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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.
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

COVID-19 lockdowns: window into the Earth system
Nature Reviews Earth & Environment | July 29, 2020

In the modern era of global observing networks, pervasive sensing and tracking of human mobility and behaviour, unprecedented COVID-19 disruptions are an opportunity for understanding the Earth System. We hypothesize Earth System responses along cascades of energy, emissions, climate and air quality, and poverty, globalization, food and biodiversity.

Diffenbaugh et al. 2020


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


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