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Steven J. Davis
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Effects of atmospheric transport and trade on air pollution mortality in China
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | September 5, 2017

Using coupled economic, physical and epidemiological models, we quantify how consumption of goods and related air pollution in each region of China leads to premature deaths across China. We find that 33% of premature deaths in China in 2010 (338,600 deaths) were caused by pollutants emitted in a different region of the country and transported in the atmosphere, and 56% (568,900 deaths) was related to consumption in another region.

Zhao et al., 2017
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Probabilistic estimates of drought impacts on agricultural production
GRL | August 5, 2017

Using a multivaritate probabilistic model, we quantify the average annual yields of major rainfed crops in Australia as a function of precipitation and soil moisture indices during the growing season. In the period 1980-2012, yields were 25–45% lower in dry seasons.

Madadgar et al., 2017
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Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar
PNAS | June 19, 2017

Jacobson et al. argue that wind, solar and hydro power alone could meet all U.S. energy demands at "low-cost." Unfortunately, their work contains errors, incorrect and unsupported assumptions, and inappropriate methods. It's possible to get all our energy from renewables, but Jacobson et al. haven't proven it'll be reliable or affordable.

Clack et al., 2017
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Selected Press: NY Times,WaPo, MIT Tech Rev
Increasing probability of mass mortality during Indian heatwaves
Science Advances | June 7, 2017

We show that small increases mean temperatures may lead to big increases in heatwave deaths in India. For example, if summer mean temperatures increase by 0.5 °C, the chances of a heatwave that kills >100 people goes from roughly 1 in every 8 years to 1 in 3 years.

Mazdiyasni et al., 2017
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Selected Press: NY Times, Climate Central, SciAm
Future CO2 emissions and electricity generation from proposed coal-fired power plants in India
Earth's Future | April 25, 2017

With its growing population, industrializing economy, and large coal reserves, India represents a critical unknown in global projections of future CO2 emissions. As of mid-2016, proposed coal-fired power plants in India are incompatible with its NDC to reduce carbon intensity 33-35% by 2030.

Shearer et al., 2017
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Selected Press: Carbon Brief, E&E, VICE, E360
Trade affects location of air pollution deaths
Nature | March 30, 2017

In a groundbreaking interdisciplinary analysis, we quantify the global links among consumption of goods and services, production of air pollution, atmospheric transport of that pollution, and human mortality due to the pollution. We find that roughly a quarter of air pollution deaths are related to goods produced in one world region for consumption in another.

Zhang et al., 2017
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Selected Press: New Scientist, Guardian, WaPo, Economist
Global carbon uptake by cement carbonation
Nature Geoscience | November 21, 2016

Globally, carbonating cement materials are a large, overlooked and growing sink of CO2, which has offset 43% of the total process CO2 emissions (excluding those from related fossil energy inputs) from production of cement between 1930 and 2013.

Xi et al., 2016
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Selected Press: Science, Architect, MIT Tech Rev
Simulating the Earth system response to negative emissions
Environmental Research Letters | September 20, 2016

Earth system models suggest significant weakening, even potential reversal, of the ocean and land carbon sinks under future negative emission scenarios. Weakening of natural carbon sinks will hinder the effectiveness of negative emissions technologies and therefore increase their required deployment to achieve a given climate stabilisation target.

Jones et al., 2016
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Global climate forcing of aerosols embodied in international trade
Nature Geoscience | September 9, 2016

In recent years, international trade has displaced radiative forcing related to aerosols such as black carbon, sulfate, nitrate and ammonium from developed, net-importing nations like the U.S. to emerging, net-exporting nations like China. We quantify this shift and discuss its policy implications.

Lin et al., 2016
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Selected Press: CTV, South China Morning Post
Carbon lock-in: Types, causes, and policy implications
Annual Review of Envt. and Resources | September 2, 2016

Existing technologies, institutions, and behavioral norms together constrain the rate and magnitude of carbon emissions reductions in the coming decades. We review recent research on "carbon lock-in," the implications for decarbonization efforts, and propose a research agenda that can help bridge the gaps between science, knowledge and policy-making.

