PSI sustainability news round-up

Our fortnightly primer on the latest environment and sustainability news. If you would like to receive this newsletter via email, sign up to our mailing list here.

Honorary doctorate for PSI’s Mayer Hillman
Mayer, senior fellow emeritus at PSI, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Westminster. Having joined PSI in 1971, Mayer has made a major contribution to research and public discourse on issues around transport, childhood independence and climate change.

JRF Climate Change: farewell and thank you!
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Climate Change programme has provided vital support for research into climate change and social justice in recent years, including for PSI research projects like Urban Heat. As Dr Kevin Burchell reports, although the JRF programme is ending, there is still plenty of appetite for further research in this area.

Dynamic Pattern Synthesis (DPS) : A one-day methods summer school
18 September 2017, Brighton
The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN), a research consortium that includes PSI, is offering the chance to learn the basics of a new mixed method called DPS, that uses both Cluster Analysis and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to identify dynamic patterns in longitudinal small sample data. For example, for comparing patterns over time in the paths taken by countries, regions or organisations. The method also has some potential to examine small samples of individuals. A limited number of bursaries are available - applications close shortly.

Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion
WRAP, 11 July 2017
This new report finds that signatories of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) have outperformed the rest of industry – reducing carbon, water, and waste. The amount of clothing in household residual waste has reduced by 50,000 tonnes and 700,000 tonnes CO2e have been saved through people changing their clothing care habits. Switching to sustainable fibres offers the biggest opportunities for environmental savings.

The troubling fire record of UK recycling plants
Guardian, 6 July 2017
There are more than 300 fires a year at UK waste and recycling plants. New guidance hopes to reduce this statistic.

Californians are recycling bottles less and less. Here’s what’s going on
Los Angeles Times, 4 July 2017
The values of plastic, glass and aluminum have decreased, prompting many recycling centres to close in the past two years and putting pressure on the remaining centres, which are struggling to meet the demand with little funds.

Rooftop solar dims under pressure from utility lobbyists
New York Times, 8 July 2017
Over the past six years, rooftop solar panel installations have seen explosive growth in the US - as much as 900 per cent by one estimate. But growth has stalled, in part thanks to a concerted and well-funded lobbying campaign by traditional utilities to reverse incentives for homeowners to install solar panels.

No, New York Mag: Climate change won’t make the Earth uninhabitable by 2100
Mashable, 11 July 2017
The science of climate change can be scary, but it shouldn’t be paralysing, and it certainly doesn’t justify worrying about whether humans will even be able to survive on this planet by the end of this century.

The G20 – on climate change, better than we feared but short of what we need
IIED, 10 July 2017
Efforts in Hamburg to rally 19 countries to the Paris Agreement were successful, but deeper ambition feels further away.

How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous
Guardian, 7 July 2017
Doubts about the science are being replaced by doubts about the motives of scientists and their political supporters. Once this kind of cynicism takes hold, is there any hope for the truth?

New coal power plants may block Japan’s carbon emissions goal: minister
Reuters, 29 June 2017
Japan may not achieve its carbon emissions target if an ambitious plan to build more coal-fired power plants pushes ahead, its environment minister said, underlining Tokyo’s struggle to meet globally agreed goals to halt climate change.

Hinkley Point: EDF adds £1.5bn to nuclear plant cost
BBC News, 3 July 2017
French energy supplier EDF has estimated that the cost of completing the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant will be nearly 10% more than expected.