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Near Zero
Steven J. Davis
University of California, Irvine  |  Dept. of Earth System Science
Satisfying global demand for energy, food, and goods without emitting CO2 to the atmosphere is a central challenge of the 21st century.  My research is aimed at understanding the scale of that challenge and finding ways to meet it.
Systems integration for global sustainability
Science | February 26, 2015

Sustainable development depends upon understanding interactions among multiple complex subsystems, but scientific research tends to focus on one (or part of one) subsystem at a time. This review describes recent progress toward more integrated, interdisciplinary science that is problem-driven, solution-oriented, and intentionally policy-relevant, and then discusses future directions for this science.

Liu et al., 2015
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Bridge or detour?
Natural gas and US CO2 emissions

Environmental Research Letters | September 24, 2014

Leaking methane isn't the only reason natural gas may not reduce GHG emissions: gas also competes against low-carbon renewable energy sources. This paper shows that abundant gas replaces both coal and renewables and in the end has little effect on future US GHG emissions even if there is no leakage. Policy may reduce emissions; cheap gas on its own won't.

Shearer et al., 2015
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video
Selected Press: Science, WaPo, ClimateProgress
Sharing a quota of cumulative emissions
Nature Climate Change | September 21, 2014

Because climate warming is proportional to cumulative GHG emissions, we can calculate emissions budgets that avoid certain levels of warming. The bigger question is how to divvy up that budget among countries. Industrialized countries don't want to stop emitting and developing countries want to emit more. This paper describes a quantitative method for doing the sharing.

Raupach et al., 2014
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Selected Press: NatGeo, Vox
Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions
Environmental Research Letters | August 26, 2014

Worldwide, existing power plants represent roughly 300 billion tons of future CO2 emissions if all plants operate for 40 years, and these "committed emissions" in the power sector have been growing at a rate of ~4% per year. This paper proposes tracking these commitments to quantify future emissions implied by current investments.

Shearer et al., 2015
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video
Selected Press: Science, Dot Earth, Newsweek, Guardian