Energy, Resources and the Environment


Sian Loveless is Early Career Scientist representative for the Energy Resources and Environment Division of the EGU. She is a Hydrogeologist at the British Geological Survey. Following her PhD Sian spent two years working in the Geothermal Energy sector in Belgium. She completed her PhD on the hydrogeological properties of faults in sediment, at the University of East Anglia, during which time she undertook a policy internship at the Centre for Science and Policy. Her BSc was in Environmental Earth Science.

Questions of Resource Sustainability in a World of Consumers

Image Credit: <a href=“”>Paul Saab</a>

Image Credit: Paul Saab

By Lindsey Higgins, PhD student at Stockholm University and the Bolin Centre for Climate Research


In the Wednesday morning debate “Is global economic growth compatible with a habitable climate?” issues of sustainability in a consumptive world were tackled. The four panellists agreed that the goal set by the COP21 meeting in Paris of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C is unrealistic. Historically, fossil fuels have been necessary for economic growth and now even more difficulties arise from the need for resources to find resources.
During the debate, concerns were raised over the conspicuous consumption of the developed world and how people are generally more interested in what happens now rather than in the future. Jorgen Randers, author and professor of climate strategy at the Norwegian Business School, believes there is a need for short-term rewards to entice people into more sustainable solutions. He gives the example of electric cars in Norway and how the government removed taxes on their purchase to make them a more economically rewarding option.
When it comes to the minerals we now rely on, the easiest sources have been found and are either already tapped out, or are well on the way. The current challenge is how to locate and extract these resources from deeper under the Earth’s surface, since even perfect recycling of what we already have would not be able to keep up with current demands. The current question is whether it is possible to do this in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally responsible. In his talk Monday afternoon, P. Patrick Leahy of the American Geosciences Institute introduced the idea of “resource colonialism” that is often associated with mining of resources in developing countries. Dr. Leahy is involved with the International Union of Geological Science (IUGS) “Resourcing Future Generations” initiative. This planning group aims to improve understanding of the demand, discovery, extraction, and social impacts of future global mineral needs.
According to Edmund Nickless, Chair of The IUGS New Activities Strategic Implementation Committee and former Executive Secretary of the Geological Society of London, there is a need for a social contract that ensures fair distribution of wealth. If you think you have a solution to this global issue, the IUGS currently has an open call for small funding proposals. The deadline for proposals is 31 May 2016 and more information can be found here.

Student reporter for ERE at the 2016 GA

This year we will have our own student reporter, Lindsey Higgins, from Stockholm University, at the EGU GA. Lindsey will be reporting on research presented in the ERE sessions on this blog and social media. Please let us know if you think you have a suitable session for Lindsey to attend and report on. Here is some more about Lindsey and her motivations!


Blog by Lindsey Higgins

As far back as I can remember, I have always felt drawn to the sciences. Fortunately, I had encouraging teachers when I was young and strong mentors throughout my university years. When choosing my degree program as an undergraduate, Physical Geography seemed like a perfect fit. It provided me with the opportunity to study a variety of topics and to really refine my research interests. At Buffalo State College in New York I chose a concentration of meteorology and climatology while also studying for a minor in Anthropology. This combination was the start of my interest in the intersection of human activity and environmental variability.

After taking part in any research project I could get myself into as an undergraduate, I felt the experience and drive necessary to further my academic career. At The Ohio State University I had the privilege of a research assistantship at the Byrd Polar Research Center in the Ice Core Climatology group. After working with a strictly climatological project for my Master’s degree, I was ready to move back into research that brought in the aspect of human involvement in the environment.

Currently, I am a PhD student at Stockholm University working with a crater lake in northern Tanzania. In my dissertation research, I use lake sediment to reconstruct past variability and remote sensing to look at modern fluctuations in the size of this lake. As this lake is an important freshwater resource for the people living around it, I became very interested in how it is affected by activities in the surrounding area and began collaborating with social scientists. If you are interested in this work, I will be presenting on Tuesday at 13.45 in room -2.47 during the session “Narrowing the gap: palaeoenvironment and human interaction during Late Quaternary” (CL1.06/GM6.9).

Aside from my research interests, I also find myself drawn to science communication and outreach. This is what led me to apply for a student reporter position at EGU. I often find myself asking how as researchers, we can translate our work to make it more understandable for the general public as well as people in positions to impact environmental policy development. It is my hope that after I complete my doctoral program, I can continue to be involved with this bridge between scientific research and public outreach.

I am grateful for this opportunity to report for the Energy, Resources and the Environment division and looking forward to sharing my experience at this year’s General Assembly!


Navigating the EGU General Assembly, short course for Early Career Scientists

If you are an Early Career Scientist (ECS) your first experience at the EGU General Assembly can be a bit bewildering with the sheer numbers of sessions and people milling around.

You might find it worthwhile attending a short course on:  “How to navigate the EGU, Tips & Tricks”  (SC36):”

Monday 18th of April; 12.15 – 13.15; Room -2.85

Although aimed at ECS it is open to everyone, with special focus for those who are attending the EGU for the first time. The aim is to help these first-time-EGU-ers to find their way at the conference and help them to make the most out of it

Posted on behalf of the short course coordinators, Anouk Beniest and João Duarte

Communicating Contested Geoscience at EGU 2016

Communicating with the public is increasingly an issue for geoscientists both in research and in industry, but how do we deal with communicating those aspects of our work that are controversial? Many scientists shy away from those issues that are likely to draw the attention of an angry public, because, quite reasonably, they don’t want to be attacked for just doing their job. But these controversial or contested aspects of geoscience are becoming more and more visible in our society, from fracking for shale gas, to the new plans to consult on deep geological storage of radioactive waste and the withdrawal of the UK government’s support for Carbon Capture and Storage funding and as such we have a responsibility to address them. More and more researchers are turning their attention to how the public understand these issues and therefore, how to communicate them, but in order to embrace this issue fully we need to appreciate the experiences of those people who are already communicating these subjects – what are the successes and failures?

In a step towards drawing these groups closer together, we have convened a session at the upcoming European Geoscience Union General Assembly in Vienna in April, focussing on the Communication of Contested Geoscience []. This session will explore the challenges of communicating the controversial and high-profile geoscience topics that are increasingly discussed in Europe, critique current practice and propose new strategies for public engagement in contested geoscience. We invite participants from across all sectors, including industry and government, to submit abstracts on the communication of new and controversial geological topics (geothermal power, carbon capture and storage or CCS, oil and gas extraction, radioactive waste disposal, etc) within the informal, non-formal and adult engagement sectors, including issues of risk perception, trust, the role of experts and public understanding of science.

Communicating geoscience at the BGS open day

We would like to invite you submit an abstract to this innovative PICO session by the deadline for abstracts, which is Wednesday 13th January at 13.00 CET. If you are unfamiliar with a PICO session it combines the best parts of a poster and oral presentation, by having a short oral to present the highlights of your findings, with a poster style interactive session using your whole digital presentation on touch screens beside the posters. This allows you to capture your audience’s attention quickly, but then go into as much or as little detail than is possible on a poster.


For more information on submitting an abstract, please see here: [].