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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.
Climate effects on Chinese air pollution deaths
PNAS | August 12, 2019

Future climate change may exacerbate the impacts of Chinese air pollution by increasing the frequency and duration of weather conditions that enhance pollution exposure. Under a scenario that avoids 3°C of mean warming but holds emissions constant, we estimate 12,100 and 8,900 more Chinese will die each year from PM2.5 and ozone exposure, respectively.

Hong et al. 2019


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: 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
Climate impacts on beer supply
Nature Plants | October 15, 2018

Concurrent drought and heat extremes in the future may cause substantial decreases in barley yields, leading to dramatic regional decreases in beer consumption (e.g., -32%) and increases in beer prices (e.g., +193%) in some years.

Xie et al. 2018

Selected Press: AP, WSJ, WIRED, ArsTechnica, NY Times, SciAm
Future climate impacts of Arctic shipping
Geophysical Research Letters | September 12, 2018

In the first study to use a fully-coupled Earth system model to look at the future climatic effects of trans-Arctic shipping, we find that clouds formed in response to shipping emissions may offset ~1°C of the overall warming trend in the Arctic by the end of the century.

Stephenson et al. 2018


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