Stanford University
Doerr School illustration

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.

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)

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)

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)

Farmworkers harvesting and shouldering crates of red produce

Extreme heat's impact on labor

Few regulations exist to protect laborers from increasingly frequent extreme heat events. Stanford experts explain extreme heat’s impacts on workplace risks, marginalized communities, and the economy. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

Gustavo Cezar standing in front of cows in a dairy barn

A day in the life of an electricity and cool cow engineer

Gustavo Cezar wears two colorful hats as an engineer with SLAC’s GISMo lab. (Source: SLAC)

Irrigation canal and wheat field

When will California's San Joaquin Valley stop sinking?

A Stanford University study simulates 65 years of land subsidence, or sinking, caused by groundwater depletion in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The results suggest significant sinking may continue for centuries after water levels stop declining but could slow within a few years if aquifers recover.

Rice fields with karst formations in Guangxi, China

Less air pollution leads to higher crop yields, study shows

New analysis shows crop yields could increase by about 25% in China and up to 10% in other parts of the world if emissions of a common air pollutant decreased by about half. 

Tractor on a paddy field in Mekong Delta, Vietnam - External link

Saving the Mekong River Delta from drowning

Southeast Asia’s most productive agricultural region and home to 17 million people could be mostly underwater within a lifetime. Researchers recommend policy solutions including strict regulation of sediment mining, limits on groundwater pumping, and coordination among countries, development agencies and other private and civil society stakeholders. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

Schrenkiella parvula

How one ‘extreme’ plant could help biologists engineer climate-resistant crops

Stanford biologist José Dinneny is studying why one plant grows faster in stressful conditions. His results could help scientists engineer food and biofuel crops to survive in harsher environments. 

Aerial view of Golden Gate Park and city of San Francisco - external link

Massive conservation effort

California has rolled out plans to protect plant and animal life across 30 percent of the state’s most critical land and water by 2030. Biologists Elizabeth Hadly and Mary Ruckelshaus and environmental law expert Deborah Sivas discuss keys to its success, potential impacts, legal precedents, and more. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

Chili peppers drying (external link)

Researchers team with smallholder farmers to address 'the dried chilies problem'

Stanford researchers worked with chili farmers in India for more than four years to develop a solar-powered technology to improve the quality, quantity, and profitability of dried agricultural produce. A new study addresses not only technical challenges, but also barriers to adoption. (Source: Precourt Institute for Energy)

Variety of vegetables

Could going vegan help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Phasing out animal agriculture represents “our best and most immediate chance to reverse the trajectory of climate change,” according to a new model developed by scientists from Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley.

Plants in soil

Can we engineer crops to withstand climate change?

By changing the genome of both commercial crops and soil bacteria, a bioengineer thinks it may be possible to help plants survive droughts by retaining more water during a dry spell, or growing deeper roots to reach soil that hasn’t dried out yet. (Source: Stanford Engineering Magazine)

“Three Sisters” plantings at the Washoe community garden

Native agriculture never went away. Now it is on the rise.

Despite persistent efforts by the U.S. government to eradicate Indigenous farming and ranching practices, they are regaining currency in an American West stressed by drought, diminishing resources and climate change. (Source: Bill Lane Center for the American West)

Aquaculture with video icon

The economics of making fish feed with 'stranded' methane

Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, can be captured and transformed into protein-rich feed for farmed fish – an increasingly important food sector. A new analysis shows how to make the approach more cost-effective than current fish feeds.

Deforestation

COP26: Promise and limits of vows to rein in methane and protect forests

Stanford experts discuss strengths and weaknesses of major pledges at the UN climate summit that target methane emissions and deforestation.

Gas flares in North Dakota

Methane and climate change

Nations around the world are joining a pledge to curb emissions of methane, and the Biden administration is proposing stricter regulation of the potent greenhouse gas. Explore Stanford research about methane emissions and promising solutions.

Corn field and play video icon

Growing climate solutions

A bill under debate in Congress would pave the way to verifying and paying for farms’ carbon savings. Stanford scientists explore this and other opportunities for growing climate change solutions on U.S. farms.

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