Sustainability

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Time-resolved in situ (TRIS) X-ray powder diffraction promises great potential to study mechanochemical processes. Here, the authors develop a strategy to enhance the resolution of TRIS experiments to allow deeper interpretation of mechanochemical transformations; the method is applied to a variety of model systems including inorganic, metal-organic, and organic mechanosyntheses.

    • Giulio I. Lampronti
    • , Adam A. L. Michalchuk
    •  & Franziska Emmerling
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Household air pollution derived from cooking fuels is a major source of health and environmental problems. Here, the authors provide detailed global, regional and country estimates of cooking fuel usage from 1990 to 2030 and project that 31% of people will still be mainly using polluting fuels in 2030.

    • Oliver Stoner
    • , Jessica Lewis
    •  & Heather Adair-Rohani
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is much uncertainty on use and impact of pesticides in organic agriculture. Here, the authors compare pesticide use in conventionally and organically managed fields in Kern County (US), finding that organic fields are less likely to be treated but, when they are, they receive similar pesticide amount as the conventional fields.

    • Ashley E. Larsen
    • , L. Claire Powers
    •  & Sofie McComb
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deep eutectic solvents (DES) are intriguing green reaction media for biomass processing, however, undesired lignin condensation is a typical drawback. Here the authors develop a tunable ternary DES system that allows for stabilization of reactive intermediates for efficient lignocellulose fractionation.

    • Yongzhuang Liu
    • , Noemi Deak
    •  & Katalin Barta
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Crop diversification could be important for food security. Here, using methods from network science, the authors find that a positive relationship between crop diversity and nutritional stability globally does not necessarily equate to improving nutritional stability in a given country.

    • Charlie C. Nicholson
    • , Benjamin F. Emery
    •  & Meredith T. Niles
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Selective cleavage of C-C bonds is very important in organic chemistry, but remains challenging because of their inert chemical nature. Here, the authors report that Zn2+ coordinated with N species on N-doped carbon catalysts can catalyze the aerobic oxidative cleavage and esterification of C(CO)-C bonds with high efficiency and activity.

    • Chao Xie
    • , Longfei Lin
    •  & Buxing Han
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Single-atom Rh catalysts present superior activity in olefins hydroformylation, yet with limited success in regioselectivity control. Here the authors develop a Rh1 single-atom catalyst with nanodiamond as support, with which good to excellent regioselectivities to branched aldehydes in hydroformylation of terminal olefins are achieved.

    • Peng Gao
    • , Guanfeng Liang
    •  & Fen-Er Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Efficient production of benzene from lignin is attractive and of great importance, but has not been realized. Here, the authors develop a strategy to transform lignin into benzene over a RuW/zeolite catalyst in water, and the yield of benzene can be as high as 18.8% on lignin weight basis.

    • Qinglei Meng
    • , Jiang Yan
    •  & Buxing Han
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This study combines ethnobotanical and epidemiological data to understand how social networks of seed exchange influence the genetic structure of the African cassava mosaic virus in Gabon. Results reveal contrasted patterns of viral diversity in patrilineal and matrilineal communities, consistent with cultural differences in modes of seed exchange.

    • Marc Delêtre
    • , Jean-Michel Lett
    •  & Charles Spillane
  • Article
    | Open Access

    For printed electronics to realize its potential as a sustainable ubiquitous technology, eco-friendly solvents that deliver excellent ink performance must be found. Here, the authors report a free online tool that identifies functional green solvents for solution-processed printed electronics.

    • Christian Larsen
    • , Petter Lundberg
    •  & Ludvig Edman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A historical reconstruction of water use in Egypt shows the change in relative use of Nile water versus virtual water import, especially in the highly consumptive agriculture sector. A range of future projections of water demand are offered based on several plausible socioeconomic scenarios.

    • Catherine A. Nikiel
    •  & Elfatih A. B. Eltahir
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Afforestation is an important greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation strategy but the efficacy of commercial (harvested) forestry is disputed. Here the authors apply dynamic life cycle assessment to show that new commercial conifer forests can achieve up to 269% more GHG mitigation than semi-natural forests, over 100 years.

    • Eilidh J. Forster
    • , John R. Healey
    •  & David Styles
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Whether or not a city achieves absolute sustainability is difficult to assess with existing frameworks. Here the authors, in a review, show that a further integration of consumption-based accounting and benchmarking is necessary to aid the monitoring and assessment of Sustainable Development Goals in cities.

