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.

On 9th May 2013, the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since measurements began in 1958. As reported on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website (, the rate of increase has accelerated since the measurements started, from about 0.7 ppm per year in the late 1950s to 2.1 ppm per year during the last 10 years.

This article published in The Environmental Forum, the policy journal of the Environmental Law Institute, compares and contrasts the actions of two important countries that have an historic ‘special relationship’—the United States and the United Kingdom. Suggestions as to what these two counties can teach each other about climate change and sustainable development at the national level are provided in the article.

The Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring (RAC Foundation) and UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) have just published a report by Ricardo-AEA on the future of low-carbon cars and fuels. The report describes how industry consensus and market projections suggest that there will not be a single, dominant technology or fuel going forward in the way that there has been over the last century (i.e. with the monopoly of the internal-combustion engine). Instead, there will be a range of solutions for different transport applications.

This new book by Arjen Hoekstra explains how the concept of a ‘water footprint’ can be used to quantify and map the water use behind consumption and guide reduction of water use to a sustainable level. A number of case studies are included in the book that illustrate water use along supply chains, and how water consumption at one place is often linked to water use at another. For example, it is calculated that it takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of beef, or 8,000 litres of water to produce a pair of jeans.

IEA report- ‘Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013’

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

This is the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) third comprehensive tracking of progress in clean energy technology which aims to serve as a reality check for policy-makers. The review examines the latest developments in key clean energy technologies and asks questions such as: To what extent are clean energy technologies being used? What is being done to foster necessary markets? How are individual technologies performing and developing?

Carbon Tracker, a non-profit organisation working to align the capital markets with the climate change policy agenda, has teamed up with the Grantham Research Institute to produce this new report. ‘Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets’ builds upon findings of a previous report that showed that based on current understanding of an allowable carbon budget, to keep below two degrees of global warming, there is more fossil fuel listed on the world’s capital markets than can be burned.

The European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) has released its latest Quarterly Report on the future of the European Union Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) in light of the Rio+20 outcomes. The report is divided into five main chapters. The first chapter presents the Rio+20 process and its implementation at the EU level. The second chapter offers a comparative analysis of the Rio+20 outcome document and EU policy strategies, whilst the third chapter gives a description of those objectives included in the EU SDS of 2006 that have not been achieved yet.

Video- Terrace house solid wall insulation project

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

Is it viable to fit external solid wall insulation to a row of terraced houses? This video documents the experience of a Bristol community group who embarked on a mass solid wall insulation project for a whole terrace of houses at once. The film was made for PlanLoCaL by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. More...

UKERC Research Atlas

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

The UK Energy Research Centre has created a Research Atlas to assist policy-makers and researchers to review the current status of UK Energy Research and Development, and identify key research challenges. The Research Atlas team based at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has been commissioning updates to the landscapes and has recently announced the publication of two updated landscapes- Wind Energy and Solar Energy.

EAC launches inquiry on Well-being

By Bridget Elliott on 15th May 2013

Following on from their recent report on Sustainable Development Indicators, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has launched a further inquiry on the ‘Measuring Well-being’ initiative being run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In November, the ONS published an analysis of its well-being survey data, comparing people’s well-being according to gender, age, ethnic group, relationship status, health, disability, employment status and occupation, as well as by nation, region and local authority.