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Read our June issue

Nature Sustainability publishes significant original research from a broad range of natural, social and engineering fields about sustainability, its policy dimensions and possible solutions.

Latest Research

  • Perspective |

    The natural capital concept is making way into government policy processes and the private sector, but different understandings of the approach might lead to misuse or omissions. In order to address this issue, a comprehensive framework for natural capital analysis and decision making is presented.

    • Ian J. Bateman
    •  & Georgina M. Mace
  • Brief Communication |

    Accurate estimates of emissions distribution in a vehicle fleet can help air pollution control. With diesel emissions data from chassis dynamometer tests and on-road remote sensing, this study shows that previous results about a skewed distribution towards the highest 10% emitters may not be correct.

    • Yuhan Huang
    • , Nic C. Surawski
    • , Yat-Shing Yam
    • , Casey K. C. Lee
    • , John L. Zhou
    • , Bruce Organ
    •  & Edward F. C. Chan
  • Analysis |

    A new database of over 2,700 policies on nitrogen around the world highlights the predominance of policies incentivizing its use or managing trade, and the need for integration to avoid shifting pollution from one sink to another.

    • David R. Kanter
    • , Olivia Chodos
    • , Olivia Nordland
    • , Mallory Rutigliano
    •  & Wilfried Winiwarter
  • Article |

    Runoff from mountain water sources is critical to some lowland populations. In this Article, these populations are projected to increase from 0.2 billion people in the 1960s to 1.5 billion by mid-century.

    • Daniel Viviroli
    • , Matti Kummu
    • , Michel Meybeck
    • , Marko Kallio
    •  & Yoshihide Wada

News & Comment

  • Q&A |

    Pushpam Kumar, Chief Environmental Economist at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), talks to Nature Sustainability about the need to focus on wealth to achieve sustainability.

    • Monica Contestabile
  • Comment |

    The current definition of desertification excludes hyper-arid zones given their lack of economic activity. However, the 101 million people living there, ongoing land degradation associated with the use of groundwater for intensive agriculture and climate-change-induced aridity call for a revision of this definition.

    • Jaime Martínez-Valderrama
    • , Emilio Guirado
    •  & Fernando T. Maestre
  • Editorial |

    Embedding behavioural, environmental and health considerations, alongside economic needs, into transport policies can pave the way to a sustainable system.

  • Comment |

    Governments are deciding on measures to help economies recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but, as in previous crises, a narrow focus on fighting the recession could have adverse effects on the environment and health. We suggest that health and sustainability should be at the heart of the economic response.

    • Carla Guerriero
    • , Andy Haines
    •  & Marco Pagano
  • Editorial |

    The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are unfolding rapidly and governments around the world are seeking scientific advice to respond. Sustainability communities should be part of the process but need to up their efforts to engage with policy needs.

  • Comment |

    The world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation by 2030. We urge a rapid change of the economics, engineering and management frameworks that guided water policy and investments in the past in order to address the water challenges of our time.

    • Claudia W. Sadoff
    • , Edoardo Borgomeo
    •  & Stefan Uhlenbrook