Prof. Davis works to understand and find ways to meet the challenge of satisfying global demand for energy, food, and goods without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
He is interested in studies of coupled human and natural systems and sustainable systems analysis, including: energy technology and policy; of pollution and resources embodied in international trade; of socio-economic inertia and “lock-in” of environmental problems; and of the complex interactions of energy systems, agriculture, climate change, and global ecology.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Highly Cited Researcher (professional)
ESA Sustainability Science Award (professional)
AGU James B. Macelwane Medal (professional)
Cozzarelli Prize (professional)
Stanford University: PhD, Geological and Environmental Sciences 2008
Virginia School of Law, University of Virginia: JD 2001
University of Florida: BA, Political Science and Philosophy 1998
Phi Beta Kappa
- AGU Mentoring Network : Mentor
- IPCC : Contributing Author of AR6
- Global Carbon Project : Member of Scientific Steering Committee
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Geophysical Union : Fellow
- State Bar of California
Media Appearances (5)
California’s air quality regulations help farmers prosper
“Many California farmers may not appreciate that air quality standards have had such a benefit on their ability to grow crops,” said co-author Steven Davis, a UCI Earth system scientist.
Air quality standards: A boon to produce?
“A lot of California farmers may not appreciate that air quality standards have had such a benefit on their ability to grow crops,” says Steven Davis, UCI associate professor of earth system science, a coauthor of the study. “The irony is that by fighting against certain environmental regulations, these folks may be damaging their own earning capacity.”
UCI-led study finds California’s strict air quality regulations have helped farmers
Green Car Congress online
Co-author Steven Davis, UCI associate professor of Earth system science, noted that earlier studies on the impact of climate warming and ambient ozone on the state’s ability to grow food have focused on high-volume staple crops such as wheat, soy and rice. Davis and his colleagues chose to concentrate on perennials because of the long-term investment they represent and the fact that California is a major supplier of this type of produce.
California’s strict air quality regulations help farmers prosper, UCI-led study finds
UCI News online
“A lot of California farmers may not appreciate that air quality standards have had such a benefit on their ability to grow crops,” said co-author Steven Davis, UCI associate professor of Earth system science. “The irony is that by fighting against certain environmental regulations, these folks may be damaging their own earning capacity.”
‘Committed’ CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, UCI-led study finds
UCI News online
“Our results show that there’s basically no room for new CO2-emitting infrastructure under the international climate goals,” said co-author Steven Davis, a UCI associate professor of Earth system science. “Rather, existing fossil fuel-burning power plants and industrial equipment will need to be retired early unless they can be feasibly retrofitted with carbon capture and storage technologies or their emissions are offset by negative emissions. Without such radical changes, we fear the aspirations of the Paris agreement are already at risk.”
Impacts of ozone and climate change on yields of perennial crops in CaliforniaNature Food
Chaopeng Hong, Nathaniel D. Mueller, Jennifer A. Burney, Amir AghaKouchak Yang Zhang, Frances C. Moore, Yue Qin, Dan Tong, Steven J. Davis
2020 Changes in temperature and air pollution affect agricultural productivity, but most relevant research has focused on major annual crops (for example, wheat, maize, soy and rice). In contrast, relatively little is known about the effects of climate change and air quality on perennial crops such as fruits and nuts, which are important to dietary diversity and nutrition, and represent ~38% of California’s agriculture by economic value.
Climate adaptation by crop migrationNature Communications
Lindsey L. Sloat, Steven J. Davis, James S. Gerber, Frances C. Moore, Deepak K. Ray, Paul C. West, Nathaniel D. Mueller
2020 Many studies have estimated the adverse effects of climate change on crop yields, however, this literature almost universally assumes a constant geographic distribution of crops in the future. Movement of growing areas to limit exposure to adverse climate conditions has been discussed as a theoretical adaptive response but has not previously been quantified or demonstrated at a global scale.
Climate effects of aerosols reduce economic inequalityNature Climate Change
Yixuan Zheng, Steven J. Davis, Geeta G. Persad, Ken Caldeira
2020 The climate effects of anthropogenic aerosols have masked some of the warming induced by GHGs1 along with some impacts of that warming2. These temperature effects may be beneficial but are almost certainly overwhelmed by aerosols’ negative health impacts3. Recent analyses of economic impacts have concluded that warming harms economies in warm climates, but provides economic benefits in cold climates.
Global urban expansion offsets climate-driven increases in terrestrial net primary productivityNature Communications
Xiaoping Liu, Fengsong Pei, Youyue Wen, Xia Li, Changjiang Wu Shaojian Wang, Yiling Cai, Jianguo Wu, Jun Chen, Klaus Hubacek Kuishuang Feng, Junguo Liu, Steven J. Davis, Wenping Yuan, Le Yu, Zhu Liu
2019 The global urbanization rate is accelerating; however, data limitations have far prevented robust estimations of either global urban expansion or its effects on terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP). Here, using a high resolution dataset of global land use/cover (GlobeLand30), we show that global urban areas expanded by an average of 5694 km2 per year between 2000 and 2010.
Inequality of household consumption and air pollution-related deaths in ChinaNature Communications
Hongyan Zhao, Guannan Geng, Qiang Zhang, Steven J Davis, Xin Li, Yang Liu, Liqun Peng, Meng Li, Bo Zheng, Hong Huo, Lin Zhang, Daven K Henze, Zhifu Mi, Zhu Liu, Dabo Guan, Kebin He
2019 Substantial quantities of air pollution and related health impacts are ultimately attributable to household consumption. However, how consumption pattern affects air pollution impacts remains unclear. Here we show, of the 1.08 (0.74–1.42) million premature deaths due to anthropogenic PM2.5 exposure in China in 2012, 20% are related to household direct emissions through fuel use and 24% are related to household indirect emissions embodied in consumption of goods and services.