Read our July issue

This month we cover sustainable transport, health impacts of rainfall variability, climate-smart intensification for palm oil, benefits of solar panels on canals, lignocellulosic bioplastic, and more.

Announcements

  • As a result of the significant disruption that is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we are aware that many researchers will have difficulty in meeting the timelines associated with our peer review process during normal times. Please do let us know if you need additional time. Our systems will continue to remind you of the original timelines but we intend to be highly flexible at this time.

  • This summer’s Tokyo Olympics were meant to showcase how the global megaevent can be held in a more responsible manner. However, new research suggests that the Olympics are becoming less sustainable over time.

Nature Sustainability is a Transformative Journal; authors can publish using the traditional publishing route OR via immediate gold Open Access.

Our Open Access option complies with funder and institutional requirements.

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  • Low-temperature CO2 electrolysis is a promising process for producing renewable chemicals and fuels. This work provides a systematic techno-economic assessment of four major products, prioritizing technological development, and proposes guidelines to facilitate market adoption.

    • Haeun Shin
    • Kentaro U. Hansen
    • Feng Jiao
    Analysis
  • Urea is one the most-used synthetic nitrogen fertilizers that have been key to feeding a growing population. However, its production is energy intensive. Here, the authors show an electrocatalytic approach that allows for selective urea synthesis from nitrate and carbon dioxide at ambient conditions.

    • Chade Lv
    • Lixiang Zhong
    • Guihua Yu
    Article
  • Eco-friendly processing of plastics could leverage the advantages of plastics while maximizing their environmental sustainability. Here the authors show a cellulose cinnamate polymer that could be repeatedly programmed into various 2D or 3D stable shapes through a sustainable hydrosetting process.

    • Jiaxiu Wang
    • Lukas Emmerich
    • Kai Zhang
    Article
  • Disaster risks are a critical area for research, but while the focus has been on man-made adaptation, this analysis of 529 studies compiles evidence for how ecosystems can mitigate hazard vulnerabilities.

    • K. Sudmeier-Rieux
    • T. Arce-Mojica
    • Y. Walz
    Analysis
    • Electroreduction of carbon dioxide is an enabling technology that can produce valuable chemicals, notably C1 (for example, formic acid and carbon monoxide) and C2 chemicals (for example, ethylene and ethanol), with a minimal or even negative carbon footprint. Now, a techno-economic analysis shows that only the C1 products can achieve competitive prices, while substantial improvements in process economics are needed for C2.

      • Robert S. Weber
      News & Views
    • Plastics have posed substantial environmental and human health risks, therefore their design, manufacturing and disposal should incorporate sustainability considerations. Now a study reports success in developing hydroplastics from renewable cellulosic biomass that can be shaped in water.

      • Liang Yuan
      • Leman Buzoglu Kurnaz
      • Chuanbing Tang
      News & Views
    • Perovskite solar cell modules are expected to enter the market in the near future, but their implications in terms of sustainability compared to other photovoltaic devices are still debated. Now a study lays the groundwork for their eco-design.

      • Maria Laura Parisi
      • Adalgisa Sinicropi
      News & Views
    • The transfer of public funds between governments within a country based on ecological indicators is an emerging tool in environmental policy. A review of extant and proposed schemes identifies challenges and opportunities to expand the use of this instrument.

      • Jonah Busch
      • Irene Ring
      • Kecen Zhou
      Review Article
    • Private cars are valued not just for their functionality but also for the freedom, autonomy or status they offer. New research quantifies the value individuals assign to car ownership and shows that more than half of it derives from non-use value.

      • Sonja Haustein
      News & Views
  • Multiple policy tools are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Åsa Persson, from the Stockholm Environment Institute and a member of the Independent Group of Scientists working on the 2023 United Nations Global Sustainable Development Report, speaks to Nature Sustainability about the complexity of research comparing the impacts of policy instruments.

    • Aiora Zabala
    Q&A
  • Nature Sustainability welcomes research comparing the performance of environmental policy instruments to better inform the choice of policies and ultimately help to bridge the science–policy gap.

    Editorial
  • Natural capital accounting will confirm what we know — without change, we are headed for environmental disaster resulting from economic growth. We propose a natural capital bank, a new institution to help maintain natural capital adequacy and chart a course to a sustainable future via accounting.

    • Michael J. Vardon
    • Heather Keith
    • David B. Lindenmayer
    Comment
  • Scientific evidence sheds light on the extent, source and type of litter in the oceans, as well as on the limited efforts to clean it up so far. As we rely on healthy oceans for our future, it’s time to act.

    Editorial
  • A Global Pact for the Environment is gathering pace to become a binding international agreement. Yann Aguila, Sciences Po, and Jorge Viñuales, University of Cambridge, talk to Nature Sustainability about its global significance and potential, and about the importance of social support to make it happen.

    • Aiora Zabala
    Q&A
  • As transitioning to a more sustainable energy system is imperative, Nature Sustainability and Tongji University launch an Expert Panel to shed light on the integrative research efforts needed to develop the next generation of batteries.

    Editorial