butterfly

Why rapid transitions are more possible than you might think

In the face of climate change and social inequality, changing to a greener and fairer society might feel impossible – but rapid, radical transitions may be more possible than you might think, according to a new booklet published by the STEPS Centre and the New Weather Institute.

Submarine

Is Trident Influencing UK Energy Policy?

What explains the UK government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power, despite its various problems – including technical difficulties and cost? Could one hidden factor be the pressure to support the infrastructure needed for military programmes such as Trident? SPRU researcher Philip Johnstone and our co-director Andy Stirling have been researching this question, and explore their findings…

Mobile phone with Kenyan shillings

How can solar power be part of transformations to sustainability in Kenya?

Transforming pro-poor energy access is a priority goal for many countries in Africa. Many poorer households are not connected to the grid, so use kerosene, paraffin or batteries, or have to travel to charge mobile phones. In Kenya, solar home systems (SHS) via mobile payment systems are tackling this problem by giving access to renewable…

Cement factory sending fumes up into the sky.

Exploring the social impacts of green transformations in China

A transformation lab (T-Lab) focused on China’s green transformation policy and its impacts was held in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province on October 22, 2016. The T-lab intended to identify  problems created through the implementation of local “green transformation” policies and sustainable pathways for the future. It was entitled “Transformative pathways to sustainability: Exploring the social…

climate change

COP22: Climate change and innovation

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UNFCCC took place from 7-18 November 2016. Read research and opinion from STEPS on what happens next. This year’s COP comes shortly after the Paris Agreement enters into force. The agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century to under 2 degrees….

Image of a canal with a pagoda to the right and a building behind.

Winners and losers of China’s green transformation

The willow trees and pagodas lining the shore of the canal in a newly-built park in Jishuitan, Beijing are all meant to evoke the sights and smells of the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China for over three centuries. A park placard quotes a poem written during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, which evokes the fragrant…

biogas in italy

Hot debate about biogas: lessons from Italy

A new STEPS working paper by Bianca Cavicchi and Adrian Ely examines the history of biogas as a source of energy in the region of Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. Over the last few decades, the potential of biogas in Emilia Romagna has been explored and debated by different agencies and people. But it has not…

Hinkley C: why is the UK building a new nuclear power plant?

Today the UK government approved Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in 20 years at Hinkley Point C. Many of the reactions to the decision have been critical for a number of reasons, including cost, the role of foreign investment and the way that the decision has been made. STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is quoted…

Beyond two-dimensional perspectives: Sustainable energy access as adaptation and mitigation?

Earlier this year, the Institute of Development Studies convened a one day meeting of scholars to discuss the emerging field of the politics of climate change adaptation. I study sustainable energy access, which doesn’t conventionally get counted as adaptation, so I wondered to what extent the politics of adaptation extends to the framing of sustainable…

Responsibility and geoengineering in the Anthropocene

As the Anthropocene Working Group debate the start date of a new geological era, Jack Stilgoe asks what the Anthropocene means for how science takes responsibility for the climate. In this excerpt from his book, Experiment Earth, Jack looks at the relationship between the identification of the Anthropocene and the arrival of proposals for geoengineering,…