Seto et al., 2016
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Quantifying expert consensus against the existence of a 'chemtrails' conspiracy
Environmental Research Letters | August 10, 2016

76 of the 77 (98.7%) scientists we surveyed had not encountered evidence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program, and said that purported evidence are more easily explained by well-understood physics and chemistry associated with aircraft contrails and atmospheric aerosols.

Shearer et al., 2016
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Selected Press: NY Times, Forbes, Vice, Slate, Science
Dislocated interests and climate change
Environmental Research Letters | May 31, 2016

The benefits and costs of CO2 emissions are commonly dislocated across space, time, and organizational level. When beneficiaries have greater political influence than those impacted, the result will be tragically suboptimal. Appeals to conscience and the responsibility of beneficiaries will not solve the problem; so long as interests are dislocated, use of fossil energy must be curtailed by effective policy

Smith et al., 2015
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Correspondence: Reply to ‘Reassessing the contribution of natural gas to US CO2 emission reductions since 2007’
Nature Communications | March 18, 2016

Commenting on our work decomposing drivers of recent trends in U.S. CO2 emissions, Kotchen and Mansur confirm our results but take a 'glass is half-full' perspective on natural gas's role in the decline. Our reply further highlights what we think is wishful thinking.

Feng et al., 2016
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Biophysical and economic limits to negative CO2 emissions
Nature Climate Change | December 7, 2015

Most scenarios that avoid 2°C of global warming require large-scale deployment of negative emissions technologies. We review the impacts and resource demands of such deployment, and conclude that it's cheaper, easier and less risky to tackle global warming before fossil CO2 is in the atmosphere.

Smith et al., 2015
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Selected Press: Climate Central, WaPo
Developing country finance in a post-2020 global climate agreement
Nature Climate Change | October 23, 2015

Emerging markets like China are increasingly financing expansion of fossil energy infrastructure in less-developed countries. The climate finance regime of the future should draw upon the resources of developing (as well as developed) countries to accelerate global low-carbon development.

Hannam et al., 2015
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Targeted opportunities to address the climate-trade dilemma in China
Nature Climate Change | September 28, 2015

China's coal-based energy system and emissions-intensive manufacturing technologies produce drastically more CO2 emissions the same sectors in developed countries. We identify specific industries and provinces where improvements are most needed to reduce the CO2-penalty of trade with China.

Liu et al., 2015
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Selected Press: Sinosphere, SciAm, ClimateWire
Climate constraints on the carbon intensity of economic growth
Environmental Research Letters | September 8, 2015

Using a simple model that includes infrastructural carbon lock-in, we show that avoiding 2 °C of warming with continued economic growth will require extremely low carbon intensity of new infrastructure--even with immediate action, relatively short infrastructure lifetimes, and the possibility of large negative emissions after 2050.

Rozenberg et al., 2015
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Rate and velocity of climate change caused by cumulative carbon emissions
Environmental Research Letters | August 28, 2015

Peak warming will be proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions, but the rate and velocity of climate change may be very different under different emissions pathways, even when cumulative emissions are equal. Thus, the ability of ecosystems to adapt or migrate is sensitive to the pathway of emissions.

LoPresti et al., 2015
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Reduced estimates of Chinese carbon emissions
Nature | August 20, 2015

Several thousand measurements of Chinese coal and clinker indicate that CO2 emissions in China have been overestimated by 14% in recent years, or about 2.5 billion tons of CO2 per year. This is a very large revision with important implications for international climate negotiations and assessments of the global carbon cycle.

Liu et al., 2015
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Selected Press: NY Times, ClimateProgress, BBC
Cost-effective ecological restoration
Restoration Ecology | August 13, 2015

Ecological restoration is big business, but there are few studies looking at the cost-effectiveness of different restoration methods. Using results from a large field experiment, we assess the resulting % native cover per dollar spent according to different methods of site prep, seeding and planting.

