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Volume 2 Issue 2, February 2019

Land freight multiple impacts

Per-capita land freight in the United States, as pictured, has been increasing in recent decades. Bond and colleagues analyse projections to 2050 to examine the emissions, health and climate impacts of US freight truck and rail transportation under various policy scenarios.

See Bond et al.

Image: Mark Stone/CIG/ aerial support by LightHawk/University of Washington. Cover Design: Alex Wing.


  • Transforming human systems to achieve sustainability calls for holistic evidence of their multiple and interconnected facets.



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Comment & Opinion

  • Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons put forward underdeveloped arguments that continue to be reflected in simplistic debates about the drivers and implications of demographic dynamics. It’s time to embrace the complexity that Hardin lacked in order to develop better-informed policy.

    • Lori M. Hunter
    • Aseem Prakash
  • In order to address sustainability challenges, we posit that knowledge generation needs to move rapidly from a disciplinary linear ‘tree’ model to an interdisciplinary ‘web’ model. We show how such a shift is useful by looking at case studies in the context of water management.

    • Junguo Liu
    • Kamaljit S. Bawa
    • Janet K. Swim
  • Planning and design expert Jinhyung Chon, deputy director of the OJeong Eco-Resilience Institute at Korea University and one of the directors of the Asia Resilience Center (ARC), tells Nature Sustainability about the making of ARC.

    • Monica Contestabile
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Commercial aircraft rely on liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Short-range all-electric aircraft have promise to reduce environmental impacts while remaining cost-competitive; however, they will require significant battery improvements.

    • Venkatasubramanian Viswanathan
    • B. Matthew Knapp
    News & Views
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  • Effectively managing natural capital and its associated ecosystem services is difficult given that the effects of most actions depend on the wider environmental conditions. This Perspective presents an analytical framework that allows identifying why and where management actions can best enhance natural capital.

    • Rebecca Spake
    • Chloe Bellamy
    • Felix Eigenbrod
  • Sand and gravel have become important commodities due to infrastructure and coastal protection schemes, leading to shortages on a global level. This Perspective looks at how Greenland could diversify its economy towards export of its sand resources and the potential impacts on the environment and local way of life.

    • Mette Bendixen
    • Irina Overeem
    • Lars Lønsmann Iversen
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  • Coal power generation contributes greenhouse gas and toxic air pollution worldwide. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of such air pollution, analysing data on 7,861 coal-generating units and their supply chains. China, the United States, India, Germany and Russia contribute the most, and pollutant exposure risks are highest in India and China, but for differing reasons.

    • C. Oberschelp
    • S. Pfister
    • S. Hellweg
  • Since the early 1980s, remotely sensed data has shown the Earth to be slowly greening. Climate change, CO2 fertilization and land-use change are competing explanations. Using satellite data from 2000–2017, this study finds striking greening of both China and India, driven primarily by land-use change, with forest growth and cropland intensification more important in China and cropland more important in India.

    • Chi Chen
    • Taejin Park
    • Ranga B. Myneni
  • An integrated assessment of global crop, livestock and aquaculture production, and fisheries landings over 53 years shows how shocks created in one food sector can spill over into multiple sectors, and which regions are shock hotspots.

    • Richard S. Cottrell
    • Kirsty L. Nash
    • Julia L. Blanchard
  • Water utilities worldwide are diversifying their portfolios of water supplies to smooth growing variation in water availability. This simulation finds that the option of engaging in an open water-trading scheme in the San Francisco Bay Area could promote regional resiliency and lowers costs.

    • P. Gonzales
    • N. K. Ajami
  • Various battery recycling processes exist, but the related environmental and economic implications can vary by specific battery chemistry. This study examines the greenhouse gas emissions, energy inputs and costs associated with producing and recycling lithium-ion cells with different cathode chemistries.

    • Rebecca E. Ciez
    • J. F. Whitacre
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