Science briefing papers

The BGS has corporate policy positions on a range of geoscience topics. The science briefing papers allow BGS scientists to reflect and communicate their science in a succinct way to other experts, policymakers and the public.

Our refreshed policy position papers started in November 2018 with geothermal heat.

In addition to our policy position papers BGS also develops more detailed policy recommendations through carrying out research and responding to consultations, working in partnerships with other organisations and in Government, as well as writing peer-reviewed papers.

July 2019

Metals and Decarbonisation

Hot metal being poured. © Getty images.

Metals and decarbonisation: a geological perspective

Metals are fundamental to human existence. They perform a myriad of functions, including enabling the technologies needed to decarbonise the global economy such as low carbon energy generation and zero emission transport. However, humans use metals in vast quantities and their extraction and processing have profound environmental consequences, particularly in the emission of greenhouse gases. The Metals and Decarbonisation Science Briefing Paper summarises the current paradigm for global metal supply and demand, and sets out some of the barriers and opportunities that this presents to the transition to a more sustainable, low carbon economy.

November 2018

Who owns geothermal heat?

'Geothermal heat has the potential to make a significant contribution to... the UK Climate Change Act.'
'Heat, although not a "substance" in the physical sense, behaves in many ways analogous to water.'

Heat from the earth, or geothermal heat, arises from the heat dissipated from the centre of the earth and, at shallow depth, from heating by the sun. High-enthalpy (deep) geothermal heat is found within some granitic rocks due to slightly raised levels of the radiogenic isotopes of potassium, uranium and thorium.


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