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
Developing the role of community groups in local climate resilience
The Urban Heat project examined the potential role of the local voluntary and community sector (VCS) in the development of local climate resilience. The final report has now been published, offering a snapshot of current policy and practice at national, regional and local levels, and providing a compelling, evidence-based analysis of the untapped potential of the VCS in this area.

Non-Equilibrium Social Science and Policy
Summarising themes from a new book chapter, Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson argues that to allow social science a proper footing for the twenty-first century, researchers need to put the disequilibrium and complexity of socioeconomic systems centre stage.

Public engagement by researchers a ‘work in progress’
A new paper by Kevin Burchell, Chloe Sheppard and Jenni Chambers provides a snapshot of the UK public engagement landscape and suggests that ambitions to embed public engagement by researchers within institutional cultures will require longer-term effort to be realised.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
First year verdict: how much progress has the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan made?
Green Alliance, 26 January 2017
Useful blog post argues that while progress has been made in some areas, there is still much to do to implement the vision of a circular economy in Europe.

European Commission warns incineration could hamper circular economy
Resource, 26 January 2017
The Commission has called on member states to consider more carefully the waste hierarchy when looking at increasing incineration capacity and has suggested the phasing out of support for mixed waste incineration.

CLIMATE CHANGE
A climate change economist sounds the alarm
Bloomberg, 31 January 2017
Some people who study climate change believe that addressing it later, when economic growth has made humanity wealthier, would be better than taking drastic measures now. Now, though, one of this group’s most influential members, Professor William Nordhaus, appears to have changed his mind.

Trump ‘will definitely pull out of Paris climate change deal’
Independent, 30 January 2017
Warning comes from the former head of the US President’s transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency.

ENERGY
Energy customers locked into a costly scheme who have no right to switch
Observer, 5 February 2017
District Heating is heralded as the way to a greener future. But, Anna Tims reports, it’s been rolled out without any regulation.

UK ranked 24th out of 28 EU member states for renewable energy
Independent, 2 February 2017
More than 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity now comes from renewable energy, but the country has struggled to make an impact on the greenhouse gases produced by cars and other vehicles and also to heat people’s homes.

Expect the Unexpected: The Disruptive Power of Low-carbon Technology
Carbon Tracker Initiative and Grantham Institute, February 2017
Falling costs of electric vehicle and solar technology could halt growth in global demand for oil and coal from 2020, challenging the wisdom of backing fossil fuel expansion.