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Reports and Policy briefs

This page displays the latest reports and policy briefs published by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources or organisations we are partnered with.

Energy Policy in Great Britain: Researchers from UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources and Energy Institute respond to government’s policy priorities

In August 2023 researchers from UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources and Energy Institute presented our view on the proposed Strategy and Policy Statement for energy policy in Great Britain. In general, we felt the document covered the right headline strategic priorities, but there were some significant absences in the detail.

Our future energy technology mix: UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and Energy Institute researchers respond to inquiry with focus on non-technology approaches for a green transition

In August 2023, researchers from UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources and Energy Institute jointly responded to an inquiry from the new Energy Security and Net Zero Committee in the House of Commons. In our evidence we highlight the inquiry’s apparent prioritisation of ‘new’ generation technology, rather than tried and true solutions and non-technology approached such as energy demand reduction. 

Reinvigorating our approach to international development: UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources respond to FCDO call for evidence

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) put out a call for evidence in July 2023 on the UK’s approach to global development. Our response highlighted the importance of stability and trust for developing partnerships and incorporating local knowledge and expertise, which will be essential for meeting Sustainable Development Goals. The governments response has now been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-unveils-white-paper-to-set-approach-to-global-development

The Role of Natural Capital in the Green Economy

Researchers from UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and across UCL respond to inquiry on natural capital, building on recent research which assessed existing financial schemes such as biodiversity offsets. The inquiry touched on how to align investments with environmental benefits, and the problem of ‘greenwashing’.

Energy security: a sustainable strategy for the UK - a policy briefing by Jim Watson and Kathy Page of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

In the briefing, Jim Watson and Kathy Page discuss the background of the current energy crisis, and outline in clear terms what ‘energy security’ actually means. They assess whether current UK energy policies are fit for purpose, providing a timely reminder that we are heading into what is likely to be another difficult winter. Crucially, the briefing sets out five key recommendations of what should be included in an improved energy security strategy, including: action to reduce energy demand; a social tariff, rapid deployment of non-fossil energy sources at scale, a strategy to manage the decline of UK oil and gas, and monitoring and managing the full range of energy security risks - this includes the risks associated with the legacy fossil fuel energy system, and emerging risks associated with critical materials, digitalisation and interconnection.

UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources researchers give their response to the UK government's Biomass strategy

In August 2023 the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero published their biomass strategy. The UK government says biomass has a ‘major role to play’ in building a truly green economy - biomass can be used as fuel for transport, heat and electricity generation, as well as being the starting material for decarbonising other important sectors, such as chemicals. The UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources has given its analysis and advice on the use of biomass in achieving net zero.

Preparing for the winter: UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources researchers respond to inquiry with call for a social tariff on energy bills

In August 2023, researchers from the energy markets team at the Institute for Sustainable Resources responded to an inquiry from the new Energy Security and Net Zero Committee in the House of Commons. In our evidence we call for better protections for vulnerable consumers from inflated energy prices, including implementing a social tariff, and explain how a rehaul of the energy market could benefit both consumers and net zero. Learn more about the response: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/7829/preparing-for-the-winter/publications/written-evidence/

Addressing carbon leakage risk to support decarbonisation: Response from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources to the UK Government Consultation

In June 2023, ISR researchers responded to a government consultation from the Treasury and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. The consultation covers a range of potential policy measures to mitigate future carbon leakage risk, and support decarbonisation, including a carbon border adjustment mechanism and mandatory product standards. Here ISR researchers on embodied environmental impacts, life cycle assessment and energy policy have contributed their expertise.

Zambia's Green Growth Strategy: researchers from ISR, the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research and the University of Ghana publish their final report, 'Greening the Recovery in Zambia'

The report is a key outcome from a two-year research collaborative research project funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The project team consisted of researchers and experts from UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL Energy Institute and the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), led by Professor Jim Watson. The UCL team have collaborated throughout the project with teams from the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research and the University of Ghana. The funder is UKRI via the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Environmental Change and Food Security: ISR and CBER researchers respond with new evidence of biodiversity impacts

In December 2022 researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Resources and the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research jointly responded to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry on Environmental change and food security. Our evidence centred around some new research looking at the UK’s consumption-based biodiversity footprint, and revealed which of the products we import and consume are most vulnerable to changes in biodiversity driven by climate change. 

The future UK-EU relationship on environment and climate change matters

In October 2022 ISR researchers responded to an inquiry from the House of Lords European Affairs Committee on The future UK-EU relationship. In particular our evidence focussed on the ‘Environment and climate change’ section, looking at alignment between the UK and EU on regulation, energy security, and other areas of environmental policy. 

Net Zero and economic growth in the UK: Response from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources to the UK Government call for evidence

In September 2022 the BEIS Secretary of State commissioned an independent review of the UK governments approach to net zero targets, led by Chris Skidmore MP. Here researchers from the ISR and Energy Institute respond to the review call for evidence and consider how net zero actions can deliver economic growth across the UK. We recommend actions for the government to support businesses and consumers to decarbonise, and how to balance net zero priorities with energy security, amongst other insights.

Review of Electricity Market Arrangements consultation: Response from UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources

This policy brief responded to the BEIS consultation on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Review of Electricity Market Arrangements, intended to identify reforms needed to transition to a decarbonised, cost effective and secure electricity system

Business model for power bioenergy with carbon capture and storage consultation: Response from UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, the CO2RE consortium, and researchers at the University of Southampton

This policy brief was a response to The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's recent call for proposals for a business model to incentivise deployment of power bioenergy and carbon capture (BECCS) within the UK, covering topics such as the availability of sustainable fuel, and how power-BECCS may fit into the wider electricity system.

Policy brief: Greening the COVID-19 Recovery in Ghana: Electricity investment needs to meet the GH-NDC targets

This policy brief from the Greening the Recovery in Ghana and Zambia project discusses the electricity investment needs to meet the GH-NDC targets. 


Policy brief: Vision for the future of plastics

In this policy brief, researchers from the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub at UCL outline a Vision for the Future of Plastics. 


Briefing paper: How can a green recovery from COVID-19 be achieved in Ghana?

This policy brief from the Greening the Recovery in Ghana and Zambia project discusses how Ghana can achieve a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic


Briefing paper: Greening the Recovery in Ghana and Zambia

The final version of the Greening the Recovery in Ghana and Zambia project briefing has been published.


Briefing paper: COVID-19 Recovery in Zambia: An opportunity for inclusive climate action

Researchers publish a new policy briefing for Greening the Recovery in Ghana and Zambia project.


Policy Brief: Decarbonising Buildings 

Strong governance structures and policies will be required to decarbonise European homes. 


Policy Brief: Biochar for Decarbonisation

Biochar can remove carbon from the atmosphere but, like other negative emissions technologies, its wide diffusion will require strong policy support.


Policy Brief: Decarbonisation Pathways

Opportunities and challenges of the EU transition to a carbon netral economy.


Policy Brief: Innovation for Decarbonisation

Harnessing low-carbon innovation and its co-benefits to support the rapid decarbonisation of European economies.


Policy Brief: Decarbonisation and labour markets

Climate policies and green subsidies change the labour market and the skill composition of the workforce. 


Policy Brief: Decarbonising Electricity

Delivering net-zero electricity by 2040 in a just transition. 


Policy Brief: Decarbonisation Transport

Electric vehicles for cars and a mix of alternative technologies and fuels in other markets, can decarbonise EU transport.