Stanford University
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Stanford Earth Matters

Cattle graze in a sunny field with trees in the background.

COP27: How to reduce emissions and still feed the world

Stanford and Princeton co-hosted an official side event at COP27 to present the 2022 Global Carbon Budget, outline approaches to impact at scale at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, and discuss the challenges and solutions for decarbonizing agriculture.

Lightbulb

The economic impact of expanding electricity access

A new tool that pairs satellite imagery with AI has uncovered some of the strongest evidence yet of the extent to which electrification fuels economic growth. (Source: Stanford News)

Rooftop solar panels, foreground, with New York City skyline and elevated rail in background

Solar panels largely confined to wealthy Americans

Tax rebates for installing residential solar power have done little to spur adoption in low-income communities in the United States, while a less common incentive seems to succeed, according to new research using AI and satellite images. (Source: Stanford News)

A glass of water on a railing with water infrastructure in background

The cleanest drinking water is recycled

New research shows treated wastewater can be more dependable and less toxic than common tap water sources including rivers and groundwater. (Source: Stanford Engineering)

Hands hold a soy plant in an agricultural field

There’s room for improvement in a popular climate-smart agricultural practice

Federal subsidies promote planting cover crops to store carbon in agricultural soils, among other benefits, but the approach as currently practiced can reduce yields in the U.S. Corn Belt, researchers find. Their analysis highlights the need to better implement the practice. (Source: Stanford News)

Water stopped by beaver dam with mountains in background

Beavers will become a bigger boon to river water quality as U.S. West warms

American beaver populations are booming in the western United States as conditions grow hotter and drier. New research shows their prolific dam building benefits river water quality so much, it outweighs the damaging influence of climate-driven droughts.

A woman waits for an electric car to charge

For a longer-lasting battery, make the most of each cell

The secret to long life for rechargeable batteries may lie in an embrace of difference. New modeling of how lithium-ion cells in a pack degrade show a way to tailor charging to each cell’s capacity so EV batteries can handle more charge cycles and stave off failure. (Source: Stanford News)

A man wades through floodwater in Pakistan that left millions of people dispossessed of land and lacking food, water, or work this past October. This year’s meeting of the U.N. Climate Change Conference will have an increased focus on adaptation to climate change.

COP27: Environmental justice and other topics to watch at climate negotiations

International negotiators will meet in Egypt this Sunday for the latest U.N. climate change conference. Stanford experts in a range of fields discuss issues likely to be in the spotlight, including compensation to developing countries for climate change-related damages. (Source: Stanford News)

A wildfire burns at night on a hillside near a neighborhood.

Building resilience in the era of megafire

Climate change and decades of fire suppression have fueled increasingly destructive wildfires across the western U.S. and Canada. Stanford scholars and wildfire experts outline how a path forward requires responsive management, risk reduction, and Indigenous stewardship.

Humpback whales lunge feed in Monterey Bay

Whales eat colossal amounts of microplastics

Analysis of ocean plastic pollution and whale foraging behavior tracked with noninvasive tags shows whales are ingesting tiny specks of plastic in far bigger quantities than previously thought, and nearly all of it comes from the animals they eat – not the water they gulp. (Source: Stanford News)

Tree and grass that are green on left side, dry and brown on right side

Plant processes may be key to predicting drought development

Based on new analyses of satellite data, scientists have found that hydrologic conditions that increase flash drought risk occur more often than current models predict. The research also shows that incorporating how plants change soil structures can improve Earth system models.

Bald cypress swamp

Coastal cathedrals

Years after Hurricane Katrina altered his life’s course, Elliott White Jr. set out to understand what drives coastal wetland loss as a way to help lessen harm from future climate impacts for vulnerable coastal communities. (Source: Stanford News)

Aquaculture seen in blue water from above

Managing aquaculture for human and planetary health

With demand for fish on the rise, Stanford food security expert Roz Naylor offers a perspective calling attention to the need for greater oversight of growing antimicrobial use that impacts the health of fish, ecosystems, and humans. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)

Wastewater treatment plant

Alexandria Boehm: Wastewater helps reveal COVID’s real reach

Civil and environmental engineer Alexandria Boehm joins Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast to discuss how a new form of epidemiology is using the tools of engineering to test wastewater to track COVID-19’s true spread. (Source: Stanford Engineering)

Corn

Food security in a warming world

Heat waves, drought, and floods driven by climate change are already impacting access to food and driving food insecurity in many parts of the world. Stanford professor David Lobell explains how food production and access are impacted by climate change. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)

A surgeon puts a surgical gown into a waste bin

How to make U.S. health care more sustainable

The health care sector accounts for almost 10% of U.S. emissions and is one of the country’s largest producers of waste. Stanford medical researchers discuss what can be done to make it more sustainable, while maintaining safety. (Source: Stanford News)

Building windows with air conditioning units

How can we harness wind and improve airflow to benefit society?

A scholar looks at how wind affects the sustainability and resiliency of buildings and cities, and how we can improve ventilation in homes and other structures. (Source: Stanford Engineering)

Young students sit at a table with a teacher in a classroom near sunlit windows

Wildfire smoke exposure hurts learning outcomes

Pollution from wildfires is linked to lower test scores and possibly lower future earnings for kids growing up with more smoke days at school, a new study finds. Impacts of smoke exposure on earnings are disproportionately borne by economically disadvantaged communities of color.

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