Volume 4

  • No. 12 December 2021

    Future coastal hardening

    The world’s coasts are increasingly covered with built structures, such as piers and seawalls. Using New Zealand as a case study, Floerl and colleagues find that coastal infrastructure has replaced more than half of the coastline of 30 urban centres worldwide and forecast future hardening hotspots.

    See Floerlet al.

  • No. 11 November 2021

    Human activity and landslide risk in Africa

    Population pressure and land-use change affect landslide risk. Depicker and colleagues analyse the impact of population dynamics, conflicts and deforestation on landslide risk in the Kivu Rift region (pictured), Eastern Africa.

    See Depickeret al.

  • No. 10 October 2021

    Tuna-dependent economies and climate change

    Climate change will shift tuna fish away from the tropics. The study by Bell and colleagues finds two routes to sustaining the tuna-dependent economies of Pacific Small Island Developing States—reducing greenhouse gas emissions or negotiating to maintain the current benefits they receive from tuna.

    See Bell et al.

  • No. 9 September 2021

    Iron and steel production emissions standards

    Governments’ interventions to curb industrial emissions are rarely evaluated. Mi and colleagues have now developed hourly, facility-level emissions estimates to assess the effects of strengthened emissions standards on pollution from China’s iron and steel industry.

    See Bo et al.

  • No. 8 August 2021

    High-performance textiles from plastics

    As a major polluter, the fashion industry would benefit from the development of sustainable textiles. Boriskina and colleagues engineer plastic waste into wearable fabrics with combined low environmental impact and advanced functionalities such as moisture wicking, stain resistance and recyclability.

    See Alberghini et al.

  • No. 7 July 2021

    Energy–water synergies

    Estimates of the water savings and financial benefits of covering canals with solar panels are rare. McKuin and colleagues find that in the case of California’s canal network, evaporation savings could be substantial and the financial benefits could outweigh the costs of the cable-support structures required to span the canals.

    See McKuin et al.

  • No. 6 June 2021

    Ocean litter

    Using comprehensive data, the study by González-Fernández and colleagues estimates the extent to which riverine floating macrolitter across Europe is transferred to the ocean while the article by Morales-Caselles and co-authors finds that global marine litter is dominated by plastics from take-out food, followed by fishing gear.

    See Morales-Caselles et al. and González-Fernández et al.

  • No. 5 May 2021

    Engineering orbital orientation for greener battery cathode chemistry

    The current reliance of the cathode of lithium-ion batteries on cobalt poses challenges in terms of sustainability. Xia and colleagues engineer the atomic orbitals to realize a high-performance cathode that is based on environmentally friendly and low-cost manganese.

    See Zhu et al.

  • No. 4 April 2021

    Olympics’ declining sustainability

    Despite efforts to make the Olympics 'greener', a study by Müller and colleagues reveals the Summer and Winter Games have become less sustainable over time due to size, spending and footprint.

    See Müller et al.

  • No. 3 March 2021

    Shaping sustainable cooling

    Cooling demand is expected to increase. A new framework of socio-economic, technological, environmental and geopolitical factors allows researchers to identify sustainable cooling solutions, which go beyond improving technology.

    See Khosla et al.

  • No. 2 February 2021

    Oil palm certification and well-being

    Palm oil sustainability certification should achieve both environmental and socioeconomic goals, but its effectiveness on the latter is unclear. Santika and colleagues found that in Indonesia the scheme improved well-being in villages where livelihoods were primarily market-based, but had no effect where subsistence livelihoods dominated.

    See Santika et al.

  • No. 1 January 2021

    Carbon trade-offs of animal agriculture

    Producing meat requires more land than plants, which could be restored into ecosystems that capture carbon. Hayek and colleagues quantify the carbon opportunity cost of extensive meat production and find that shifting to plant-based diets would capture a CO2 amount that remarkably contributes to the 1.5 °C climate change target.

    See Hayek et al.