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Volume 2 Issue 1, January 2019

Policies for the Anthropocene

Transgressing planetary boundaries generates complex and long-run threats. Sterner et al. discuss the importance of analysing the underlying mechanisms across scientific domains, taking politics into account, in order to design policies that allow human life to thrive over time within the biophysical limits of planet Earth.

See Sterner et al.

Image: NASA. Cover Design: Alex Wing.

Editorial

  • Designing policies to maintain human wellbeing within the limits of planet Earth is a daunting task, but scholars and policymakers should embrace the challenge now.

    Editorial

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Comment & Opinion

  • Policymakers and investors have perceived securing soil organic carbon as too difficult, with uncertain returns. But new technical, policy and financial opportunities offer hope for rapid progress.

    • Sonja Vermeulen
    • Deborah Bossio
    • Matthew Warnken
    Comment
  • Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires examining the impacts of health interventions across multiple sectors and identifying regions where health–development–environment conflicts are most likely. Doing this is important for ending the epidemic of malaria by 2030 alongside achieving other SDGs.

    • Christopher H. Trisos
    • Steven M. Alexander
    • Rebecca E. Short
    Comment
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Land-use planning to protect tropical forests requires understanding the relative impact of alternative uses. Low-impact forest management is crucial to produce timber while conserving biodiversity.

    • Frits Mohren
    News & Views
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Reviews

  • Transgressing planetary boundaries has generated global, ongoing and interconnected problems that represent a real challenge to policy makers. This Perspective sheds light on the complexities of designing policies that can keep human life within the biophysical limits of planet Earth.

    • Thomas Sterner
    • Edward B. Barbier
    • Amanda Robinson
    Perspective
  • Since the 1990s, global agricultural output has been driven largely by innovations that raised the efficiency of using labour, land and other inputs, together called total factor productivity (TFP). This Perspective discusses this reality and suggests two pathways for future growth: technology-based and ecosystem-based. Future research on farm-system sustainability and resilience should leverage these options.

    • Oliver T. Coomes
    • Bradford L. Barham
    • Jean-Paul Chavas
    Perspective
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Research

  • Waste plastic can be converted into a potential fuel source using a new nano-scale catalyst. This catalyst has well-defined and uniform surface openings, so it needs only one step to convert low-density polyethylene into a gasoline-type product.

    • Zheng Zhang
    • Kinga Gora-Marek
    • Ignacio Melián-Cabrera
    Brief Communication
  • The Sustainable Development Goals agenda is proposed as an interconnected framework that requires policy coherence for implementation. This study shows that the connections across goals are uneven and that gender equality, peace and governance concerns are not adequately integrated.

    • Philip J. K. McGowan
    • Gavin B. Stewart
    • Matthew J. Grainger
    Brief Communication
  • Maintaining food security by increasing smallholder production is a global sustainability concern. This study uses field trials on potatoes to demonstrate the positive impact of within-species diversification on yield, disease resistance and improved soil health.

    • Li-Na Yang
    • Zhe-Chao Pan
    • Jiasui Zhan
    Article
  • Offshore mariculture could promote food security and economic development while sparing wild fisheries. This model-based study finds that the Caribbean could produce over 40 million metric tons of cobia (Rachycentron canadum), about half as much as the current global wild fish catch, and in less than 1.5% of the study area.

    • Lennon R. Thomas
    • Tyler Clavelle
    • Sarah E. Lester
    Article
  • The rooftop photovoltaics (PV) industry in the United States has grown significantly, but little is known about any racial and ethnic disparity in PV adoption. This study compares the adoption of rooftop PV across census areas grouped by racial and ethnic majority. It finds that in census areas that have predominantly black or Hispanic people, average rooftop PV installation is significantly lower.

    • Deborah A. Sunter
    • Sergio Castellanos
    • Daniel M. Kammen
    Analysis
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