Desalination membrane

Read our June issue

This month we cover desalination, land restoration, air pollution, procurement incentives for electric vehicles, monitoring global development aid and more.


  • As a result of the significant disruption that is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we are aware that many researchers will have difficulty in meeting the timelines associated with our peer review process during normal times. Please do let us know if you need additional time. Our systems will continue to remind you of the original timelines but we intend to be highly flexible at this time.

  • Batteries are crucial to move towards a more sustainable energy supply. This Focus highlights recent advances on battery technology research that has embedded sustainability principles in different components and at different life cycle stages.

Nature Sustainability is a Transformative Journal; authors can publish using the traditional publishing route OR via immediate gold Open Access.

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  • The Sustainable Development Goals were launched as a worldwide governance framework, but little is known about their actual political impacts. This study shows evidence that the Sustainable Development Goals have had largely a discursive influence and only limited transformative political impact.

    • Frank Biermann
    • Thomas Hickmann
    • Birka Wicke
    Analysis Open Access
  • If people had truly unlimited wants as assumed in economics, pursuing sustainability would be a real challenge. This study provides evidence that most people’s wants are moderate rather than unlimited, suggesting that policies limiting wealth in pursuit of sustainability could be acceptable to many.

    • Paul G. Bain
    • Renata Bongiorno
  • The importance of ensuring access to clean drinking water is manifested in UN Sustainable Development Goals. Here, a national-level assessment of tap-water safety shows spatial variations across China. The disparity is correlated with natural and anthropogenic factors and linked to public health-risk rates.

    • Mengjie Liu
    • Nigel Graham
    • Wenzheng Yu
  • Vehicles are responsible for a large share of urban air pollution, but emissions estimates omit the full driving cycle or focus on only a few vehicles. Using GPS traces, emissions from thousands of private vehicles in three European cities are estimated to identify gross polluters and grossly polluted roads.

    • Matteo Böhm
    • Mirco Nanni
    • Luca Pappalardo
  • 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
  • Commemorating the environmental movement matters, but fulfilling its goals matters more.

  • The protection and enhancement of biological diversity as an essential driver of sustainable development is in need of transformative change. It’s time to make that happen.

  • Debates about the need to avert environmental disasters and to help the most vulnerable are marred by economic and energy security concerns. They shouldn’t be, as the only path to success is a green and equitable one.

  • 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
  • A panel of leading global experts working at the forefront of battery research and applications shares insights into how further development of this critical energy technology can effectively integrate sustainability principles.