Tuesday, 16 January 2018

EU strategy on Plastic - find out more

This week the EU has launched the first European Staregy on plastics - to reduce the impact on the environment. read the full text on its website.
where you can also find fact sheets about the new policy
For statistics on amounts recycled in EU nations see Eurostat data
this page also goes into detail about sources, targets and percentages achieved in recent years.

the UK government has also launched a new plastic waste policy
Wrap has data and reports on waste and recycling in the UK plastics market

For information on the reasons why the directives are needed.
See the UNEP campaigns against plastic waste in the oceans.
The UNEP knowledge repository also has recent reports on the environmental and economic case for reducing plastic waste
Friends of the Earth has campaign materials and resources for consumers.

For an industry perspective see Plastics Europe. which details their response.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Iran protests - try these resources. to locate the latest academic research

There have been recent concerns about the level of protest in Iran.

UN watch raises concerns about the international action.

Iran Pulse- Al-Monitor has up to date coverage and discussion form experts in the Middle-East

International Crisis watch has regular reports and bulletins.

You can also keep up to date with the latest worldwide trends in the monthly International Crisis Group- Crisis Watch bulletin and they have recently launched the

Iran-US. Trigger List a new interactive map which monitors areas of flashpoints potential conflict worldwide how they are linked to the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal

Articles from the Economist on Iranian politics

comment from other think tanks includes

Chatham house which has a comment issued on Jan 5th 2018 as well as other reports.

Carnegie Endowment

Washington Institute Near East

NDI Iran Bulletin

Hoover Institute 


Brookings- Iran


Iran Watch is a comprehensive website that monitors Iran’s capability for building unconventional weapons and long-range missiles. Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Coffee cups and recycling - do they damage the environment? some good research sites

Recently the Environmental select committee  proposed a levy of 25p due to the environmental impact of disposable coffee cups used by major chains.

UK government outlines a number of manufacturer responsibilities for packaging.

UK waste statistics have general data on packaging collected.
The Times alleged fewer than 1 in 400 cups were actually recycled in 2016

in September 2017 the paper industry issued a briefing paper on the problems involved in cup recycling
WRAP  has conducted research on general food and packaging waste from grocery retail chains.
another issue is the reluctance of consumers to use recycling bins as discussed in CIWM Journal

Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group is body. made of organisationd from the paper supply chain in the UK  It issued a statement in response to the report you can also see its FAQs on the amount of waste
it also has progress reports and case studies of specific coffee store chains.

Wrap. Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID) lists and describes new technology aiming to reduce waste

Alliance for Beverage Containes and the Environment is an interational trade body which has news about technology and initiatives to recycle in Europe

Thursday, 4 January 2018

NHS Winter crisis 2017- get some facts from our recommended links

This week many commentators referred to a national crisis in the NHS
Dr Richard Fawcett and A&E Consultant from Stoke caused a storm on twitter with his posting on 'third world conditions'

Certainly many NHS Trusts cancelled non urgent procedures
see the
Operational update from the NHS National Emergency Pressures Panel for the official policy
the website also has the policy documents on NHS winter plans
in November the Kings Fund said the NHS was on a knife edge.
The president of the Society for Acute Medicine said the situation was 'as bad as I have ever known'
The BMA annual message said 2018 should be a turning point in the NHS as resources were 'woefully underfunded'
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine spoke of the intense pressures in A&E

How well is the NHS doing?
Check local performance in your area against national targets using the BBC performance tracker.
Look at the regular updates on performance from the Kings Fund in their quarterly monitoring report which covers financial and operational pressures.
Nuffield Trust Quality Watch website 
NHS England Winter daily situation reports.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Are rail fares fair? Try our recommended academic links.

This week the BBC reported that the rise in rail fares had priced commuters out of the market.
The RMT union declared  that  British travellers spend five times more of their income than those in other European nations.  This is based on TUC research
Other unions criticising the rise include ASLEF which accused the companies of 'laughing all the way to the bank'
In Left Foot forward Manuel Cortes ,  General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association called for the renationalisation of the network

 A Sky news poll found the public backed renationalisation of  the railways- get the facts on those surveyed from their website
Campaign for Better Transport  is backing a Fair Fares campaign
their website also has other research on railway policy

For facts on rises.
UK government website has details of policy
this includes a recent review on clarity of ticket pricing.
Office of Rail and Road has statistics on rail performance and funding of infrastructure.  Plus data on complaints and lateness
It also has  information on prices and regulation. 
A useful research report from the House of Commons Library (Feb 2017) summarises clearly responsibility for regulation, the issues at stake and criticisms.

the annual rail fares index has statistical data on ticket price rises.

Transport Focus - the consultative voice of passengers has sample ticket prices  with recent increases
It also has research on passenger perspectives on the running of the railways and future priorities.

Monday, 18 December 2017

social science of reindeer and other facts

Just for christmas here are some quick links to the social science of reindeers and other facts.

Are reindeer an endangered species?
find out the answer and more about their natural habitat and biology on the free ARKive website
they have some great images.
and videos . See this example of  a herd in the summer.  They look quite different because they are moulting and are dancing around as they get bitten a lot by midges!

Is reindeer herding economically important.
In recent years statistics from the Reindeer Herders Association in Finland show declining trends. Find out about ownership and meat production from their website
The International centre for Reindeer Husbandry has online guides to other countries such as Sweden and Norway which discuss the extent and importance of reindeer to the economy.
It also has a link to a free reindeer warning app!
The Arctic Council also has some documents on its website from projects which have discussed the importance of reindeer to the suvival of indigenous arctic peoples.
The Arctic Institute of North America provides free access to some of its articles.

Rudolf the red nosed reindeer!
Robert Lewis May 1926, while working for Montgomery Ward and Company in Chicago as an advertising editor, created 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' as a Christmas promotion for the company. The original is now held in Dartmouth College
NPR has a digital version online from a programme it made in 2013

Finally see some historic films of reindeers in lapland and london! via Pathe film

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Chinese aid to Africa- what are the facts?

 China has become  the biggest donor of aid to Africa- read more about the background in this interesting article from the Conversation.

 Traditionally OECD countries have been the biggest donors. The OECD website has data on this and some discussion and data on the role increasing played by China

China Aid data website is monitoring from AidData has developments and has visualizations.Search by projects

The  China Africa initiative from Johns Hopkins University was established in 2014. and colects information on investment, aid and chinese involvement in all sectors.
other sources of reports on the role of China include:

 China Development Bank - which has some information in English
African Development Bank also has some earlier papers on the aid effectiveness