    • Thomas Wiedmann
    •  & Cameron Allen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Compounds bearing a carbonyl group, such as aldehydes and ketones, are important industrial chemicals and widespread in pharmaceuticals and natural products. Here, the authors report a strategy for visible-light photoredox-catalyzed umpolung carboxylation of diverse carbonyl compounds with CO2, to generate valuable α-hydroxycarboxylic acids.

    • Guang-Mei Cao
    • , Xin-Long Hu
    •  & Da-Gang Yu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Established climate mitigation modelling relies on controversial negative emissions and unprecedented technological change, but neglects to consider degrowth scenarios. Here the authors show that degrowth scenarios minimize many key risks for feasibility and sustainability and thus need to be thoroughly assessed.

    • Lorenz T. Keyßer
    •  & Manfred Lenzen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Agricultural sectors receive US$600 billion per year in government support, providing incentives for GHG emission-intensive production. Here, the authors show that removing this support will not reduce global GHG emissions by much; rather it will need to be radically redirected to contribute to climate change mitigation.

    • David Laborde
    • , Abdullah Mamun
    •  & Rob Vos
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The efficiency of chemical reactions in biological systems is often connected to the properties of confined water, but the developments and applications of artificial mimicking systems are impeded by the complexity of the biological systems. Here, the authors show how surface bound water in nanoporous cellulosic fibers can increase the reaction rate of surface acetylation reactions and enable regioselectivity of the reaction

    • Marco Beaumont
    • , Paul Jusner
    •  & Thomas Rosenau
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ambitious climate policies can negatively impact the global poor by affecting income, food and energy prices. Here, the authors quantify this effect, and show that it can be compensated by national redistribution of the carbon pricing revenues in combination with international climate finance.

    • Bjoern Soergel
    • , Elmar Kriegler
    •  & Alexander Popp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The COVID-19 response has led to unparalleled changes in the functioning of human society, from travel restrictions to changes in consumption. Here the authors use high resolution satellite data to track the global reduction in marine traffic during the pandemic, and more recent hints of recovery to pre-lockdown levels.

    • David March
    • , Kristian Metcalfe
    •  & Brendan J. Godley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The global agrarian transition is characterized by a rise in large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs), whose energy impacts are unknown. Here, the authors assess how LSLAs change land use, finding that they necessitate greater investment in energy to meet demands, and greater greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Lorenzo Rosa
    • , Maria Cristina Rulli
    •  & Paolo D’Odorico
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The scale-up of the coupling of water electroreduction (HER) with organic electrooxidation remains challenging. Here the authors address this challenge by coupling HER with electrooxidation of raw biomass chitin, cogenerating acetate and green hydrogen safely at high current density.

    • Hu Zhao
    • , Dan Lu
    •  & Hong Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    To date we have a myriad of luminogenes at our deposal but many of them face problems like weakened emission in the aggregated state as well as poor sustainability. Here, the authors develop a class of rosin-derived luminogens with aggregation induced emission properties providing good biocompatibility and demonstrate their application in organelle imaging.

    • Xu-Min Cai
    • , Yuting Lin
    •  & Ben Zhong Tang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is expected that tropical deforestation and related increases in heat exposure have negative impacts on labour productivity, but the size of the effect is not well known. Here, the authors show that deforestation reduces productivity by 8.22% in rural Indonesia and causes behavioural adaptation responses like more work breaks.

    • Yuta J. Masuda
    • , Teevrat Garg
    •  & June T. Spector
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Online shopping deliveries are booming, but the environmental cost is not always accounted. Here, the authors examine the impact of delivery services in China from 2007 to 2018 and find that Greenhouse gas emissions surged from 0.3 Mt in 2007 to 13.7 Mt of CO2-equivalent in 2018, they predict that emissions could reach 75 MtCO2e by 2035 if no mitigation measures are adopted.

    • Peng Kang
    • , Guanghan Song
    •  & Huabo Duan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Organocatalytic atom transfer radical polymerization (O-ATRP) is attractive due to its metal-free nature but catalysts are rarely applied at a low loading. Here the authors introduce a catalyst design logic based on heteroatom-doping of polycyclic arenes, which led to the discovery of oxygen-doped anthanthrene as an organic photoredox catalysts for O-ATRP.

    • Qiang Ma
    • , Jinshuai Song
    •  & Saihu Liao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    China announced a ban on its import of most plastic waste in 2017, resulting in an impact on global environmental sustainability. Here the authors quantify the environmental impacts of changes in the flow patterns and treatment methods of 6 types of plastic waste in 18 countries subsequent to the ban.

