This is evident in the increased frequency and intensity of storms, hurricanes, floods, heat waves, droughts and forest fires. These extreme events, as well as the spread of certain infectious diseases, worsened air pollution, drinking water contamination and food shortages, are creating the beginning of what soon will be a global public health crisis.
A whole new navigable ocean is opening in the Arctic.
Sea levels are rising, causing major damage in the world’s most populous cities. All this has resulted from warming the planet by only about 0.9 degrees Celsius, primarily from human activities. Since 1750, we have emitted 2 trillion metric tons
of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. The emission in
2011 was around 50 billion tons and is growing at a rate of 2.2 percent per year. If this rate of increase continues unabated, the world is on target to warm by about 2 degrees Celsius in less than 40 years. By the end of the century, warming could range from 2.5 degrees Celsius to a catastrophic 7.8 degrees Celsius. We are transitioning from climate change to climate disruption.
With such alarming possibilities the planet is highly likely to cross several tipping points within decades, triggering changes that could last thousands of years. All of this is occurring against a backdrop of growing needs and pressures by humans, as our population is set to increase by at least 2 billion people by 2050.
“Bending the curve” refers to flattening the upward trajectory of human-caused warming trends. Reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and moving to carbon neutrality post-2050 would begin to bend the temperature curve downward and reduce overall warming by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.
More rapid reductions can be achieved by reducing four short-lived climate pollutants. These short-lived climate pollutants, known as SLCPs, methane (CH4), black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs, which are used in refrigerants) and tropospheric ozone.
If currently available technologies for reducing SLCPs were fully implemented by 2030, projected warming could be reduced by as much as 0.6 degrees Celsius within two to four decades, keeping the mid-century warming well below 2 degrees Celsius relative to the pre-industrial average.
This could give the world additional time to achieve net-zero emissions or even negative carbon emissions through scaling
up existing and emerging carbon- neutral and carbon sequestration technologies and methods. Achieving both maximum possible mitigation of SLCPs and carbon neutrality beyond 2050 could hold global warming to about 2 degrees Celsius through 2100, which would avert most disastrous climate disruptions.
This is our goal in this report. In this executive summary of the full Bending the Curve report, we describe 10 practical solutions to mitigate climate change that are scalable to the state, the nation and the world. There are many such reports offering recommendations and solutions to keep climate change under manageable levels. We take full account of such action-oriented reports and offer some unique solutions to complement them.
Many of the solutions proposed here are being field tested on University of California campuses and elsewhere in California. The background, the criteria, the quantitative narrative and justification for these solutions can be found in the full report.
Press link for more: Bending the Curve