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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.
Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions
Environmental Research Letters | August 26, 2014

As of 2012, power plants existing worldwide represent roughly 300 billion tons of future CO2 emissions, assuming individual plants operate for a lifetime of 40 years. Moreover, committed emissions from the power sector have been growing globally at a rate of about 4% per year. This paper presents a formal method of commitment accounting that can inform public policy by quantifying future emissions implied by current investments.

video
Davis and Socolow, 2014
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Selected Press: Science, NatGeo, Dot Earth, Newsweek
Methods for attributing land-use emissions
to products

Carbon Management | August 12, 2014

Clearing and use of land produce GHG emissions, but these emissions happen over long periods of time. And during that time, the land may be useds in different ways to produce different products (e.g., corn, soybean, beef, wood, etc.) In this review, we demonstrate several methods of assigning land use emissions to specific products, and show that different methods have dramatically different results. Analysts should communicate their choices and consider the implications in light of their goals.

Davis et al., 2014
Google Scholar
Global and regional trends in greenhouse gas
emissions from livestock

Climatic Change | July 12, 2014

A global accounting of GHG emissions from 11 livestock categories and 237 countries. Beef production continues to cause far more emissions than do pork or chicken production, and global livestock emissions are growing--mostly due to increases in developing countries. Emissions per unit of meat produced is decreasing in most places, but not quickly enough to keep up with rising demand.

Caro et al., 2014
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Google Scholar
Selected Press: LA Times, AP, CBS News
Export-related Chinese air pollution affects
US air quality

PNAS | January 20, 2014

As much as one-third of Chinese air pollution is related to goods that are exported from China, and some of that pollution blows across the Pacific. We find that, while outsourcing of manufacturing from the US to China has probably improved air quality in the eastern U.S. (where such manufacturing was previously located), it therefore worsens air quality in the western US.

Lin et al., 2014
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Google Scholar
Selected Press: NY Times, The Atlantic, LA Times