy consumption, in view of their 2020 targets.

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Severe flooding has occurred in 13 of the 16 years since 2000, with the worst floods in the north of England in 2015 costing the economy over £5 billion. Spending an ever-increasing amount on hard flood defences is unlikely to be a viable long term strategy, particularly in the face of increasing risks associated with climate change. This new paper from Green Alliance makes three recommendations that would lead to a greater level of resilience for either the same or lower cost than current approaches.

Researchers have assessed how changes in production efficiency and dietary patterns can combine to ensure food supply whilst minimising the global environmental impact of food production. The gain in the production efficiency of agriculture was found to be insufficient to meet future food demand whilst preventing additional environmental burdens, if dietary trends continue to grow based on GDP.

Housing capacity on suitable brownfield land

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has analysed the Government’s brownfield registers pilot scheme. Employing a variety of conservative methodologies, CPRE now estimates that the available data translates to a minimum of 1.1 million homes on suitable brownfield sites across England. More ambitious methodologies put the figure much higher, towards 1.4 million. This suggests that the Government has previously severely underestimated brownfield capacity.

Sustainability and HM Treasury

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

This new report by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee argues that ministers cannot make well-informed decisions unless they have access to all relevant information  including  long-term  costs  and  benefits.  The  Treasury  needs  to  do  more, says the report,  to  factor  these  into  its  decision-making  processes,  so  that  decisions  are  subject  to  a  systematic ‘green-check’ and set out concrete steps on how it will incorporate new evidence on natural capital into its ‘Green Book’ appraisal process and its reporting and accounting mechanisms.

Using food waste as pig feed

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

This FCRN blog post by Karen Luyckz argues that instead of feeding virgin crops like soy, barley or maize to pigs and chickens, we should allow these omnivores to eat our leftovers, as they’ve done for thousands of years. In fact, in the UK, during both world wars leftover food was the only thing they could eat at all, as it was illegal to feed pigs any food that was deemed fit for human consumption.

Impact of Non-Energy Policies on Energy Systems

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

Energy systems are not only affected by energy policies, but by a wide range of other policies. Yet there has been little systematic analysis of this issue, and the knowledge that does exist is often not integrated across disciplines and sectors. The aims of this scoping paper are to i) produce a comprehensive review of existing research on the impact of non-energy policies on energy systems; and on the basis of this ii) propose a future research agenda.

Municipal waste management across European countries

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

Over the past two decades, European countries have increasingly shifted their focus with regard to municipal waste from disposal methods to prevention and recycling. Moving municipal waste management up the ‘waste hierarchy’ is essential to extract more value from resources while reducing the pressures on the environment and creating jobs.

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