Environment + Climate

UCLA, UC experts release report with solutions to slow climate change

Fifty UC climate change scholars offer 10 urgent solutions to “flatline” global warming by 2050

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Redwood forest
Benson Kua/Flickr

California redwoods at Muir Woods Park in Marin County.

Top environmental researchers from UCLA joined a team of 50 University of California experts in issuing a new report today with solutions to stabilize Earth’s climate this century. 

The report, Bending the Curve, was released Tuesday at the UC Climate Neutrality Initiative Summit in San Diego, and provides 10 scalable solutions to reduce global greenhouse emissions. UCLA’s Jon Christensen, an adjunct assistant professor and journalist-in-residence at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, served as the report’s senior editor, and explained some of the report’s goals and key takeaways in this essay and this Q&A.

The other UCLA contributors were environmental economist Magali Delmas, political ecologist Susanna Hecht, climate change legislation scholar Cara Horowitz, and Stephanie Pincetl, director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA.

Some of the report’s solutions include:

  • Immediately targeting short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons, and ozone, which are all powerful contributors to global warming. Unlike carbon dioxide, emissions of these pollutants can be cut back quickly, slowing warming in the near term, averting extreme climatic events. 
  • Scaling up the technology we already have by providing more economic incentives for using things like solar and wind power, electric vehicles and efficient lighting.
  • Focusing on communication from a variety of leaders, including religious and community leaders, to encourage fundamental changes in attitudes and behaviors.
  • Reducing emissions from the wealthiest, who contribute roughly 60 percent of the climate pollution, while promoting clean energy solutions for the poorest three billion people, and providing more support for those who also live in and manage many of the great forests and other ecosystems that capture and store carbon.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who joined UC President Janet Napolitano at the UC Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit, said the solutions from the UC Climate Solutions Group could help shape talks among global leaders at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris this November.

“This is a call to action. We put all of our best minds in California on this — a very formidable force. Nothing less than that is required,” said Brown.

The effects of global warming already are beginning to wreak havoc around the world, with direct impact on human lives. Napolitano called it one of the greatest security challenges the world faces.

“Climate change impacts issues as varied as disease management, food security, the preservation of water resources, the stability of fragile governments, and transportation infrastructure,” Napolitano said. “Addressing these challenges, and reducing our carbon footprint, is a moral imperative.”

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