Research Group
Curriculum Vitae
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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.
Economic impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns
Nature Human Behaviour | June 3, 2020

We show that stricter, shorter COVID lockdowns reduce overall losses relative to weaker but longer ones. But even a lengthy period of moderate restrictions is economically preferable to lifting all restrictions if it can avoid the need for another round of strict lockdowns. Regardless, losses propagate via global supply chains; best case responses are globally coordinated.

Guan et al. 2020

Selected Press: Brookings, India Tribune
Early power plants retirements in climate mitigation scenarios
Environmental Research Letters | May 27, 2020

We show that ambitious climate mitigation scenarios entail drastic, and perhaps un-appreciated, changes in the operating and/or retirement schedules of power infrastructure. For example, in 1.5 or 2°C scenarios, the median age of global coal plants at retirement is <10 years.

Fofrich et al. 2020

Agricultural vulnerability to changing snowmelt
Nature Climate Change | April 20, 2020

Future changes in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow and the timing of snowmelt jeopardize food production in basins where irrigated agriculture relies heavily on snowmelt runoff. We assess the most at-risk basins and crops worldwide, where adaptation of water management and agricultural systems may be especially critical in a changing climate.

Qin et al. 2020

Selected Press: Weather Channel, Yale360
Ozone and climate impacts on California's key crops
Nature Food | March 16, 2020

By analyzing 35 years of temperature, ozone levels, and crop yield data, we estimate the impacts of warming and ozone pollution on perennial fruits and nuts in California. These crops, which represent ~38% of the state's agriculture by value, suffer damages of about $1 billion per year due to ozone in recent years. With 2°C of warming, almond yields will drop by ~10%.

Hong et al. 2020

Selected Press: c&en, Fast Co.
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
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