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
Co-creating Cities and Communities
PSI’s Kevin Burchell attended the recent Co-creating Cities and Communities workshop at Watershed in Bristol, which was ‘dedicated to finding new ways in which universities, civil society organisations, local authorities and communities can work together to co-create, reinvent and improve life in the city and its surroundings’. The event was a great success and Kevin was able to bring learning from his own work on smart communities, urban heat and public engagement by researchers to the discussions.

An introduction to agent-based modelling
PSI’s Pete Barbrook-Johnson recently taught a session on agent-based modelling (ABM) as part of an ESRC summer school on data analytics at the University of Essex. Pete’s focus was using ABM as a policy-analysis tool, building simulations of social and policy processes in order to better understand these processes. Pete will teaching a similar course on Wednesday 2 August.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
Britain to ban sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040
Guardian, 26 July 2017
Government’s air quality plan will also include measures to be urgently brought in by local authorities, include retrofitting buses and other public transport, changing road layouts and altering features such as roundabouts and speed humps.

See also: Air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in UK (2017), Defra

New report: Massive collusion amongst German automakers
Deutsche Welle, 21 July 2017
Der Spiegel has claimed that manufacturers have been meeting since the 1990s to set collective lower-than-regulated quality standards.

Peak car? Driverless technology may actually accelerate car ownership
Guardian, 18 July 2017
Without careful planning, autonomous vehicles could create more problems for our transport system than they solve.

POLITICS
The Unfrozen Moment - Delivering A Green Brexit
Defra, 21 July 2017
The full text of the speech by the secretary of state, Michael Gove, in which he sets out his vision on the future of our natural environment.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Fairphone 1 never had a fair fight: Sustainability and smartphones just don’t mix
Alphr, 25 July 2017
Without the support of larger manufacturers, the aim of producing a longer-lasting smartphone may have come to an end.

FOOD
North Sea cod can be eaten with ‘clear conscience’
BBC News, 19 July 2017
Having recovered from a record low in 2006 thanks to conservation measures, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has now announced that cod caught by Scottish and English boats is ‘sustainable and fully traceable’.

CLIMATE CHANGE
The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions
Environmental Research Letters, 12 July 2017
This paper identifies and quantifies four widely applicable high-impact (low emissions) actions with the potential to substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding air travel and eating a plant-based diet.

ENERGY
Drop in wind energy costs adds pressure for government rethink
Guardian, 23 July 2017
Government urged to look at onshore windfarms which can be built as cheaply as gas plants and deliver the same power for half the cost of Hinkley Point, says Arup.

UK’s most energy-intensive companies to get £130m exemption from climate change fund
Independent, 20 July 2017
Some of the biggest polluters will pay less, so ordinary customers will end up making up the difference, say campaigners