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.

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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 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.

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)

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)

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.

A fire crew conducts a prescribed burn in California’s Lassen National Forest.

Empowering private landowners to prevent wildfires

Controlled burning has proven effective at reducing wildfire risks, but a lack of insurance has dissuaded private landowners from implementing the practice. Policy expert Michael Wara discusses soon-to-be-enacted legislation that would pay for fire damages to neighboring properties in California. (Source: Stanford News)

A barefoot man in shorts and a T-shirt holds the charger for a black electric vehicle parked in a driveway

Charging cars at home at night is not the way to go, Stanford study finds

The move to electric vehicles will result in large costs for generating, transmitting, and storing more power. Shifting current EV charging from home to work and night to day could cut costs and help the grid, according to a new Stanford study. (Source: Stanford News)

Yellow wildfire smoke pollution over a residential neighborhood

Wildfire smoke is unraveling decades of air quality gains

Stanford researchers have developed an AI model for predicting dangerous particle pollution to help track the American West’s rapidly worsening wildfire smoke. The detailed results show millions of Americans are routinely exposed to pollution at levels rarely seen just a decade ago.

Cars are partially submerged in brown floodwaters on a residential street in New Brunswick, NJ

Stanford researchers discuss equity in storm planning and response

Hurricanes and severe storms exacerbate inequalities. Ahead of a Sept. 21 webinar on the subject, Stanford experts discussed how to ensure equity in planning and response for such extreme weather events, economic benefits of nature-based storm defenses, and related issues. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

Illustration of a blue planet encircled by three green rings against a sky blue background

Will AI help or perpetuate the climate crisis?

Panelists in the Advancing Technology for a Sustainable Planet workshop detailed AI’s energy and regulatory challenges. (Source: Stanford HAI)

Costa Rican naturalist and Stanford research collaborator Dunia Villalobos examines a river in Las Cruces, Costa Rica

Riverfront forest restoration can deliver outsized benefits

Analysis reveals how restoring relatively narrow forest buffers could substantially improve regional water quality and carbon storage in Costa Rica and elsewhere. Such changes could have outsized benefits for vulnerable populations that rely on rivers for their water supply. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

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