Published Tuesday, April 14, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-492
The Government lists energy storage as one of eight great technologies in which the UK can become a global leader. This briefing outlines the roles of energy storage in the electricity, heat and transport sectors and describes the technologies used from the household level up. It also discusses current barriers and policies for energy storage and potential future uptake.
Measuring Living Standards
Published Monday, March 30, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-491
This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
Topics: Benefits policy, Child care, Children and families, Economic policy, Economic situation, Employment, Equality, Family benefits, Fuel poverty, Housing supply, Incomes and poverty, Pay, Pensions, Private rented housing, Social rented housing, Statistics policy, Unemployment, Working age benefits
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-490
Biodiversity supports the ecosystem services humans rely on for well-being and economic resources. Areas that have had an audit can make more effective use of ecological data to meet planning and conservation objectives for biodiversity. This POSTnote summarises the data sources used and the advantages of the audit approach for addressing biodiversity loss.
Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-489
A POSTnote discussing the medical, legal and ethical challenges associated with the care of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states.
The darknet and online anonymity
Published Monday, March 9, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-488
A very small proportion of websites use sophisticated anonymity systems, which allow their operators to conceal their identity if they wish to. This part of the web is commonly referred to as the darknet. The darknet helps citizens to protect their security and privacy and to circumvent censorship. It also facilitate organised crime, such as the billion dollar drug market known as Silk Road. This POSTnote discusses the challenge of preventing such crimes without compromising the other uses of anonymity technologies.
Emissions from Crops
Published Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-486
Agriculture contributes 9% of the UK’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions burden and 10-12% globally. Although there is a long-term declining trend from UK agriculture, the sector may account for a larger share of overall emissions in the future as other sectors reduce emissions. This POSTnote focuses on reducing GHG emissions from growing and storing arable and horticultural crops.
Value Based Assessment of Drugs
Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-487
This briefing outlines recent proposals to change the current UK drug assessment methods.
Parity of Esteem for Mental Health
Published Wednesday, January 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-485
This note looks at the history of and recent developments in efforts to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health in care standards .
Catchment-Wide Flood Management
Published Thursday, December 11, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-484
Changing weather patterns have made structural defences less effective at managing flooding. An approach that employs a range of natural flood management measures across a river catchment is likely to reduce the probability of flooding and pressure on structural defences. This POSTnote describes the measures and the challenges of implementing them over large catchments.
GM Insects and Disease Control
Published Tuesday, November 4, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-483
Insects play a critical role in ecosystems, but can also cause economic and social harm by transmitting diseases to humans and livestock, and damaging crops. Genetically modified (GM) insects could be used alongside other approaches to mitigate harms. This POSTnote summarises possible benefits, risks and uncertainties associated with their deployment.
GM Crops and Regulation
Published Thursday, October 30, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-482
This note summarises the evidence on environmental and health impacts of GM crops, describes recent technological developments and examines their likely consequences for proposed reforms of GM regulation
Diffuse Pollution of Water by Agriculture
Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-478
Water pollution regulation is devolved in the UK. Surface, coastal and ground waters in England suffer from significant pollution problems: 78% of surface and groundwater bodies fail to meet the ‘good’ ecological status prescribed by the EU Water Frameworks Directive. Pollution increases water treatment costs and adversely affects wildlife. Compared to treatment, preventing water pollution at source can have a cost-benefit ratio as high as 1:65. This POSTnote describes the contribution of agriculture to water pollution, and measures that can be taken to reduce it.
Preventing Mitochondrial Disease
Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-431
This note describes new treatments designed to prevent mothers with mitochondrial disease passing their condition on to their children and looks at the issues raised by their potential use in IVF.
Palliative and End of Life Care
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-481
This POSTnote provides an overview of palliative care and its key components, approaches to managing and standardising care and key challenges to providing high quality care.
Short Lived Climate Pollutants
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-480
Short lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) include black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ground level ozone. Although they have a shorter residence time in the atmosphere than CO2, from a few days to a few decades, they contribute to near term climate change. This POSTnote summarises options for mitigating SLCP concentrations and the benefits and challenges of doing so.
Published Thursday, October 2, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-479
This briefing provides an overview of current and future applications of unmanned aircraft, and opportunities and barriers for civilian use
Published Friday, August 22, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-477
World food security is dependent on phosphate fertilisers manufactured from finite deposits of phosphate ore. The majority of remaining reserves are restricted to a limited number of countries raising geopolitical risks. This POSTnote describes the uses of phosphate and summarises ways in which dependence on mineral reserves could be reduced.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-466
The UNFCCC REDD+ scheme aims to promote sustainable forest management in developing countries in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Developed countries are expected to provide finance of approximately $20bn per year from 2020. This POSTnote summarises the extent to which REDD+ could contribute to meeting international climate targets, challenges to its implementation and technologies for tracking its performance
Environmental Citizen Science
Published Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-476
Environmental citizen science traditionally involves members of the public submitting sightings of wildlife to NGOs or records centres, but emerging technologies have recently broadened its use to all kinds of environmental data. This POSTnote summarises different types of citizen science projects, policy-relevant applications and the benefits and challenges of volunteer collected data.
Big and Open Data in Transport
Published Friday, August 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-472
This POSTnote examines key factors affecting the growth of big data in transport and current and future applications, focusing on road and public transport. It also explores challenges to opening up, collecting, disseminating and using big data, and to sharing data whilst protecting users’ privacy.