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.
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.

Davis and Socolow, 2014
Selected Press: Science, NatGeo, Dot Earth, Newsweek
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
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
Google Scholar
Selected Press: NY Times, The Atlantic, LA Times
Climate policy and dependence on traded carbon
Environmental Research Letters | July 24, 2013

Increasingly, the goods and services consumed in one country depend upon fossil carbon extracted or burned in other countries. This undermines climate policies adopted by one nation because such policies do not regulate emissions that occur elsewhere. Meanwhile, nations that depend on imports of fuels or emissions-intensive goods are exposed to the costs of climate policies that may be adopted in nations that export these things.

Andrew et al., 2013
Google Scholar
Selected Press: Shrink That Footprint