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.

CECAN Knowledge Integrator vacancy
The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) has been funded by BEIS, DEFRA, the Environment Agency, ESRC, the Food Standards Agency and NERC with the aim of transforming the evaluation of policy across the energy-environment-food nexus to make it fit for a complex world. The Centre is working closely with these and other agencies and with evaluation practitioners to develop, implement and test new methods, tools and techniques for policy evaluation.

In order to establish and maintain close relations between the Centre and its stakeholders, we are seeking a ‘Knowledge Integrator’. It would suit someone who has a background in the social sciences, experience of working in government social research, excellent communication skills and the ability to provide an effective bridge between the Centre’s researchers, evaluation practitioners and policy users.

PSI researchers in South Africa for informal settlements project fieldwork
Dr Isis Nunez Ferrera and Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson arrived in Durban, South Africa this week, to start a two-week fieldtrip for the ISULabaNtu project on informal settlement upgrading. ISULabaNtu seeks to support communities by strengthening their capacity to guide urban development themselves. The team will undertake research, capacity building and community mapping, in collaboration with residents, to feed into the creation of an integrated environmental and construction management toolkit. The project will also explore how findings can be applied elsewhere.

ENERGY
Almost 90% of new power in Europe from renewable sources in 2016
Guardian, 9 February 2017
Wind energy overtakes coal as the EU’s second largest form of power capacity but concerns remain over politicians’ enthusiasm for renewables.

Government must act urgently on power system flexibility to avoid costs escalating
UKERC, 21 February 2017
A new report argues that in order to add more low-carbon renewable energy to the UK grid at relatively modest cost, the government must ensure maximum flexibility in the system as a whole.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT

London to introduce £10 vehicle pollution charge, says Sadiq Khan
Guardian, 17 February 2017
Mayor says owners of more polluting cars will have to pay extra levy from October to drive within congestion charge zone.

Government must launch diesel scrappage scheme and devolve it to local areas
Huffington Post, 16 February 2017
As the UK receives a ‘final warning’ from the EU about air pollution, IPPR’s Harry Quilter-Pinner argues we need to phase out diesel vehicles rapidly.

FOOD
The supermarket food gamble may be up
Guardian, 20 February 2017
Brexit, migration and climate pressures mean our ‘too big to fail’ global food chain could unravel, argues Felicity Lawrence.

Young shoppers drive organic food sales to a ten-year high
Telegraph, 20 February 2017
Sales in organic products have increased by seven per cent in the past year, compared to a 12.5 per cent drop in 2008, and Tesco has recorded 15 per cent growth for 2016.

CLIMATE CHANGE
It’s more than just climate change
Science Daily, 17 February 2017
A new study on environmental modeling shows climate change is only one of many inter-related threats to natural systems that support human societies.

Mixing ambition with risk: climate and energy policymaking in Scotland
UKERC, 16 February 2017
The Scottish Government recently published a new Climate Change Plan and Energy Strategy in draft form. Mark Winskel of the University of Edinburgh examines the detail.