Kimball et al., 2015
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Relevance of methodological choices for accounting of land use change carbon fluxes
Global Biogeochemical Cycles | July 21, 2015

We present the results of a new bookkeeping model of land-use change emissions, BLUE, and use the model to show the large effects of different accounting decisions on estimated carbon fluxes.

Hansis et al., 2015
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Drivers of the decline in US CO2 emissions
Nature Communications | July 21, 2015

US CO2 emissions dropped 11% between 2007-2013;            a trend has been widely attributed to the increased use of natural gas over coal. We decompose the drivers of the decline and show that the recent economic downturn and not the gas boom deserves most of the credit for the decrease in emissions.

Feng et al., 2015
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Selected Press: Climate Central, LA Times, CBS, SciAm, BBC
Outsourcing air pollution within China
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | May 19, 2015

Large amounts of air pollution produced in the northern and central regions of China are embodied in goods imported by its affluent coastal provinces. This consumption-based accounting suggests that economically optimal pollution abatement efforts may need to assess embodied emissions.

Zhao et al., 2015
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Systems integration for global sustainability
Science | February 26, 2015

Sustainable development depends upon understanding interactions among multiple complex subsystems, but scientific research tends to focus on one (or part of one) subsystem at a time. This review describes recent progress toward more integrated, interdisciplinary science that is problem-driven, solution-oriented, and intentionally policy-relevant, and then discusses future directions for this science.

Liu et al., 2015
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Non-CO2 emissions embodied in traded meat
Environmental Research Letters | November 13, 2014

More than 30 Mt CO2-equivalent CH4 and N2O emissions were embodied in meat traded internationally in 2010, increasing at 4% per year. This reflects a trend of increasing livestock production in countries with lower input costs, less efficient practices, and more permissive environmental regulations, which decrease global food costs and increase global demand.

Caro et al., 2014
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Selected Press: environmentalresearchweb
A crack in the gas bridge
Nature | October 15, 2014

A suite of global models show that, without new climate policies, abundant natural gas will not act to reduce GHG emissions or mitigate climate change. Consistent with our earlier findings for the US, abundant (and therefore cheap) gas may delay deployment of low-carbon energy sources and increase overall energy use.

Davis and Shearer, 2014
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Selected Press: SciAm, The Guardian, CSMonitor
Bridge or detour?
Natural gas and US CO2 emissions

Environmental Research Letters | September 24, 2014

Leaking methane isn't the only reason natural gas may not reduce GHG emissions: gas also competes against lower-carbon energy sources. Without targeted policy, gas substitutes for both coal and renewables and future US GHG emissions do not decline much even assuming no leakage.

Shearer et al., 2015
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Cites:
Selected Press: Science, WaPo, ClimateProgress
Sharing a quota of cumulative emissions
Nature Climate Change | September 21, 2014

We can estimate carbon budgets for different warming targets, but the lingering and contentious question is how to divvy up that budget among countries. Industrialized countries don't want to stop emitting and developing countries want to emit more. This paper proposes a quantitative method for doing the sharing.

Raupach et al., 2014
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Selected Press: NatGeo, Vox
Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions
Environmental Research Letters | August 26, 2014

Worldwide, existing power plants represent roughly 300 billion tons of future CO2 emissions if all plants operate for 40 years, and these "committed emissions" in the power sector have been growing at a rate of ~4% per year. This paper proposes tracking these commitments to quantify future emissions implied by current investments.

Shearer et al., 2015
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Selected Press: Science, Dot Earth, Newsweek, Guardian
Methods for attributing land-use emissions
to products

Carbon Management | August 12, 2014

Clearing and use of land produce GHG emissions, but these emissions happen over long periods of time during which the land may be used to produce different products. We review several methods of assigning land use emissions to specific products, which have dramatically different results. Analysts should communicate their choices and consider the implications in light of their goals.

