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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.
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


Climate adaptation by crop migration
Nature Communications | March 6, 2020

We show that shifts in crop areas worldwide 1973-2012 have substantially avoided increases in growing season temperatures that would have otherwise have been experienced by rainfed maize, wheat, rice and soybean. This suggests that crop "migration" has thus far been an important adaptive mechansim.

Sloat et al. 2020


Climate effects of aerosols reduce economic equality
Nature Climate Change | February 17, 2020

Despite their large negative impacts on human health, anthropogenic aerosols have masked some of the global warming induced by GHGs. Our simulations show that--although the net effects of this cooling on the global economy are small--they benefit developing tropical economies while harming developed high-latitude economies, thereby diminishing national inequality.

Zheng et al. 2020


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