NEWS Bending the Curve report published

These 10 prag­matic, scal­able solu­tions — all of which can be imple­mented imme­di­ately and expanded rapidly — will clean our air and keep global warm­ing under 2 degrees Cel­sius and, at the same time, pro­vide breath­ing room for the world to fully tran­si­tion to car­bon neu­tral­ity in the com­ing decades. More detail on each solu­tion can be found in Sec­tion I

Ten scal­able solu­tions for car­bon neu­tral­ity and cli­mate stability


Bend the warm­ing curve immediately

by reduc­ing short-​​lived climate

pol­lu­tants (SLCPs) and sustainably

by replac­ing cur­rent fossil-​​fueled

energy sys­tems with car­bon neutral

tech­nolo­gies. Achieve the SLCP

reduc­tion tar­gets pre­scribed in solution

#9 by 2030 to cut pro­jected warming

by approx­i­mately 50 per­cent by 2050.

To limit long-​​term global warm­ing to

under 2 degrees Cel­sius, cumulative

emis­sions from now to 2050 must be

less than 1 tril­lion tons and approach

zero emis­sions post-​​2050. Solutions

#7 to #9 cover tech­no­log­i­cal solutions

to accom­plish these targets.



Fos­ter a global cul­ture of climate

action through coor­di­nated public

com­mu­ni­ca­tion and edu­ca­tion at local

to global scales. Com­bine technology

and pol­icy solu­tions with innovative

approaches to chang­ing social

atti­tudes and behavior.



Deepen the global cul­ture of climate

col­lab­o­ra­tion by design­ing venues

where stake­hold­ers, com­mu­nity and

reli­gious lead­ers con­verge around

con­crete prob­lems with researchers

and schol­ars from all academic

dis­ci­plines, with the over­all goal of

ini­ti­at­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive actions to

mit­i­gate cli­mate disruption.



Scale up sub­na­tional models

of gov­er­nance and collaboration

around the world to embolden and

ener­gize national and international

action. Use the California

exam­ples to help other state– and

city-​​level juris­dic­tions become

liv­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries for renewable

tech­nolo­gies and for reg­u­la­tory as

well as market-​​based solu­tions, and

build cross-​​sector collaborations

among urban stake­hold­ers because

cre­at­ing sus­tain­able cities is a key

to global change.


Adopt market-​​based instruments

to cre­ate effi­cient incen­tives for

busi­nesses and indi­vid­u­als to reduce

CO2 emis­sions. These can include

cap and trade or car­bon pricing

and should employ mech­a­nisms to

con­tain costs. Adopt the high quality

emis­sions inven­to­ries, monitoring

and enforce­ment mechanisms

nec­es­sary to make these approaches

work. In set­tings where these

insti­tu­tions do not cred­i­bly exist,

alter­na­tive approaches such as

direct reg­u­la­tion may be the better

approach — although often at higher

cost than market-​​based systems.



Nar­rowly tar­get direct regulatory

mea­sures — such as rebates and

effi­ciency and renew­able energy

port­fo­lio stan­dards — at high

emis­sions sec­tors not covered

by market-​​based poli­cies. Create

pow­er­ful incen­tives that continually

reward improve­ments to bring

down emis­sions while building

polit­i­cal coali­tions in favor of

cli­mate pol­icy. Ter­mi­nate subsidies

that encour­age emission-​​intensive

activ­i­ties. Expand sub­si­dies that

encour­age inno­va­tion in low

emis­sion technologies.



Pro­mote imme­di­ate widespread

use of mature tech­nolo­gies such as

pho­to­voltaics, wind tur­bines, battery

and hydro­gen fuel cell elec­tric lightduty

vehi­cles, and more efficient

end-​​use devices, espe­cially in

light­ing, air con­di­tion­ing, appliances

and indus­trial processes. These

tech­nolo­gies will have even greater

impact if they are the tar­get of

market-​​based or direct regulatory

solu­tions such as those described in

solu­tions #5 and #6, and have the

poten­tial to achieve 30 per­cent to

40 per­cent reduc­tion in fos­sil fuel

CO2 emis­sions by 2030.



