Steven J. Davis
(now at) Stanford University  |  Dept. of Earth System Science
Satisfying global demand for energy, food, and goods without increasing GHGs in the atmosphere is a central challenge of the 21st century.  My research seeks to identify feasible solutions and prioritize actions.
Drivers of natural gas use in U.S. residential buildings
Science Advances | April 3, 2024

We use daily, county-level gas consumption data and interpretable machine learning models to assess spatial patterns in natural gas consumption of households as a function of outdoor air temperature, as well as factors such as household income, employment rates, the size, age and type of homes, employment rates, and a range of other characteristics.

Mittakola et al. 2024

Food without agriculture
Nature Sustainability | November 6, 2023

Edible molecules can be directly synthesized without agricultural feedstocks, saving land, water and GHG emissions. Dietary fats made from natural gas feedstock and average U.S. electricity would emit ~0.8 gCO2-eq/kcal (and 0 if using atmospheric carbon and renewable electricity) compared to 1-3 gCO2-eq/kcal from agricultural fat production.

Davis et al. 2023
Research Brief
Selected Press: The Hill, Anthropocene, Modern Farmer
Plant-by-plant decarbonization strategies for the global steel industry
Nature Climate Change | September 20, 2023

Using a newly developed database of iron and steel plants worldwide, we identify the most cost-effective regional priorities for decarbonization. Our database will be regularly updated and improved to support future plant-by-plant strategic mitigation planning for global net-zero steelmaking.

Tong et al. 2023

Pathways to net-zero emissions aviation
Nature Sustainability | January 30, 2023

We assess nine possible pathways to achieve net-zero emissions from aviation, including changes and trade-offs in demand, energy efficiency, propulsion systems, and alternative fuels for both passenger and freight transport, as well as atmospheric carbon removal to offset non-CO2 radiative forcing.

Bergero et al. 2023
Research Brief
Materials for electricity in mitigation scenarios
Joule | January 27, 2023

We estimate how many tons of steel, copper, silver, rare earth metals, and other materials will be needed to build power generation facilities across a wide range of scenarios. Although wind and solar energy require lots of such materials and current production will need to increase, availability of metals and materials will not constrain the projected expansion.

Wang et al. 2023

Selected Press: AP, MIT Tech
Economic and biophysical limits to seaweed farming for climate change mitigation
Nature Plants | December 23, 2022

Global modeling shows that potential climate benefits of farming seaweed are large but sensitive to uncertain yields and competition with phytoplankton. We also find that carbon removal by sinking seaweed is much costlier than avoiding emissions by substituting seaweed for land-based crops.

DeAngelo et al. 2022
Research Brief