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.

PROFESSORSHIPS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, of which PSI is part, is currently advertising for two professorships that may be of interest to those working in sustainability research. We would be grateful if you could circulate these details to colleagues.

The Professor of Resilient Design will lead research and contribute to teaching in the area of architectural and environmental resilience, and low-carbon design. This appointment is a significant opportunity to expand the Department’s existing expertise in climate-change-led design, and to embed principles of sustainability in undergraduate and postgraduate architectural education – and its relationship to architectural practice and consultancy. The successful candidate will engage in UK and overseas grant applications and funded interdisciplinary research projects, and develop and maintain strong international connections through, and beyond, the Faculty’s climate change-led Latitudes network.

The Professor of Sustainable Urban Environments will focus, broadly, on issues related to sustainable urban development. A specific interest would be the notion of wellbeing in cities. The position assumes an international, comparative focus on sustainable urban environments. Issues of urban governance, planning and policy making are also essential.

The closing date for these two posts is 22 February 2016.

A third post, Professor of Policy Evaluation, will be advertised shortly.

NEW RESEARCH CENTRE ANNOUNCED

Policy Studies Institute is part of a new research hub, to be launched on 1 March, which will improve the effectiveness of evaluation of UK policies around energy, water, environment and food - the ‘nexus’ - and how they affect wider society. The focus of the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) will be to pioneer, test and promote evaluation approaches and methods across the energy, environment and food nexus where complexity presents a challenge to policy interventions, and so contribute to more effective policy-making.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

How Businesses Can Support a Circular Economy
Harvard Business Review, 1 February 2016
Since the industrial revolution, we have been able to get away with relying on natural resources to raise our standard of living. But as these resources become scarcer and more expensive, we need to find new ways to create a more sustainable environment.

European Construction Industry Federation Backs Circular Economy
Waste Management World, 29 January 2016
ECIF says building material manufacturers can play a vital role in the move to a circular economy, but has urged the EU Commission not to duplicate existing measures that already tackle construction products.

A Major Retailer Is Starting To Make Its Plastic Packaging From Air Pollution
Huffington Post, 29 January 2016
Behold the Body Shop’s latest effort to save the planet.

CLIMATE LOBBYING

How much does ExxonMobil spend on lobbying in Europe?
Open Democracy, 20 January 2016
The world’s richest oil company spent millions building its web of influence in Europe in 2014.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Intact nature offers best defence against climate change
EurekAlert, 28 January 2016
A new paper, published by Nature Climate Change, discusses how certain adaptation strategies may have a negative impact on nature which in turn will impact people in the long-term.

Paper: Impacts of Feeding Less Food-Competing Feedstuffs to Livestock on Global Food System Sustainability
FCRN Research Library, 2 February 2016
If animals were fed only from grassland and by-products from food production, this could provide plenty of food and reduce environmental impacts.

Nicola Sturgeon under pressure over climate change spending cuts
Holyrood, 28 January 2016
Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume claims climate change funding has been “hammered”.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT

Paris to launch electric moped hire scheme
Guardian, 3 February 2016
Anyone aged over 20 with a relevant licence will be able to hire an electric moped, in a move aimed at cutting down on noise and pollution.

EasyJet plans to cut carbon emissions with hydrogen fuel-cell trial
Guardian, 2 February 2016
The airline hopes to test technology later this year which would allow its planes to taxi to and from the runway using zero-emissions fuel

ENERGY

Tackle cold homes, ministers told
BBC News, 2 February 2016
Bringing the UK’s ageing homes into the 21st century should be a key infrastructure priority, ministers have been told.

Slash taxes by half, say North Sea companies
Telegraph, 19 January 2016
North Sea firms are suffering as the price of oil plunges and have asked the Government to reduce their taxes.

Clean energy growth too slow, warns UN
FT, 28 January 2016
The world is investing far less in low-carbon energy than it needs to achieve the international objectives for limiting global warming agreed at the Paris climate talks last month, the UN’s secretary-general has warned.