    • Zongguo Wen
    • , Yiling Xie
    •  & Christian Doh Dinga
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Large-scale meat production can have negative impacts on public health, the environment and animal welfare. In this Review, the authors consider plant-based and cell-based approaches to meat production and the challenges they face.

    • Natalie R. Rubio
    • , Ning Xiang
    •  & David L. Kaplan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Alcohols are more naturally abundant than carbonyl compounds, which in turn are well known for their reactivity in Grignard reactions. Here, the authors showcase a distinct Grignard-like reactivity by using alcohols as coupling partners with hydrazones and synthesize more complex alcohols under ruthenium catalysis.

    • Chen-Chen Li
    • , Haining Wang
    •  & Chao-Jun Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Local human activities can lead to cross-border environmental impacts through the food–energy–water–CO2 nexus. Here, the authors report wide variations in environmental impacts of irrigated agriculture across counties within the North China Plain under different environmental and socioeconomic scenarios.

    • Zhenci Xu
    • , Xiuzhi Chen
    •  & Yunkai Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Urban development has dramatically increased in recent decades. Analyzing 841 large cities throughout the world for the period from 2001 to 2018, the authors disclosed uneven features of global urbanization in terms of urban expansion, population growth, and greening at different economic levels.

    • Liqun Sun
    • , Ji Chen
    •  & Dian Huang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    As low-carbon energy technologies advance, markets are driving demand for energy transition metals, increasing the stress placed on people and the environment in extractive locations. Here, the authors quantify this stress by developing a set of global composite environmental, social and governance risk indicators, and find that 84% of platinum resources and 70% of cobalt resources are located in high-risk contexts.

    • Éléonore Lèbre
    • , Martin Stringer
    •  & Rick K. Valenta
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Islands have disproportionate importance for biodiversity conservation, yet they may be underrepresented in protected areas. Here the authors assess how climate, geography, habitat diversity, and socio-economic conditions explain terrestrial and marine protected area coverage on inhabited islands and in the surrounding seas globally.

    • David Mouillot
    • , Laure Velez
    •  & Marc Troussellier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nitriles are key intermediates in production of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and organic materials. Here, the authors report a nickel-catalyzed reductive cyanation of organic chlorides with CO2/NH3 and urea as cyanation reagents to afford a broad range of organic nitriles.

    • Yanan Dong
    • , Peiju Yang
    •  & Yuehui Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Transparent wood composites are promising engineered materials for green energy-efficient building. Here, authors demonstrate novel aesthetic wood with integrated functions of optical transparency, UV-blocking, thermal insulation, and mechanical strength for this sustainable application.

    • Ruiyu Mi
    • , Chaoji Chen
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Assessments of future virtual water trading are still lacking. Here the authors estimated the global virtual water trade throughout the century and found that virtual green water exports and virtual blue water exports at least triple to more than 3200 bcm and 170 bcm, respectively, by the end of the century.

    • Neal T. Graham
    • , Mohamad I. Hejazi
    •  & Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Oceans provide important natural resources, but the management and governance of the ocean is complex and the ecosystem is suffering as a result. The authors discuss current barriers to sustainable ocean governance and suggest pathways forward.

    • Tanya Brodie Rudolph
    • , Mary Ruckelshaus
    •  & Philile Mbatha
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Catalytic reductive coupling of two electrophiles and one C = C bond is usually performed by two electron transfer metal catalysis. Herein, the authors show a visible light photoredox-catalyzed successive single electron transfer leading to dearomative arylcarboxylation of indoles with CO2 and generating indoline-3-carboxylic acids.

    • Wen-Jun Zhou
    • , Zhe-Hao Wang
    •  & Da-Gang Yu
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Current environmental impact mitigation neglects over-consumption from affluent citizens as a primary driver. The authors highlight the role of bottom-up movements to overcome structural economic growth imperatives spurring consumption by changing structures and culture towards safe and just systems.

    • Thomas Wiedmann
    • , Manfred Lenzen
    •  & Julia K. Steinberger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here the authors develop a set of global, long-term, spatial projections of urban land expansion for understanding the planet’s potential urban futures. The global total amount of urban land increases by a factor of 1.8-5.9 over the 21st century, and the developed world experiences as much new urban development as the developing world.

    • Jing Gao
    •  & Brian C. O’Neill