Caro et al., 2014
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Global and regional trends in greenhouse gas
emissions from livestock

Climatic Change | July 12, 2014

A global accounting of GHG emissions from 11 livestock categories and 237 countries. Beef produces far more emissions than does pork or chicken. Emissions per unit of meat produced is decreasing in most places, but not quickly enough to keep up with rising global demand.

Caro et al., 2014
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Selected Press: LA Times, AP, CBS News
Export-related Chinese air pollution affects
US air quality

PNAS | January 20, 2014

As much as a third of Chinese air pollution is related to goods exported from China, and some of that pollution blows across the Pacific to the US. Thus, outsourcing of manufacturing from the US to China has improved air quality in the eastern US, but has worsened air quality in the western US. [Cozzarelli Prize]

Lin et al., 2014
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Selected Press: NY Times, The Atlantic, LA Times
Climate policy and dependence on traded carbon
Environmental Research Letters | July 24, 2013

Goods and services consumed in one country increasingly depend upon fossil carbon extracted or burned in other countries. This limits the effectiveness of national climate policies that regulate only domestic emissions. Similarly, nations that depend on imports of fuels or emissions-intensive goods will bear costs of climate policies in exporting nations.

Andrew et al., 2013
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Selected Press: Shrink That Footprint
Outsourcing CO2 within China
PNAS | June 10, 2013

Rich coastal provinces in China outsource emissions to poorer interior provinces. China's province-specific emissions targets may encourage this dynamic even though the cheapest and easiest emissions reductions are in the less-developed interior provinces where the energy technologies in use are unsophisticated and inefficient.

Feng et al., 2013
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Selected Press: The Guardian, BBC, SciAm, Nature CC
Rethinking Wedges
Environmental Research Letters | January 9, 2013

Building on the influential "wedge" paper by Pacala and Socolow, we emphasize that stabilizing emissions is only the first step in solving climate change. Ultimately we have to stop dumping CO2 into the atmosphere altogether; a phase-out of emissions over the next 50 years would require 19 wedges, and more if historical rates of technology improvement falter.

Davis et al., 2013
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Selected Press: Science, USA Today
Carbon Budget of Australia
Biogeosciences | February 7, 2013

As part of the Global Carbon Project's RECCAP effort, Vanessa Haverd and co-authors quantified the terrestrial carbon budget of Australia, including emissions embodied in Aussie trade.

Haverd et al., 2012
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A Synthesis of Carbon in International Trade
Biogeosciences | August, 2012

This paper synthesizes key differences between studies of CO2 emissions in trade and provide a consistent set of estimates using the same definitions, modeling framework, and data. Included are new calculations of carbon physically present in trades wood, crop and livestock products.

Peters et al., 2012
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Cretaceous−Paleogene evolution of the Utah foreland
Geosphere | August 1, 2012

Data from detrital zircon ages, paleocurrent trends, and sandstone petrofacies show that the Colton Formation in northeastern Utah represents the culmination of a persistent pattern of sediment transport northward during Cretaceous and Paleogene time (70-60 Ma). Details provide new insights on topographic and hydrologic evolution of the Laramide foreland.

Dickinson et al., 2012
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CO2 from Fossil-fuel Combustion
Biogeosciences | May 29, 2012

CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels has increased steadily since fossil fuels were first used by humans. Despite international efforts, global emissions continue to increase at a rate of ~3% per year. This synthesis describes how emissions are calculated; calculates global, regional, and national emissions at different spatial and temporal scales; and discusses associated uncertainties.

Andres et al., 2012
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Cenozoic Topography of Western North America
AJS | February 1, 2012

Using nearly 5,000 oxygen isotope analyses performed over the past decade, we reconstruct the topographic development of western North America over the past 60 million years. The data shows that the landscape west of the modern Rockies grew into a rugged and high mountain range bordered on the west by a high Sierra Nevada Mountains and on the east by large lake basins that captured water draining these growing highlands.

