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Sustainable Ocean Economy: Charting a Prosperous Blue Future from Risk to Resilience

To make the case for mainstreaming ocean sustainability and add to the existing literature, Citigroup carried out an original analysis consisting of two parts: (1) an assessment of impact materiality and revenue exposure for industries and a (2) geospatial analysis to identify potential hotspots of marine natural capital loss.

John Virdin of the Nicholas Institute was one of the expert contributors to this report.

Editorial: Emerging Challenges and Solutions for Plastic Pollution

In a special issue of Frontiers in Marine Science, “Emerging Challenges and Solutions for Plastic Pollution,” these authors and others provide a transdisciplinary collection of articles exploring plastic pollution issues and hypothesizing solutions. The topic is broad to include diverse approaches as contributions from all stakeholders are needed to provide a full perspective on the plastic waste problem.

Affordability of Household Water Services Across the United States

Households that cannot afford their water bills may lose access to drinking water and wastewater services. This study seeks to quantify how many households may struggle to pay for water services across 787 of the largest drinking water providers in the United States. It finds that basic water services are unaffordable for 17% of households analyzed (28.3 million persons). The authors select 6,000 gallons per month as sufficient to meet basic needs and define undue hardship as spending more than 4.6% of household income (one day of labor each month) to pay for water services.

Defining Extreme Heat as a Hazard: A Review of Current State Hazard Mitigation Plans

US states must have a FEMA-approved state hazard mitigation plan (SHMP) to apply for certain nonemergency disaster funds and funding for mitigation projects. SHMPs indentify the hazards that may impact a state and detail corresponding mitigation strategies. This report assesses the treatment and definition of heat as a hazard in each state's most recent plan. The importance of extreme heat—the leading cause of weather-related death in the United States—is often understated because it does not fit easily into current SHMP guidelines. The authors provide recommendations to help states adequately evaluate the threat of extreme heat as they update their SHMPs.

Water and Disasters: Risk, Resilience, and Adaptation

The 2022 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum explored what must be done to ensure the water sector becomes more resilient to water-related disasters. How can communities navigate and prepare for the impacts of increasingly common water-related disasters. How do we reconcile different values as individuals, businesses, and government negotiate who receives resources to mitigate, adapt, and recover?

Assessing the Effects of Management Activities on Biodiversity and Carbon Storage on Public and Private Lands and Waters in the United States

Natural and working lands (NWLs) provide many benefits to people, including storing greenhouse gases (GHGs), supporting biodiversity, and generating other ecosystem services. Management of NWLs can influence their condition and function and therefore the benefits they provide. This project surveys the synthesis literature to assess how management actions on various types of NWLs affect biodiversity and GHG outcomes. This information can help to determine how to best manage these lands to contribute to both biodiversity and climate solutions in the United States.

Frameworks, Methods and Evidence Connecting Modern Domestic Energy Services and Gender Empowerment

In 2022, the world remained unequally divided among those with resources and power and those without, such as the energy rich and poor, and men with more power and better pay than women. Cognizant of these inequities, the international community has pledged to close the gaps. This review examines theoretical frameworks on women’s empowerment, takes stock of the empirical literature on the connections between women’s empowerment and energy access, and places empirical results in the context of the theoretical literature.

Western Electricity Emerging Markets: State-Level Regulatory Analysis

After decades of failed proposals, the Western United States stands on the precipice of a regionalized electricity market. Current momentum exists in large part because of the success of extant real-time energy imbalance markets, stood up first by the California Independent System Operator in the mid-2010s and more recently by the Southwest Power Pool.

Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The Contributions of Small-Scale Fisheries to Sustainable Development

The global Illuminating Hidden Harvests study contributes to a more holistic understanding of what small-scale fisheries are, their importance, and why they are essential to efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By using this knowledge wisely within a human rights-based approach in line with the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines, and by empowering small-scale fishers and fishworkers, a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable, and resilient small-scale scale fisheries subsector can be achieved.

Technology Adoption at Public Agencies: Identifying Challenges and Building Opportunities to Modernize Public Water Data Infrastructure

Modernizing public agency water data depends not only on technology adoption, but also on transformation of how data are managed, shared, and used for decision-making. The Duke Internet of Water (IoW) Technology Adoption Program (TAP) addresses both. This report details efforts by IoW to identify challenges faced by public agencies and recommends a technology adoption roadmap based on nationwide surveys and interviews, best practices identified by public interest technologists, and the principles of modern data infrastructure, along with a case study on the New Mexico Water Data Initiative.