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.
Global and regional drivers of land-use emissions
Nature | January 27, 2021

We estimate country-, process-, GHG- and product-specific land-use emissions 1961-2017. Total emissions have increased to 14.6 GtCO2-eq in 2017 (~25% of anthropogenic GHG emissions). Our results may help prioritize mitigation efforts, but suggest drastic reductions in emissions will require similarly drastic changes in agricultural production and/or practices.

Hong et al. 2021
Research Brief

Economic footprint of California wildfires
Nature Sustainability | December 7, 2020

The costs of fires are much greater and more dispersed than the destroyed infrastructure. Of the $149 billion in losses due to 2018 California wildfires, only 19% were related to destroyed infrastructure. 22% of costs are health damages related to air pollution and 59% were indirect damages due to the broader disruption of economic supply chains.

Wang et al. 2020
Research Brief
Selected Press: Gizmodo, E&E, KQED
Near real-time estimates of global CO2 emissions
Nature Communications | October 14, 2020

We present daily estimates of country-level CO2 emissions for different sectors based on near-real-time activity data. This is a new dataset developed during the COVID pandemic that substantially advances the frontier of emissions monitoring. It also represents the genesis of a new international research collaborative, Carbon Monitor.

Liu et al. 2020

Selected Press: SciAm, C&EN
Long-duration storage reduces costs of
wind-solar-battery systems

Joule | August 6, 2020

Using 39 years of hourly U.S. weather data and a macro-scale energy model, we show that currently available long-duration storage technologies like power-to-gas-to-power lower the cost of solar-wind-battery electricity systems.

Dowling et al. 2020
Research Brief

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
Power plants retirements in 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
Research Brief