Chamberlain et al., 2012
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The Supply Chain of CO2 Emissions
PNAS | October 17, 2011

Nations report and assume responsibility for CO2 emissions from fossil fuels that are burned within their sovereign terrritory. But because both fossil fuels and consumer goods manufactured with fossil energy are commonly transported internationally, nations where fossil fuel resources are extracted or where the goods made with fossil energy are consumed may benefit from (and yet disclaim) emissions that occur elsewhere.

Davis, Peters and Caldeira, 2011
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Selected Press: The Guardian, BBC, SciAm
The California River
Geology | October 4, 2010

Fifty-five million years ago a river as big as the modern Colorado flowed through Arizona into Utah in the opposite direction from the present-day river. By analyzing the uranium and lead isotopes in sand grains made of the mineral zircon, we were able to determine that sedimentary deposits in Utah and southwest Arizona came from the same source: igneous bedrock in the Mojave region of southern California.

Davis et al., 2010
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Selected Press: Discovery News, LiveScience
Infrastructural Inertia of Climate Change
Science | September 10, 2010

What if we never built another CO2-emitting device, but the ones already in existence lived out their normal lives? We calculated the amount of carbon dioxide expected to be released from existing energy infrastructure worldwide, and then used a global climate model to project its effect on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

Davis et al., 2010
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Selected Press: Wired, TIME, SciAm
Climate Benefits of Increased Agricultural Yields
PNAS | June 15, 2010

Agricultural intensification since 1961 has increased yields so much that the area in crops has not needed to change, even as demand has soared. As a consequence, intensification of agriculture has prevented deforestation that we estimate would otherwise have emitted 161 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere.

Burney et al., 2010
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Selected Press: New Scientist, TIME, BBC, SciAm
Consumption-based Accounting of CO2 Emissions
PNAS | March 8, 2010

Over a third of carbon dioxide emissions associated with consumption of goods and services in many developed countries are actually emitted outside their borders. Products imported by the developed countries of western Europe, Japan, and the United States cause substantial emissions in other countries, especially China. In contrast, ~24% of the emissions produced in China are exported.

Davis and Caldeira, 2010
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Selected Press: The Economist, NPR, NYTimes, TIME
Drainage Patters of the Laramide Cordillera
AJS | September, 2009

This paper synthesizing hundreds of isotopic measurements from the Paleogene (~65-40 Ma) North American Cordillera to reconstruct the evolving hydrology of the Eocene Green River Lake system and shifting Cordilleran drainage patterns as the modern topography of the Rocky Mountains developed.

Davis et al., 2009
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Cordilleran Landscape Evolution in the Paleogene
GSA Bulletin | January, 2009

The isotopic composition of 40-60 million year-old lake deposits in Utah may reflect the north-to-south progression of topography and drainage rearrangements as magmatism swept southward through Montana and Nevada and increased the mean elevation of catchments that drained east into the lakes of Utah.

Davis et al., 2009
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Drainage Reorganization and Paleoaltimetry
EPSL | November, 2008

Lakes in the Laramide foreland co-evolved with drainage patterns. Such shifting drainages could confound isotopic estimates of paleoaltimetry. In the North American Cordillera of the Paleogene, for instance, it's likely that (1) changing topography in areas hundred of kilometers from foreland lakes altered isotopic composition of lake water.

Davis et al., 2008
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Carbon Footprint of New Belgium Fat Tire Ale
Climate Conservancy | March, 2008

A report of The Climate Conservancy, which I co-founded with a goal to label consumer products with their carbon footprints. This work was conducted with data from New Belgium Brewing Company, for whom we assessed the carbon footprint of the well-known Fat Tire Amber Ale. We prepared a detailed report.

Davis et al., 2008
Cites:
Selected Press: New Belgium, Beer Activist
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