A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts who are predicting the consequences of future emission pathways, mapping out viable climate solutions, enabling better carbon accounting and revealing the stakes of ambitious emission targets.
The results contradict a widely accepted assumption in climate models that biomass and soil carbon will increase in tandem in the coming decades and highlight the importance of grasslands in helping to draw down carbon.
Among the dozens of countries that reduced their emissions 2016-2019, carbon dioxide emissions fell at roughly one tenth the rate needed worldwide to hold global warming well below 2°C relative to preindustrial levels, a new study finds.
A new study finds emissions from deforestation, conversion of wild landscapes to agriculture, and other changes in land use worldwide contributed 25 percent of all human-caused emissions between 2001 and 2017.
Carbon dioxide emissions from oil, gas and coal this year are predicted to reach approximately 34 billion tons, a 7 percent drop from fossil emission levels in 2019. Emissions from transport account for the largest share of the global decrease.
"Lockdowns requiring us to shelter at home, and global unemployment are not sustainable ways to cut emissions," Rob Jackson writes. Among other changes, cleaning up the global energy sector while still supplying more energy for a billion people living in poverty will be needed to attain climate goals.
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is the most important greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide and the biggest human-related threat to the ozone layer. Now, emissions of the gas are rising faster than expected.
Inês Azevedo, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, Scott Fendorf, Rob Jackson, Simona Onori, and Sally Benson were among the recipients to receive funding for energy research projects based on ideas for building a sustainable, affordable, and secure energy future.
"I have grave misgivings about gigaton-scale natural solutions," or forestry offsets, said Rob Jackson. "And gigaton-scale is the only thing that matters when we're talking about the coal and oil and natural gas industries."
Methane emissions have hit a record high, driven by coal mining, oil production, natural gas production, landfills and cattle and sheep ranching, according to research from the Global Carbon Project, an initiative led by Rob Jackson.
"Cows, oil and gas wells, rice paddies, landfills. These are some of the biggest sources of methane staining the atmosphere today," Rob Jackson and co-authors write in an op-ed describing their newly published studies of global methane emissions.
"Emissions from cattle and other ruminants are almost as large as those from the fossil fuel industry for methane," said Rob Jackson. "People joke about burping cows without realizing how big the source really is."
The pandemic has tugged carbon emissions down, temporarily. But levels of the powerful heat-trapping gas methane continue to climb, dragging the world further away from a path that skirts the worst effects of global warming.
Worldwide emissions of methane have hit the “highest levels on record”, according to the latest update to the Global Methane Budget from the Global Carbon Project, an initiative chaired by Stanford's Rob Jackson.
Stanford Science Fellows will collaborate with multiple PIs across different disciplines in the natural sciences while pursuing projects of their own design. Sarah Cooley’s research will focus on harnessing miniature satellites for the remote study of greenhouse methane emissions from Arctic waters.
Global carbon dioxide emissions are down dramatically in the wake of COVID-19. A new study pinpoints where energy demand has dropped the most, estimates the impact on annual emissions and points the way to a less polluted future.
Emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from water heaters are higher than previously estimated, especially for a new type of heater growing in popularity, a new study finds. But simple fixes exist.
Experts say that the conronavirus could hurt climate change action in the long run. Companies that are currently hurting financially will be likely to delay or cancel climate-friendly projects, says Stanford's Rob Jackson.
A new study says that natural sources, or "seeps," account for much less of the global methane output than previously thought. “If it's not coming from seeps, then it's coming from fossil-fuel operations,” says Rob Jackson.
Plants around the world are growing at a slower than expected. Researchers say insufficient nutrients in the soil may be the culprit. A new world nutrient map provides a framework for predicting what areas around the world will be successful carbon sinks in the future.
It is estimated that the emissions caused by Australia's wildfires are nearly double the country's annual fossil fuel emissions, according to research. "If these runaway fires become more normal, we're in for a very different world," says Rob Jackson.
Australian wildfires have released an estimate of 900 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. "We have seen years with extremely high carbon dioxide emissions — it's certainly not normal, but these numbers are not at all impossible," says Rob Jackson.
"I am, I have to confess, not very optimistic that in a five-to-year timescale, we'll see a peak in emissions," says Rob Jackson about the continued rise in carbon emissions. "I hope I'm wrong. I really hope I'm wrong."
Natural gas use is surging across the world and fossil fuel emissions are hitting records that are unsustainable for the planet. "Any growth is more than we can afford right now,” says Rob Jackson. “What we need is for emissions to stabilize and drop.”
Although natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, it’s still one of the biggest sources of climate pollution. Globally, planet-warming carbon emissions from natural gas are rising more quickly than emissions from coal are falling, according to research led by Rob Jackson.
"I don’t know of any other oil company that has pledged to be carbon-neutral, including the burning of their products,” says Rob Jackson about Spanish oil giant Repsol SA announcing their ambitious reduction efforts. “That is quite remarkable.”
"It's hard to view slower growth as good news. But nonetheless, compared to last year and 2017 the growth rate was down substantially. What we need is for emissions to decline, not to rise slowly," says Rob Jackson.
"The two places where renewables and natural gas are both displacing coal are here in the United States and in Europe," Rob Jackson says. But elsewhere around the world, "most of the new gas being burned isn't replacing coal – it's providing new energy for people."
Coal use is down dramatically in the United States and the European Union, and renewable energy is gaining traction. But rising natural gas and oil use in 2019 increased the world’s carbon dioxide emissions modestly for a third straight year.
