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  • In the context of climate change, the discourse of capacity building may reproduce colonial power dynamics by framing adaptation failures as the responsibility of marginalized communities. “Capacity sharing” offers an alternative paradigm for a more environmentally just and decolonial approach to managing local climate risks.

    • Stephen Lezak
  • Land degradation threatens livelihoods with the potential to displace vulnerable groups, yet its impacts on migration are poorly understood as environmental migration research mainly focuses on the impacts of climate change on migration. We argue that addressing this gap is vital as land degradation poses risks for sustainability.

    • Kathleen Hermans
    • Daniel Müller
    • Lindsay C. Stringer
  • Principles underpinning the 2030 Agenda — indivisibility, integration and universality — can safeguard against inaction or unsustainable practices but have not yet come into effect. We propose measures to strengthen alignment with them as the world gears up to accelerate implementation at the 2023 SDG Summit.

    • Nina Weitz
    • Henrik Carlsen
    • Åsa Persson
  • Freshwaters require targeted policy considerations to achieve biodiversity conservation goals and to support ecosystem services that communities around the globe depend upon. Effective conservation requires creative solutions that build and expand upon conventional protected areas, contextualized for these diverse ecosystems.

    • Rebecca L. Flitcroft
    • Robin Abell
    • Brooke E. Penaluna
  • Radiative cooling is a technology that dissipates excessive heat without energy input and could address critical sustainability issues. However, the lack of transparency and standardization for reporting of radiative cooling performance risks misgauging the true merits of reported breakthroughs. This Comment discusses the common pitfalls in performance measurement and recommends the best practices for future endeavour in favour of practical applications.

    • Lyu Zhou
    • Xiaobo Yin
    • Qiaoqiang Gan
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a prominent methodology for evaluating potential environmental impacts of products throughout their entire lifespan. However, LCA studies often lack transparency and comparability, limiting their significance. Here, recommendations for best practices for LCA are provided, exemplified by its application to batteries.

    • Jens F. Peters
  • Sustainably addressing the water needs of populations in countries lacking adequate infrastructure is challenging. We discuss the potential of decentralized water and wastewater treatment using electrified processes across Latin American countries and reflect on what would help their implementation in the region.

    • Alexsandro J. dos Santos
    • Haruna L. Barazorda-Ccahuana
    • Sergi Garcia-Segura
  • The healthy watersheds concept links ecosystem condition with human benefits and helps decision-makers evaluate trade-offs. Implementation requires letting go of technocratic approaches, accounting for ecosystem services, embracing watersheds’ complexity and supporting participatory processes and subsidiarity.

    • Derek Vollmer
    • Robin Abell
    • Nicholas Souter
  • Carbon capture, utilization and storage, a fundamental process to a sustainable future, relies on a suite of technologies among which electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is essential. Here, we discuss the issues faced when reporting performance of this technology and recommend how to move forward at both materials and device levels.

    • Brian Seger
    • Marc Robert
    • Feng Jiao
  • Our planet is rapidly urbanizing. Research has recognized the complexity of city-driven dynamics, but our political realities have yet to catch up. A new narrative of sustainable urban development must become central to global policymaking to help humanity respond to the most pressing social and environmental challenges.

    • Michael Keith
    • Eugenie Birch
    • Martin van der Pütten
  • Flooding, already the largest hazard facing humankind, is becoming more frequent and affecting more people. Adapting to flooding must consider more than just water to encapsulate the effects of sediment movement, re-imagine flooding through a sociogeomorphic lens and expand approaches to knowing about floods.

    • Jim Best
    • Peter Ashmore
    • Stephen E. Darby
  • While traditional farming has fed billions of people, it is exerting mounting pressure on land, water and the environment. To complement current agricultural practices, we present a green chemical farming concept that provides pathways to efficient and renewable food production by leveraging chemistry and chemical engineering.

    • Ning Yan
    • Kang Zhou
    • Maxim Park Dickieson
  • We need consensus to accurately evaluate the performance and potential of emerging water production technologies, such as solar evaporation and atmospheric water harvesting. Here we recommend practices that would allow a fair basis to compare different studies, and help to align research input with actual demand.

    • Yaoxin Zhang
    • Swee Ching Tan
  • Having transformed our way of life, rechargeable batteries are poised for exponential growth over the coming decade, notably due to the wider adoption of electric vehicles. An international expert panel proposes a combination of vision, innovation and practice for feasible pathways toward sustainable batteries.

    • Christian Bauer
    • Simon Burkhardt
    • Shengming Xu
  • Most cities lack holistic monitoring and green infrastructure to mitigate pollution in urban runoff. We call for systematic characterization of runoff and more widespread treatment to protect biodiversity and human health. This challenge requires data-driven, adapted, low-cost and sustainable solutions for dense urban centres.

    • Mathieu Lapointe
    • Chelsea M. Rochman
    • Nathalie Tufenkji
  • Contamination of the environment with plastics is one of the most widespread and long-lasting human influences on our planet. There is an urgent need to comprehensively evaluate the environmental plastics cycle and advance understanding of key transport and fate mechanisms to minimize human exposure to plastics pollution.

    • Kevin V. Thomas
  • 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
  • Sustainably transitioning to electric vehicles is challenging where transport and electricity systems are poorly defined due to a lack of data, such as those dominated by paratransit (informal, privately owned ‘public’ transport). We call for a more systemic approach to data collection as a key enabler for this transition.

    • Katherine A. Collett
    • Stephanie A. Hirmer
  • Consensus on carbon accounting approaches at city-level is lacking and analytic frameworks to systematically link carbon mitigation with the Sustainable Development Goals are limited. A new accounting approach anchored upon key physical provisioning systems can help to address these knowledge gaps and facilitate urban transitions.

    • Anu Ramaswami
    • Kangkang Tong
    • Karen C. Seto
  • Staging the Olympics now requires attention to sustainability and urban legacy. Resolving their competing demands rests on recognizing the realities of the host city–IOC relationship.

    • John R. Gold
    • Margaret M. Gold