Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

Community resilience to climate change

By Robert Lyons on 27th March 2017

Disadvantaged groups need to be helped to cope with the cost pressures caused by climate change, according to a new report compiled by the University of Dundee for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report warns that shocks such as extreme weather events and stresses like changes in the cost of living will interact to generate hardships for local communities.

There has been limited study to date on the environmental impacts of crime prevention measures. This paper for Security Policy addresses this shortfall by estimating the carbon footprint associated with the most widely used burglary prevention measures: door locks, window locks, burglar alarms, lighting and CCTV cameras. Window locks are found to be the most effective and low-carbon measure available individually.

The authors of this paper compare the impact of intensification in the beef and dairy sectors via two pathways; either intensification within a system (eg, a mixed crop-livestock system) or through transitioning to another more productive system (from pasture to mixed crop-livestock production) and assesses the mitigation potential that could arise. The paper reviews the impacts of these forms of intensification on both GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change (LUC), the last of which has often been excluded in other similar analyses.  

Smart cities have been criticised for implementing technology in ways that do not pay sufficient attention to political or social issues. In response, a new paper by three members of the International Eco-Cities Initiative investigates the role of the public in smart city initiatives. The paper identifies four modes of publicness - ‘service user’, ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘political’ and ‘civic’ - and finds that the first two modes are dominant in the digital initiatives that are analysed.

This new report offers a clear account of global pesticide use in agriculture and its impact on human rights; the negative consequences that pesticide practices have had on human health, the environment and society, which are underreported and monitored in the shadow of a prevailing and narrow focus on “food security”, are described; and the environmental and human rights regimes are examined to determine whether the constituent rules are sufficient to protect farm workers, consumers and vulnerable groups, as well as the natural resources that are necessary to support sustainable

In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment. This new UN/WHO report summarises the impact of polluted environments on child health.

Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land

By Robert Lyons on 14th March 2017

This new CPRE pamphlet argues that the case for a national approach to land use is more pressing than ever by showing that England’s land is under an increasing multitude of pressures. The current, fragmentary approach to land use is failing to address the problems caused by often conflicting demands: environmental degradation, rising costs and harm to health and wellbeing.

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A study has evaluated three types of media campaign conducted by a large UK supermarket to encourage shoppers to reduce their food waste. These used social media, an e-newsletter and a print/digital magazine, respectively. Although they all appeared to lead to reductions in food waste to some extent, similar behavioural changes were also seen for customers who had not participated in any of the campaigns.

A new study published in the journal Environment International for the first time quantifies the global impact by combining data about air pollution in different countries with knowledge about how exposure to different levels of air pollution is associated with preterm birth rates.

The costs and impacts of intermittency – 2016 update

By Robert Lyons on 27th February 2017

This report updates a previous UKERC study, published in 2006, which reviews the evidence on integrating variable renewable sources such as wind and solar into power systems. The new report argues that the key challenge facing policymakers, regulators and markets is delivering a flexible, low carbon system that makes best use of variable renewables whilst minimising overall cost and enhancing security and reliability.

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