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December 2018

Maritime renewable energy

December 2018: New devices for ocean energy allow extraction of kinetic energy from tidal and wave movements. Its predictability offers particular value to grid-balancing operators looking for a stable energy supply for remote areas and coastal communities.

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Dams and sustainable hydropower

December 2018: A recent study found that dams might cause more ecological and social harm than energy benefits from hydropower. Less intrusive technologies such as in-stream turbines could offer more sustainable options and respond faster to changing river flows due to climate change.

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Starch levels in algae biomass

December 2018: Scientists found a new way of controlling the level of starch content in algae. Producing higher levels of algae-derived starch represents a valuable resource for biofuels and the production of other renewable materials such as fuel additives, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and bioplastics.

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Decline of vertebrate populations

December 2018: WWF published its Living Planet 2018 report. It states that between 1970 and 2014 the global vertebrate population declined by 60 per cent. The figure represents the average population decline among 4,000 species. It calls for converging the environmental and human development agenda. and estimates that nature currently provides services worth $125 trillion a year.

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Inequality and poverty in Britain

December 2018: A UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty visited the UK. His preliminary report points to extreme levels of child poverty in the UK and that a fifth of the British population is living in poverty despite rising employment levels, economic growth, and pockets of high wealth levels. His findings identify poor skill levels amongst workers, weak infrastructures, lack of affordable housing, and the centralisation of political and commercial power in London as main impact factors on poverty in Britain.

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Disease and malnutrition

December 2018: Research identifies malnutrition as the primary factor in the global burden of disease. Policies such as sugar taxes, awareness campaigns, and new data generation technologies offer a large potential to understand people’s eating habits and to design target interventions.

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Financial actors and climate stability

December 2018: A recent study identifies a small set of financial actors that have an extended ability to influence climate stability. It points towards an explicit link between stock ownership, global institutional investors and so-called tipping elements in the Earth’s system such as the Amazon or boreal forests.

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Gender inequality and environmental resilience

December 2018: Gender inequality can have ancillary consequences for climate change and climate resilience. Climate change vulnerability reinforces gender disparities and can lead to higher levels of violence in developing countries.

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Challenges in the global food system

December 2018: In a global three-year research collaboration across the globe, the InterAcademy Partnership released their findings that underline the unsustainability of our current food system. Experts point out that the cost of the damage to human health and the environment is greater than profits of the farming industry. They point towards evidence-based opportunities for businesses and policymakers that range from climate-smart food systems to international science advisory mechanisms.

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The views expressed in these external research papers are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.