Research Group
Curriculum Vitae
Near Zero
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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.
Income-based accounting of China's air pollution
Nature Communications | September 25, 2019

Of more than 1 million annual deaths in China due to air pollution, about 44% can be attributed to consumption activities of Chinese households. We show that the more deaths are related rural than urban consumers, largely due to direct emissions from solid fuel combustion in rural China. Our results may inform more effective and equitable clean air policies in China.

Hong et al. 2019

Climate effects on Chinese air pollution deaths
PNAS | August 12, 2019

Future climate change may exacerbate the impacts of Chinese air pollution by increasing the frequency and duration of weather conditions that enhance pollution exposure. Under a scenario that avoids 3°C of mean warming but holds emissions constant, we estimate 12,100 and 8,900 more Chinese will die each year from PM2.5 and ozone exposure, respectively.

Hong et al. 2019

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5°C climate target
Nature | July 1, 2019

If operated as historically, existing fossil energy infrastructure will emit >650 Gt of CO2, well over the most recent 1.5°C carbon budgets and 2/3 of the remaining 2°C budget. There is thus little or no room for new fossil infrastructure under the targets; rather existing infrastructure must be retired early.

Tong et al. 2019

Selected Press: NPR, NatGeo, LA Times, MIT Tech, Reuters, WaPo
Flexibility and intensity of global water use
Nature Sustainability | June 3, 2019

Some water uses are more or less flexible than others due to larger curtailment costs or social impacts. We construct and present a new water stress index that integrates water scarcity, flexibility, and variability, and use it to evaluate the most-stressed basins worldwide.

Qin et al. 2019

Selected Press: Nature
Net-zero emissions energy systems
Science | June 29, 2018

Although there are many options for reducing energy-related CO2 emissions, some energy services entail emissions that are much more difficult to eliminate. We review technological opportunities and barriers for eliminating and/or managing difficult-to-decarbonize services, and critical areas for further research, development, demonstration and deployment.

Davis et al. 2018

Selected Press: MIT Tech, InsideClimate, SciAm