Reviews & Analysis

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  • In the face of growing calls to restrict risk analysis to narrow and specific events, this Perspectives argues instead for fully integrated frameworks that bring risk analysis into all aspects of resilience studies.

    • Tom McLeod Logan
    • Terje Aven
    • Roger Flage
    Perspective
  • Sustainable recycling is necessary for wood to maintain its capacity to store CO2 and to smooth the transition towards a circular economy. Now, an innovative approach offers a promising perspective on second- and third-life applications for ‘waste’ wood.

    • Guido Panzarasa
    • Ingo Burgert
    News & Views
  • In the global transition to sustainable development, policy coherence is key. A new study highlights the equal importance of policy dynamism over time — how policymakers must anticipate national advances in sustainability to meet shifting strategic needs.

    • Tiffany H. Morrison
    News & Views
  • Renewable electricity-powered CO2 electroreduction offers a sustainable route to transform the chemical industry. Here the authors overview four CO2 electrolysis pathways that could be immune from carbonate formation, a major technological barrier.

    • Adnan Ozden
    • F. Pelayo García de Arquer
    • David Sinton
    Review Article
  • This article reviews the past decade of literature reporting the application of resilience science in sustainable development practice. Although innovative complexity-oriented practices have emerged, the article shows that dominant applications diverge substantially from the science.

    • Belinda Reyers
    • Michele-Lee Moore
    • Maja Schlüter
    Review Article
  • Despite interventions, the widespread decline in plant biodiversity continues. Urban conservation gardening—that is, the cultivation of declining native plant species in public and private green spaces—can offer a viable approach to plant conservation, complementing traditional measures.

    • Josiane Segar
    • Corey T. Callaghan
    • Ingmar R. Staude
    Perspective
  • Scholars develop scenarios to identify the operational margins of system Earth, but focus less on how decisions are made that affect the system one way or another. Strategy games can help increase the representation of human agency in scenario development, allowing for deliberation among diverse worldviews.

    • Claude A. Garcia
    • Sini Savilaakso
    • Patrick O. Waeber
    Perspective
  • COVID-19 lockdowns stalled protected area management in many countries. New research examines how fire and on-site protected area management are interlinked, demonstrating the novel use of satellite data and statistical modelling.

    • Anupam Anand
    News & Views
  • A global analysis of stream gauges reveals that they are predominantly installed on large, perennially flowing and human-impacted rivers. The current placement of stream gauges does not provide observations that represent the wide variety of global rivers, resulting in a biased dataset, which has broad implications for ecology, hydrology, and freshwater management.

    Research Briefing
  • A short window of opportunity during the COVID-19 economic shutdown provides striking evidence of environmental disparity.

    • Dena Montague
    News & Views
  • The world is facing a sand crisis, as booming sand use poses global sustainability challenges. A study now presents a blueprint for a less sand-demanding future, where synergistic material-efficiency strategies are crucial for curbing sand demand.

    • Zhi Cao
    • Eric Masanet
    News & Views
  • Today’s energy systems rely on rechargeable batteries but the growing demand raises environmental concerns. As more data become available, sensing can play a key role in advancing utilization strategies for new and used lithium-ion devices. This Review discusses how optical sensors can help to improve the sustainability of batteries.

    • Jiaqiang Huang
    • Steven T. Boles
    • Jean-Marie Tarascon
    Review Article
  • 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
    Perspective
  • 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
    Perspective
  • 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
  • Zinc batteries are more sustainable than the currently dominating lithium technologies, but their major technical problems have yet to be fully resolved. Now a new electrolyte formulation addresses most issues and delivers rechargeable zinc batteries with both performance breakthrough and cost advantage.

    • Florencio Santos
    • Antonio J. Fernández Romero
    News & Views
  • Social capital, embedded in people’s relationships, is important for practically all domains of life. Individuals need others to safeguard and enhance their living conditions. A study now shows that social capital helps in the recovery from a natural disaster.

    • Beate Völker
    News & Views