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.

PSI NEWS
PSI in Austria for European Minerals Policy Laboratory
PSI researchers Martha Bicket and Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson are in Leoben, Austria this week, taking part in the EU H2020 project MIN-GUIDE Policy Lab on Innovations and Supporting Policies for Mineral Exploration and Extraction. The event brings together industry, government and academics to share innovations and good practice in mining and mining policy.

One of the key focuses of the project is how the sector can further incorporate Circular Economy principles and meet its environmental protection responsibilities, in the face of growing demand for minerals. This is an interesting and lively debate in a sector keen to revamp its image amongst policy makers and the public, but which also often reports feeling constrained by policy at the national and European level.

Dynamic Pattern Synthesis (DPS) : A mixed method for exploring longitudinal patterns in social science data
CECAN seminar, 3 April 2017, London
Dynamic Pattern Synthesis (DPS) is a new mixed method designed by Professor Philip Haynes that seeks to maximise the advantages of Cluster Analysis and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to search for dynamic patterns in data. Professor Haynes will introduce this lunchtime seminar at BEIS.

CLIMATE CHANGE
Energy Prices and Bills Report 2017
Committee on Climate Change, 16 March 2017
The CCC’s fourth independent assessment of the impact of UK carbon budgets on household and business energy bills finds that average domestic dual-fuel bills are £105 higher per year due to climate policies but that bills are still markedly lower than in 2008 due to falling gas prices and energy efficiency measures.

US ‘forces G20 to drop any mention of climate change’ in joint statement
Independent, 6 March 2017
Financial officials from the world’s biggest economies have dropped from a joint statement any mention of financing action on climate change, reportedly following pressure from the US and Saudi Arabia.

‘Extreme and unusual’ climate trends continue after record 2016
BBC News, 21 March 2017
In the atmosphere, the seas and around the poles, climate change is reaching disturbing new levels across the Earth, according to a detailed analysis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Global carbon emissions level off even as economy grows
Scientific American, 20 March 2017
The stagnation, according to the International Energy Agency, is due to the growth of renewable energy, more switching from coal to natural gas, improved energy efficiency and additional nuclear facilities coming online.

British scientists face a ‘huge hit’ if the US cuts climate change research
Guardian, 14 March 2017
Academics fear Donald Trump’s environmental policy may put an end to key data from US agencies.

ENERGY
Burning wood for energy ignites fierce academic row
BBC News, 15 March 2017
Scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have become embroiled in a war of words over energy from trees following a recent Chatham House report claimed that burning wood for electricity is worse for the climate than using coal.

UN asks UK to suspend work on Hinkley Point
Guardian, 20 March 2017
A United Nations committee has asked the UK to suspend work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset because of the government’s failure to consult with European countries over the project.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
Biogas for Road Vehicles
IRENA, March 2017
A new briefing argues that switching to biogas as vehicle fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector between 60 per cent and 80 per cent compared to fossil-based fuels like gasoline and diesel. Other recent IRENA technology briefs include Biofuels for Aviation and Electric Vehicles.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
New £50m circular economy business plan unveiled by London
Circulate, 21 March 2017
The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has announced the approval of a new business plan, covering the period 2017-2020, which sets out £50m worth of investment in projects related to the circular economy.