Environmental social sciences

  • Article |

    A global inventory of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating units, produced by combining remote sensing imagery with machine learning, has identified 68,661 facilities — an increase of over 400% on previously available asset-level data —  the majority of which were sited on cropland.

    • L. Kruitwagen
    • , K. T. Story
    •  & C. Hepburn
  • Article |

    Using global data, econometrics and climate science to estimate the damages induced by the emission of one ton of carbon dioxide, climate change is projected to increase electricity spending but reduce overall end-use energy expenditure.

    • Ashwin Rode
    • , Tamma Carleton
    •  & Jiacan Yuan
  • Article |

    Data on the nutrient content of almost 3,000 aquatic animal-source foods is combined with a food-systems model to show that an increase in aquatic-food production could reduce the inadequate intake of most nutrients.

    • Christopher D. Golden
    • , J. Zachary Koehn
    •  & Shakuntala H. Thilsted
  • Article |

    A range of environmental stressors are estimated for farmed and wild capture blue foods, including bivalves, seaweed, crustaceans and finfish, with the potential to inform more sustainable diets.

    • Jessica A. Gephart
    • , Patrik J. G. Henriksson
    •  & Max Troell
  • Article |

    An intensity−duration−frequency model linking food shock risk to supply chain diversity in the USA finds that boosting a city’s food supply chain diversity increases the resistance of a city to food shocks of mild to moderate severity.

    • Michael Gomez
    • , Alfonso Mejia
    •  & Richard R. Rushforth
  • Article |

    The capacity to create an equitable and sustainable ‘blue economy’ from ocean resources will be determined by addressing social conditions, governance and infrastructure, not just resource availability, as shown by a fuzzy logic model incorporating multidisciplinary criteria.

    • Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor
    • , Marcia Moreno-Báez
    •  & Yoshitaka Ota
  • Article |

    Data from the ICESat-2 satellite quantifying the variability of water levels in natural and human-managed water bodies show that a disproportionate majority of global water storage variability occurs in human-managed reservoirs.

    • Sarah W. Cooley
    • , Jonathan C. Ryan
    •  & Laurence C. Smith
  • Article |

    OsTCP19 is a modulator of the tillering response to nitrogen in rice, and introgression of an allele of OsTCP19 associated with a high tillering response into modern rice cultivars markedly improves their nitrogen-use efficiency.

    • Yongqiang Liu
    • , Hongru Wang
    •  & Chengcai Chu
  • Article |

    An integrated assessment model analysis shows that a moderately differentiated carbon price could achieve as much climate mitigation as a uniform carbon tax, avoiding concerns regarding equity between participating countries or sovereignty.

    • Nico Bauer
    • , Christoph Bertram
    •  & Ottmar Edenhofer
  • Article |

    Estimates of global total biomass (the mass of all living things) and anthopogenic mass (the mass embedded in inanimate objects made by humans) over time show that we are roughly at the timepoint when anthropogenic mass exceeds total biomass.

    • Emily Elhacham
    • , Liad Ben-Uri
    •  & Ron Milo
  • Perspective |

    The authors review how the presence of organized crime in the fisheries sector hinders progress towards the development of a sustainable ocean economy and highlight practical opportunities to address this problem at both the local and the global level.

    • Emma Witbooi
    • , Kamal-Deen Ali
    •  & Omar Salas
  • Article |

    Systematic methods for evaluating progress towards the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are developed and tested using 119 indicators at China’s national and subnational levels during 2000–2015, showing improvement overall.

    • Zhenci Xu
    • , Sophia N. Chau
    •  & Jianguo Liu
  • Letter |

    Nutrient content analyses of marine finfish and current fisheries landings show that fish have the potential to substantially contribute to global food and nutrition security by alleviating micronutrient deficiencies in regions where they are prevalent.

    • Christina C. Hicks
    • , Philippa J. Cohen
    •  & M. Aaron MacNeil
  • Article |

    Analysis of forest-management studies finds that forest removal is more likely to increase streamflow in areas with greater water storage between the surface and bedrock, and that forest planting is more likely to decrease streamflow in drier climates.

    • Jaivime Evaristo
    •  & Jeffrey J. McDonnell
  • Analysis |

    Climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries, and intensifying climate change is estimated to increase future risks of conflict, although other drivers are substantially more influential and the mechanisms of climate–conflict linkages remain uncertain.

