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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.
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
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Cites:
Selected Press: MIT Tech, InsideClimate, SciAm
Structural decline in China’s CO2 emissions through transitions in industry and energy systems
Nature Geoscience | July 2, 2018

China's emissions decreased between 2013-2016. Our analysis shows the decline was largely due to changes in industrial structure and a decline in the share of coal for energy production. Decreases may persist if nascent industrial and energy system transitions continue.

Guan et al. 2018
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Cites:
Selected Press: Bloomberg, Reuters, ArsTechnica
City-level climate change mitigation in China
Science Advances | June 27, 2018

We present new, city-level estimates of CO2 emissions for 182 Chinese cities, decomposed into 17 different fossil fuels, 46 socioeconomic sectors, and 7 industrial processes, and examine three scenarios of technological progress to show that large reductions (up to 31%) are possible by updating a disproportionately small fraction of existing infrastructure.

Shan et al. 2018
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Cites:
Selected Press: Reuters
The rise of South-South trade and its effect of global CO2 emissions
Nature Communications | May 14, 2018

"South-South" trade among developing countries is increasing, and helping to reduce China’s emissions by shifting energy-intensive production to less developed regions. But this may make climate mitigation more challenging; emissions are spread among more and less-developed countries.

Meng et al. 2018
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Cites:
Selected Press: Wired, Reuters
Predicting unpredictability in the U.S. energy sector
Nature Energy | March 26, 2018

Analysts and markets have struggled to predict a number of phenomena in U.S. energy markets over the last decade or so, such as the rise of natural gas. I explain new research that shows this may be a result of the industry--and consequently the market--becoming increasingly volatile.

Davis 2018
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Cites:
Selected Press: NPR
Geophysical constraints on reliability of U.S. solar and wind power
Energy & Environmental Science | February 27, 2018

Analysis of hourly weather data shows that meeting >80% of U.S. electricity demand with only solar and wind would require days' or weeks' worth of energy storage--even assuming a continental-scale transmission grid. Today this would be very costly.

Shaner et al., 2018
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Cites:
Selected Press: MIT Tech Rev, VICE