Research Group
Curriculum Vitae
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.
Reduced estimates of Chinese carbon emissions
Nature | August 20, 2015

Several thousand measurements of Chinese coal and clinker indicate that CO2 emissions in China have been overestimated by 14% in recent years, or about 2.5 billion tons of CO2 per year. This is a very large revision with important implications for international climate negotiations and assessments of the global carbon cycle.

Liu et al., 2015
Selected Press: NY Times, ClimateProgress, BBC
Drivers of the decline in US CO2 emissions
Nature Communications | July 21, 2015

US CO2 emissions dropped 11% between 2007-2013;            a trend has been widely attributed to the increased use of natural gas over coal. We decompose the drivers of the decline and show that the recent economic downturn and not the gas boom deserves most of the credit for the decrease in emissions.

Feng et al., 2015
Selected Press: Climate Central, LA Times, CBS, SciAm, BBC
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 lower-carbon energy sources. Without targeted policy, gas substitutes for both coal and renewables and future US GHG emissions do not decline much even assuming no leakage.

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