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.

Happy Planet Index 2016

By Editor on 27th July 2016

For the fourth time, the New Economics Foundation has ranked countries all over the world based on how efficiently their residents are able to live long, happy lives using environmental resources.  The overall results challenge the conventional wisdom that the wealthiest economies are the most successful, highlighting success stories in Latin America and Asia Pacific – where residents are enjoying relatively high and equally distributed life expectancy and wellbeing, whilst leaving a smaller ecological footprint than other more advanced economies. 

A new paper by Caroline Wilson and Melissa Marselle, published in Energy Research & Social Science, examines the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) as a possible aid to developing behaviour change to reduce energy consumption.  The researchers mapped components of behaviour change programmes, as identified in four EU guidance documents, onto the BCW.  Most components were readily coded to the BCW framework, with energy price being the only main component under-represented.  Based on this work, they believe that the BCW offers a useful aid for the systematic design and development aro

A new report by Harry Quilter-Pinner and Laurie Laybourn-Langton for IPPR highlights the impact of air pollution on public health in the UK, and London in particular, where the mortality impact of nitrogen dioxide and particulates in 2010 was estimated to be equivalent to up to 9,400 premature deaths.  Air pollution is therefore the second most significant factor impacting on public health in London, after smoking.  The report finds that London is breaking legal and WHO limits for particulate matter; most air pollution in London is caused by road transport, of which diesel vehicles are the

European Perceptions of Climate Change

By Editor on 13th July 2016

The European Perceptions of Climate Change (EPCC) is a two-year project coordinated by Cardiff University, with Climate Outreach and teams from France, Norway and Germany, with the central aim of designing and conducting the first ever theoretically grounded cross-national survey of public perceptions of climate change and energy transition in Europe.  This discussion paper provides a detailed overview of the socio-political context in each of the four participating nations, divided into five sub-sections:

A new report by the Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, examines how automation and smart connectivity in road vehicles might be combined and integrated into the mobility system to have the most positive impact on energy efficiency and carbon reduction.  It suggests that the impacts of automation on energy demand and carbon emissions are highly uncertain but that the combination of connectivity, automation plus shared ownership has the potential to lead to a substantial reduction

The European Environment Agency has published a report stressing the benefits of investing in long-term preventative measures that cities should take to improve their resilience to climate change events, such as more extreme flooding or prolonged heatwaves.  It gives an overview of progress made by in adaptation by cities in the last couple of years and poses the questions: Is what cities are already doing leading to attractive and climate-resilient cities?  If not yet, what needs to change? 

This study by researchers at Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, looked beyond the immediate benefit of beach cleaning on the local environment and examined the well-being, educational value and behavioural intentions of participants, compared with other coastal activities such as rock pooling or walking.  It found that the environment was perceived as less restorative when engaging in a beach clean but that the activity was more meaningful than the others. 

A major review, Taking the Temperature: A Review of Energy Efficiency and Fuel Poverty Schemes in Scotland, conducted for Citizens Advice Scotland by CAG Consultants, Glasgow Caledonian University, and National Energy Action, has called for independent monitoring and evaluation to be built into all future energy efficiency and fuel poverty schemes.

The Adaptation Sub-Committee of the UK Committee on Climate Change has produced an Evidence Report on the risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change, to inform the second (five-yearly) Climate Change Risk Assessment, to be presented to Parliament in 2017.

The report highlights the top six areas of inter-related climate change risks for the UK:

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and Lancaster University, in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, used interviews with built environment professionals, together with a critical assessment of sustainability assessment methods, to explore whether sustainability measures constrain creativity and innovation in urban design. 

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