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SGR Newsletter 41
Autumn 2012 - 20th anniversary issue
Feature articles cover: UK military R&D; alternatives to Iran's nuclear programme; low carbon transition pathways; offshore wind and marine energy; nuclear disarmament; sustainable building materials; corporate science communication; local sustainable energy; synthetic biology; the Fukushima nuclear disaster; and climate change sceptics
- The decline of UK military R&D
Latest official statistics show that UK government spending on military research and development has fallen considerably over the last ten years – something that SGR has been calling for. Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, assesses the significance of the changes.
- Breaking the deadlock: Iran’s nuclear programme in context
Prof Keith Barnham, Imperial College London, suggests renewable energy technologies can play a key role in arresting the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and elsewhere.
- What kind of low carbon future do we want?
Dr Tim Foxon, University of Leeds, summarises new academic research examining the major choices for the UK as the nation tries to de-carbonise its electricity system.
- Energy from the ocean: the UK dimension
Prof AbuBakr Bahaj, Southampton University, outlines the recent positive progress in generating electricity from offshore wind, wave and tidal current resources in the UK. He also assesses the future challenges in a sector in which the UK is a global leader.
- Nuclear disarmament: then and now
Dr Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute, highlights the limited progress in nuclear disarmament since the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, she argues that new academic research can help to reframe nuclear threats, providing future opportunities for more effective international initiatives to ban nuclear weapons.
- Sustainable building materials: how eco-friendly are they?
Insulation has little 'wow' factor compared to solar panels, but greater potential to reduce carbon emissions cheaply. However, it is crucial that we consider the energy required for their manufacture: natural, non-toxic materials consume the least energy and are safer for human health, argues Dr Tom Woolley, Rachel Bevan Architects.
- Challenging corporate influence within science communication
Dr Alice Bell, Imperial College London, argues that corporate sponsorship of science communication has gone too far, and announces a new campaign to challenge it.
- Local sustainable energy projects: learning the practical lessons
Dr Philip Webber, SGR/ University of Leeds, assesses the lessons for UK energy policy from a series of award-winning programmes using micro-renewable energy technologies and domestic energy conservation measures in West Yorkshire, and from new academic research on city-level sustainable energy programmes.
- Slowly boiling the frog? Reasons for disquiet over synthetic biology
Dr Helena Paul and Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher, EcoNexus, warn that the rapidly developing field of synthetic biology – which proposes releasing artificial living organisms into the environment – is running ahead of the necessary precautionary controls.
- Fallout from Fukushima: the impacts so far
18 months have passed since the massive earthquake and tsunami off the east coast of Japan triggered the Fukushima nuclear accident. Independent consultant, Dr Ian Fairlie and Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, give an overview of why the nuclear disaster happened, why it is still occurring, and its implications to date.
- How influential are the climate change sceptics?
Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, looks at the factors that have led to the prominence of climate change sceptics over the past two decades and asks whether they are as influential as they seem.
20th anniversary articles
- 20 years of Scientists for Global Responsibility
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) was formed in the UK in 1992, from the merger of several smaller groups concerned with science, technology and peace issues. Since then it has grown in size and influence – with other organisations also becoming part of the SGR ‘family’. It has undertaken a wide variety of activities to promote more ethical science and technology – from publishing groundbreaking reports on military and corporate influence on science and technology to playing a leading role in ‘The Climate Train to Kyoto’.
- SGR’s 20th anniversary – thoughts and memories
Active members of SGR over the years contribute their personal thoughts and memories of the organisation to mark our 20th anniversary.
- SGR's 20th anniversary Annual General Meeting and strategy development forum
19 May 2012, London
- A few words from the Director...
Dr Stuart Parkinson reflects on the opportunities and challenges facing the world as SGR enters its third decade.
- Latest details on SGR’s current project examining UK military R&D programmes and the potential alternatives
- Updates on SGR activities covering issues such as climate change and energy, security and disarmament, and ethical careers
- Progress with the international campaign to ‘Commit universities to peace’
- SGR’s new National Co-ordinating Committee
Publication and event reviews
- Keeper of the nuclear conscience – the life and work of Joseph Rotblat
- The costs and benefits of animal experiments
- SWIIS 2012: international stability and systems engineering
- Geoengineering: the geo-politics of planetary modification
- Joint conference of ARC-PEACE and ASF International
- In My Lifetime
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