Electricity markets in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe are physically linked by ‘interconnector’ cables. These benefit energy system operators and consumers by reducing prices. They can also help integrate renewable electricity and ensure security of supply. This note discusses these benefits, proposals for future increases in interconnection and the potential effects of Brexit.

The burning of natural gas for heating contributes 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Decarbonising, or reducing the carbon content of the UK gas supply is one option for reducing the emissions from heating. This POSTnote looks at the contribution that two alternative gases, hydrogen and biomethane, could make in achieving this goal.

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    The Government has identified ‘cyber’ as one of six Tier 1 threats to UK national security. This POSTnote focuses on the cyber security of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, describing measures to improve cyber security and challenges in implementing them. It also reviews the new National Cyber Security Strategy, along with international policy and legislation.

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    Quantum Technologies use the behaviour of matter and light that is normally only observed at very small scales. This POSTnote introduces recent advances, applications, and UK initiatives to support their development and commercialisation. It also reviews policy concerns such as privacy, access to new technologies and secure communications.

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    The 2015 Paris Agreement called for a balance between sources of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and their removal by 2100 to halt global temperature rise. This POSTnote explains why Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) techniques may be required to achieve this goal, outlines the benefits of and concerns about them, and considers policy options.

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    The term nexus describes the key interactions between parts of a system or systems. This POSTnote summarises current understanding of the interactions between water, energy and food production and examines how nexus approaches can be used to inform policy decisions.

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    Heat Policy takes into account the carbon footprint of different heating technologies. This POSTnote summarises evidence about the carbon footprints of current and emerging heating technologies in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors. It then outlines wider considerations for heat policy and broad assessments of the ‘best’ way to reduce emissions from heating.

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    Part 6 of the Energy Bill 2015-16 proposes an amendment to the Climate Change Act to adjust the performance measure used in the UK’s statutory carbon budgets. The new measure would include UK territorial emissions only. With this change, credits or debits from the EU Emissions Trading System would not contribute towards the UK’s performance against its carbon budgets from 2028 onwards. This POSTbrief introduces the carbon budgets, explains the proposed change and outlines the implications of the proposed change.

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    UK shale gas exploration and efforts to mitigate climate change have stimulated debate about the future of the natural gas sector. This briefing looks at potential future pathways for the sourcing and use of natural gas in the UK. It also considers the implications for the economy, energy prices, the reliability of energy supplies and efforts to cut emissions.

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    Providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is a key issue in UK policy. Energy policy can be informed by current energy sector trends and projections into the future. This briefing outlines key trends in energy, the factors driving these changes and future projections. It also highlights the implications and challenges of these trends.

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    Transport is a key driver of economic growth. It links people to their workplaces and connects businesses. It also affects health, the environment and societal wellbeing. This POSTnote looks at why transport is changing, outlines current trends across and within transport sectors and considers the planning of transport networks.