Read our December issue

This month we cover coastal hardening, personal carbon allowances, China's food demand environmental impacts, the imminent Red sea oil spill 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.

  • We are delighted to start publishing a short series of Worldviews from a diverse group of established scholars reflecting on research and policy progress toward sustainability. We hope to engage our broad readership in a constructive dialogue to stimulate further thinking about the challenges and opportunities in sustainability research and practice.

  • We seek two full-time Associate or Senior Editors, one with a quantitative social science background, ideally political science, economics or closely related disciplines, and one with training in system modelling, ideally from civil or mechanical engineering, environmental science or closely related disciplines.

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

Our Open Access option complies with funder and institutional requirements.


  • Greater photovoltaic deployment is critical to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, but the associated aluminium (Al) demand could pose a substantial global warming threat. Decarbonizing the electricity used for Al production and using less primary Al are the best ways to mitigate emissions.

    • Alison Lennon
    • Marina Lunardi
    • Pablo R. Dias
  • Although the clean residential heating transition has been proceeding rapidly in China, the climate, air-quality and health impacts as well as the household costs of various heaters are not well known. This study analyses air-quality–health–carbon interdependencies and costs of alternative heating options at the provincial level across northern China.

    • Mi Zhou
    • Hongxun Liu
    • Denise L. Mauzerall
  • Synthetic fibres derive from petrochemicals that are not renewable and cannot be recycled. Here, the authors show a top-down synthetic strategy that allows for the production of high-performance natural macrofibres from bamboo.

    • Zhihan Li
    • Chaoji Chen
    • Liangbing Hu
    • The transition to a low-carbon energy system requires a huge range of materials for the technologies needed. Now a study highlights how large the demand for aluminium could be with rapid photovoltaic adoption, which could have a massive carbon footprint if action is not taken in the sector.

      • Timothy Laing
      News & Views
    • Agriculture can reduce environmental pressures and tackle poverty and related injustices. Showing examples of agricultural systems that do so while producing food and energy, this Perspective calls for a refocused debate away from the misleading ‘fuel versus food’ dichotomy.

      • Lisa A. Schulte
      • Bruce E. Dale
      • J. Gordon Arbuckle
    • The potential lithium crisis and supply shortages of other metals essential for lithium-ion batteries have driven innovation in alternative technologies. Now a study describes high-performance potassium-ion batteries that can cycle for more than 500 days with negligible performance loss.

      • Matthew Li
      • Jun Lu
      News & Views
    • Understanding interactions between people and nature is increasingly vital. This Perspective argues that synthesizing concepts and theories from diverse disciplines is crucial, and suggests a conceptual framework for unifying this effort and science.

      • Masashi Soga
      • Kevin J. Gaston
    • Both lithium- and sodium-ion batteries could play an important role in combating climate change, but they often suffer structural instabilities in the cathodes, which degrade performance. Now a study on two cathode materials that function in either battery type sheds light on how their structure should be designed to suppress these instabilities.

      • Eric McCalla
      • Shipeng Jia
      News & Views