    • Katharine J. Mach
    • , Caroline M. Kraan
    •  & Nina von Uexkull
  • Letter
    | Open Access

    The prevalence of improved housing (with improved drinking water and sanitation, sufficient living area and durable construction) in urban and rural sub-Saharan Africa doubled between 2000 and 2015.

    • Lucy S. Tusting
    • , Donal Bisanzio
    •  & Samir Bhatt
  • Article |

    A global model finds that the environmental impacts of the food system could increase by 60–90% by 2050, and that dietary changes, improvements in technologies and management, and reductions in food loss and waste will all be needed to mitigate these impacts.

    • Marco Springmann
    • , Michael Clark
    •  & Walter Willett
  • Letter |

    Isotopic and sedimentary analyses of soils at Pastoral Neolithic archaeological sites in Kenya demonstrate the long-term influence of nutrient enrichment on savannah environments that has accompanied pastoralist settlement over the past three millennia.

    • Fiona Marshall
    • , Rachel E. B. Reid
    •  & Stanley H. Ambrose
  • Letter |

    Satellite data for the period 1982–2016 reveal changes in land use and land cover at global and regional scales that reflect patterns of land change indicative of a human-dominated Earth system.

    • Xiao-Peng Song
    • , Matthew C. Hansen
    •  & John R. Townshend
  • Perspective |

    The future of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean by 2070 is described under two scenarios, one in which action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and one in which no action is taken.

    • S. R. Rintoul
    • , S. L. Chown
    •  & J. C. Xavier
  • Letter |

    Empirical two-part models describe the relationship between conservation spending, human development pressures and biodiversity loss and can inform sustainable development strategies by predicting the effects of financing decisions on future biodiversity losses.

    • Anthony Waldron
    • , Daniel C. Miller
    •  & John L. Gittleman
  • Perspective |

    The current and expected environmental consequences of built dams and proposed dam constructions in the Amazon basin are explored with the help of a Dam Environmental Vulnerability Index.

    • Edgardo M. Latrubesse
    • , Eugenio Y. Arima
    •  & Jose C. Stevaux
  • Letter |

    Options for achieving multiple sustainability goals in land systems are limited, and integrated national-scale analyses are needed across the broader environment and economy to prioritize efficient sustainability interventions.

    • Lei Gao
    •  & Brett A. Bryan
  • Letter |

    A large-scale treatment–control meta-analysis of US fisheries provides evidence that the implementation of catch shares extend fishing seasons by slowing the race to fish.

    • Anna M. Birkenbach
    • , David J. Kaczan
    •  & Martin D. Smith
  • Perspective |

    A review of mineral exploration data and demand forecasts suggests that new international governance links are needed to ensure efficient and responsible future sourcing of minerals for sustainable development.

    • Saleem H. Ali
    • , Damien Giurco
    •  & Natalia Yakovleva
  • Letter |

    The authors report on attempts to increase the yield of smallholder farms in China using ten practices recommended by the Science and Technology Backyard for farming maize and wheat at county level.

    • Weifeng Zhang
    • , Guoxin Cao
    •  & Zhengxia Dou
  • Letter |

    Data from over 2,500 reefs worldwide is used to identify 15 bright spots—sites where reef biomass is significantly higher than expected—and surveys of local experts in these areas suggest that strong sociocultural institutions and high levels of local engagement are among the factors supporting higher fish biomass.

    • Joshua E. Cinner
    • , Cindy Huchery
    •  & David Mouillot
  • Letter |

    Population-weighted analysis of US weather conditions shows that the nation’s weather has generally become more pleasant since 1974, possibly explaining the lack of broad public support for action on climate change; projections of future US weather indicate that conditions will probably worsen.

    • Patrick J. Egan
    •  & Megan Mullin
  • Perspective |

    Careful management of nitrogen fertilizer usage is required to ensure world food security while limiting environmental degradation; an analysis of historical nitrogen use efficiency reveals socio-economic factors and technological innovations that have influenced a range of past national trends and that suggest ways to improve global food production and environmental stewardship by 2050.

    • Xin Zhang
    • , Eric A. Davidson
    •  & Ye Shen
  • Article |

    A multi-model framework that accounts for climate, water, energy, food, biodiversity and economic activity in Australia reveals that a sustainable society that enjoys economic improvement without ecological deterioration is possible, but that specific political and economic choices need to be made to achieve this.

    • Steve Hatfield-Dodds
    • , Heinz Schandl
    •  & Alex Wonhas