Aggres­sively sup­port and promote

inno­va­tions to accel­er­ate the

com­plete elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of energy

and trans­porta­tion systems

and improve build­ing efficiency.

Sup­port devel­op­ment of lower-​​cost

energy stor­age for applications

in trans­porta­tion, resilient largescale

and dis­trib­uted micro-​​scale

grids, and res­i­den­tial uses. Support

devel­op­ment of new energy storage

tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing batteries,

super-​​capacitors, com­pressed air,

hydro­gen and ther­mal stor­age, as well

as advances in heat pumps, efficient

light­ing, fuel cells, smart build­ings and

sys­tems inte­gra­tion. These innovative

tech­nolo­gies are essen­tial for meeting

the tar­get of 80 per­cent reduc­tion in

CO2 emis­sions by 2050.



Imme­di­ately make max­i­mum use

of avail­able tech­nolo­gies combined

with reg­u­la­tions to reduce methane

emis­sions by 50 per­cent and black

car­bon emis­sions by 90 percent.

Phase out hydro­flu­o­ro­car­bons (HFCs)

by 2030 by amend­ing the Montreal

Pro­to­col. In addi­tion to the climate

and health ben­e­fits described

under solu­tion #1, this solu­tion will

pro­vide access to clean cook­ing for

the poor­est 3 bil­lion peo­ple who

spend hours each day col­lect­ing solid

bio­mass fuels and burn­ing them

indoors for cooking.



Regen­er­ate dam­aged natural

ecosys­tems and restore soil organic

car­bon to improve nat­ural sinks

for car­bon (through afforestation,

reduc­ing defor­esta­tion and

restora­tion of soil organic carbon).

Imple­ment food waste reduction

pro­grams and energy recovery

sys­tems to max­i­mize utilization

of food pro­duced and recover

energy from food that is not

con­sumed. Global deploy­ment of

these mea­sures has the potential

to reduce 20 per­cent of the current

50 bil­lion tons of emis­sions of CO2

and other green­house gases

and, in addi­tion, meet the recently

approved sus­tain­able development

goals by cre­at­ing wealth for the

poor­est 3 billion.


Of the 10 solu­tions pro­posed here, seven

(solu­tions #1 and #4 through #9) have been

or are cur­rently being imple­mented in

Cal­i­for­nia (see “The Cal­i­for­nia Experience:

1960 to 2015” in this exec­u­tive summary).

California’s expe­ri­ence pro­vides valuable

lessons, and in some cases direct models,

for scal­ing these solu­tions to other states

and nations. Decades of research on

Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia cam­puses and

in national lab­o­ra­to­ries man­aged by the

uni­ver­sity con­tributed sig­nif­i­cantly to the

devel­op­ment of these solu­tions. Several

of the renew­able energy technology

solu­tions in solu­tions #6 and #7 have been

field tested on Uni­ver­sity of California

cam­puses (see “The Car­bon Neutrality

Ini­tia­tive of the Uni­ver­sity of California”

in this report). Scal­ing these solu­tions to

other states and nations and eventually

glob­ally will require atti­tu­di­nal and

behav­ioral changes cov­ered in solutions

#2 and #3.

UC researchers cur­rently are working

on many of these solu­tions, along with

col­leagues around the world. UC faculty

also are involved in research on solution

#10 to iden­tify and improve car­bon sinks

in nat­ural and man­aged ecosys­tems by

expand­ing exist­ing, proven practices

world­wide. The cost of fully implementing

these solu­tions will be sig­nif­i­cant, but

Cal­i­for­nia shows that it can be done while

main­tain­ing a thriv­ing econ­omy. And the

cost is well jus­ti­fied in light of the social

costs of car­bon emis­sions, including

7 mil­lion deaths every year due to air

pol­lu­tion linked to fos­sil fuel and biomass

burn­ing which also releases climate

warm­ing pol­lu­tants to the atmosphere.

If we can scale these 10 solutions

begin­ning now, we can dra­mat­i­cally bend

the curve of deadly air pol­lu­tion and

global warm­ing world­wide. California

can’t bend the curve on its own. Neither

can the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. But we

can be part of pow­er­ful net­works and

col­lab­o­ra­tions to scale these solutions.

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