"Globally, most of the new natural gas being used isn't displacing coal, it's providing new energy. That's the key interaction, and that's true for renewables even," said Rob Jackson. "We need renewables that displace fossil fuels, not supplement them."
“Emissions grew more slowly than last year but we still set a global record. It’s hard to be upbeat about that,” said Rob Jackson. “The U.S. National Academy of Sciences sounded the alarm on carbon and climate 40 years ago. Since then, global carbon dioxide emissions have doubled, and the world is hurtling towards catastrophic climate change.”
“Obviously it’s a bad thing,” that this is the third year in a row that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have increased. “It’s just one more year where we churn along emitting record levels of carbon-dioxide pollution. The years and decades are slipping by,” Rob Jackson said.
For more than two years President Donald Trump has talked about pulling out of the landmark Paris climate agreement. Rob Jackson, chair of the Global Carbon Project that tracks carbon emissions worldwide, speaks about this commitment.
Rob Jackson says total global carbon dioxide emissions are rising again in 2019, and other scientists’ warnings about climate change have intensified over the past 12 months. Will world leaders finally listen?
By analyzing decades of experiments, researchers mapped the potential of carbon dioxide to increase forest biomass by the end of the century, when atmospheric concentrations of the gas could nearly double. This, in turn, will enable plants and trees to store more carbon.
Stanford Earth's David Lobell, Rob Jackson, Erik Sperling, Dustin Schroeder, Sally Benson, Roz Naylor, Michael Machala, Rosemary Knight and Kate Maher have received funding for interdisciplinary research to solve major environmental problems.
"If pollution were drops of blood, it's a lot easier to blot them from your fingertips than to clean them from a rug," says Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson in an interview about his research on converting methane to carbon dioxide.
The sweeping plan to overhaul transportation, energy and other sectors failed a recent U.S. Senate vote, but remains a political lightning rod. Stanford experts discuss the science behind the politics.
"We had three years where global emissions were essentially flat. 2017 was a slight uptick. We wondered if it was a blip. It's not. This increase in global emissions is real and more difficult to address than I expected," says Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson.
Coal remains the planet's top source for electricity. As global carbon emissions continue to rise, “the clock is ticking in our struggle to keep warming below 2 degrees," says Stanford Earth professor Rob Jackson.
“The climate consequences are catastrophic. I don’t use any word like that very often. But we are headed for disaster, and nobody seems to be able to slow things down," says Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson.
Scientists are close to monitoring the greenhouse gas emissions of individual cities, according to Stanford Earth professor Rob Jackson, and soon after should be able to trace emissions to individual sources.
The Feb. 14 panel looked at the major causes behind the shift in global emissions, implications for reaching the target in the Paris Agreement, and how efforts can be focused to reduce future emissions.
Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson says he believes the U.S. needs either nuclear power or carbon capture and storage (for example, paired with natural gas) to provide grid reliability and to reduce energy costs
An op-ed written by Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson that notes the financial toll of climate change already being experienced today is cited in a conversation about the cost of the proposed Green New Deal.
Commenting on a two-year lag between a 27-minute spike in pressure in gas pipes and the fine over the incident, Stanford professor Rob Jackson said any kind of overpressurization for that long is worrisome.
"I’ve spent two decades documenting the evidence and effects of climate change," writes Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson. "Hearing talk of a Green New Deal, I feel excitement and, perhaps surprisingly, dread."
Many economists expect carbon emissions to drop in the next few decades. But maybe they won’t. Are we on the worst-case scenario for climate change? “We’re actually a lot closer than we should be," says Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson.
For the first time in four years U.S. carbon emissions increased, mostly because a booming economy used more energy resources, even with a shift toward renewable energy and natural gas. Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson discusses whether a booming economy and rising emissions can decouple.
“We have lost momentum. There’s no question,” Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor who studies emissions trends, said of both U.S. and global efforts to steer the world toward a more sustainable future.
The Global Carbon Project, an organization led by Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson, estimates that global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel sources will hit a record high of more than 37 billion tons this year.
The record high of carbon emissions in 2018 was driven by a solid growth in coal use for the second year in a row, along with sustained growth in oil and gas use, according to new research co-authored by Stanford Earth's Rob Jackson.
Driven by growing energy use, the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels continue to increase, placing the goals of the Paris climate agreement in jeopardy, according to a new Stanford-led analysis.
As nations assemble in Poland for climate talks, projections from Rob Jackson and the Global Carbon Project suggest there is no clear end in sight to the growth of humanity’s contribution to climate change.
A new report from Stanford Earth scientist Rob Jackson's Global Carbon Project puts a damper on hopes that emissions might soon start decreasing, as they must if catastrophic climate change is to be averted.
Renewable energy capacity has hit record levels and global coal use may have already peaked. But the world's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels increased in 2018, and the trend places global warming targets in jeopardy.
California’s wildfires have destroyed homes and communities, and even people hundreds of miles away are feeling the effects of smoke. Stanford faculty weigh in on the health effects and increasing frequency of fires.
An international research team reports that the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels has resumed after a 3-year respite and may increase again next year. Despite the findings, improved energ
Stanford researchers, including some who helped provide scientific information underlying the Paris climate accord, discuss their hopes for the current talks at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
Instead of talking about the polarized topic of climate change, Stanford Earth scientist Rob Jackson suggests focusing on the shared benefits of addressing the problem, including job creation, health and safety.