Our flagship report, the POSTnote, is a four-page briefing reviewing emerging areas of research.

Biomass for UK energy

Biomass can be used to produce bioenergy in the form of electricity, heat, biogas or transport fuels, or to produce materials and chemicals. The Climate Change Committee recommend dedicated energy crops and forest residues as future sources of domestic biomass. This POSTnote summarises the opportunities and challenges surrounding the expansion of UK biomass production.

Biomass for UK energy

Invisible Disabilities in Education and Employment

Disability occurs in many different forms. An invisible disability, or non-visible disability, is an impairment or health condition that is not immediately obvious. This POSTnote provides an overview of invisible disability in the UK. It outlines types of invisible disabilities and relevant legislation and policy. It also discusses the experiences of adults with invisible disabilities, and strategies aimed at increasing access and inclusion for adults with invisible disabilities, focusing on employment, and higher and further education.

Invisible Disabilities in Education and Employment
  • POSTnote

    Longer duration energy storage

    The UK’s energy system relies on the storage of fossil fuels to manage variations in supply and demand over varying timescales. As these are replaced to meet the net zero emissions target, new types of low-carbon, longer duration energy storage will be needed to provide secure energy supplies. This POSTnote examines different low-carbon storage technologies, their role in addressing future system needs, issues relating to scaling-up the technologies and Government strategy.

  • POSTnote

    Nuclear energy in the UK

    Nuclear electricity is a predictable and low-carbon part of the UK energy mix, currently providing 15% of the UK’s electricity. However, most existing nuclear power stations are set to close by 2030. The Government has an ambition to increase production of nuclear energy. One new nuclear power station is under construction (Hinkley Point C) and another (Sizewell C) has received planning consent. This POSTnote reviews the evidence surrounding the construction of new nuclear power stations and the ways in which nuclear might contribute to emission reduction targets.

  • POSTnote

    States’ use of cyber operations

    States are increasingly engaging in cyber operations to support their strategic aims. This POSTnote considers hostile state-backed cyber activities against the UK. It looks at how and why states use cyber operations against other nations and the threats these pose to the UK. It also considers mitigation measures, both internationally and in the UK.

  • POSTnote

    Automation in military operations

    Advances in robotics and digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are enabling greater levels of automation across many sectors, including defence. The UK Government expects automation to be crucial to maintain military advantage in the future. In June 2022, the Ministry of Defence published its Defence AI Strategy, which sets out how it plans to adopt and exploit AI; automation was cited as a key application. This POSTnote discusses current and future applications of automation and AI, their impact on militaries and global stability, and the challenges around their development and implementation.

  • POSTnote

    Climate change and security

    Climate change is creating complex risks for societies, with globalisation increasing dependencies and interconnectedness between nations. This POSTnote sets out the potential security implications of climate change, arising from both its impacts on human systems and the ‘transition risks’ from climate change mitigation measures. It also describes the tools and approaches that could be used to manage the risks and opportunities arising.

  • POSTnote

    Climate adaptation for nature

    The UK Government has committed to halting the long-term decline of species abundance and protecting 30% of land and sea by 2030. Achieving this will require consideration of the impacts of climate change on wildlife and their ecosystems. This POSTnote summarises options to allow nature to adapt to a changing climate and ensure the long-term effectiveness of conservation strategies.

  • POSTnote

    The habitat restoration target

    Changes in land use and management have destroyed, degraded, and fragmented habitats. This has driven the majority of declines in wildlife over the last century in England. Restoring habitats will deliver nature recovery. This POSTnote focuses on restoration of terrestrial habitats for the wider habitats target in England.

  • POSTnote

    Energy consumption of ICT

    Information and Communication Technology (ICT), including data centres, communication networks and user devices, accounted for an estimated 4-6% of global electricity use in 2020. Increasing demand for ICT is expected to lead to an increase in global ICT energy use over the next decade. Experts have highlighted ongoing improvements in the energy efficiency of the technology. However, there is limited evidence on the energy use of ICT, and a significant degree of uncertainty in existing estimates. This POSTnote summarises estimates of the energy used across the ICT sector and trends that may affect it. It discusses developments in energy efficiency and issues related to energy reporting and standards.

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