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.

AIR POLLUTION
Fact-check: does air pollution cause 40,000 deaths every year?
Greenpeace Energydesk, 6 March 2017
The methodology used to estimate the health impact of air pollution is complex - and communicating the conclusions is far from easy, too.

ENERGY
Woody Biomass for Power and Heat: Impacts on the Global Climate
Chatham House, 23 February 2017
Current biomass policy frameworks are not fit for purpose and require substantial changes to ensure they contribute to mitigating climate change rather than exacerbating it.

Energy: Scanning the energy horizon
Nature, 2 March 2017
Dieter Helm’s Burn Out: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels provides a big, broad view on the energy revolution, even if it is frustratingly inconsistent at times.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
The challenge of energy-efficient transportation
MRS Energy & Sustainability, March 2017
A new paper argues that while hydrogen may have particular difficulties for use in transport generally, it may be well suited for use as a low-carbon fuel source for aircraft.

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.

Barcelona to ban old cars from roads to tackle air pollution
Guardian, 7 March 2017
Motorists will be prohibited from driving vehicles older than 20 years on weekdays from 2019 in effort to cut emissions.

England’s Cycling Potential
CEDAR Evidence Brief special, February 2017
Data produced for a Department for Transport funded tool highlights just how much more cycling people in England could do, given the right policies and investments.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Going Round in Circles: Developing a new approach to waste policy following Brexit
Policy Exchange, 3 March 2017
A new report notes both policy successes, like the reduced use of landfill, but also criticises the EU’s approach towards waste, claiming its shortcomings include ‘unclear objectives’, ‘badly designed’ targets and policies that ‘do not reflect the UK context’.

Plastic bottle and coffee cup waste inquiry launched
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 4 March 2017
The inquiry will look at what actions are being undertaken by industry and Government to reduce waste generated by coffee cups and plastic bottles, and investigate possible solutions.

CLIMATE CHANGE
Analysis: UK carbon emissions fell 6% in 2016 after record drop in coal use
Carbon Brief, 6 March 2017
The collapse of coal-powered electricity generation and improvements in energy efficiency leaves UK CO2 emissions some 36% below 1990 levels.

Communicating climate change: Focus on the framing, not just the facts
The Conversation, 6 March 2017
Social scientists have been increasingly studying the science of science communication, to better understand what does and does not work for discussing different scientific topics. It turns out the language you use and how you frame the discussion can make a big difference.