November 3, 2015


The following is the foreword from the Executive Summary of Bending the Curve. The full version can be viewed here.

Climate change is scientifically incontrovertible. What the world urgently needs now are scalable solutions for bending the curve — flattening the upward trajectory of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and consequent global climate change.

This executive summary of the full report, Bending the Curve: 10 scalable solutions for carbon neutrality and climate stability, presents pragmatic paths for achieving carbon neutrality and climate stability in California, the United States and the world. More than 50 researchers and scholars — from a wide range of disciplines across the University of California system — formed a climate solutions group and came together in recent months to identify these solutions, many of which emerge from UC research as well as the research of colleagues around the world. Taken together, these solutions can bend the curve of climate change. The full report will be published in spring 2016 after peer review.

This report is inspired by California’s recent pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and by the University of California’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025. What is taking place in California today is exactly the sort of large-scale demonstration project the planet needs. And this statewide demonstration project is composed of many of the kinds of solutions that can be scaled up around the world.

Over the past half century, California has provided a remarkable example for the world by achieving dramatic reductions in air pollution, while continuing to grow economically. In this report, we propose a set of strategies for combating climate change and growing the economy in California, the nation and the world, while building present-day and intergenerational wealth, and improving the well-being of people and the planet.

The University of California has played a key role in California’s pioneering leadership in energy and environmental policy through research, teaching and public service, and currently is partnering with local, state, federal and international leaders in the public, private and philanthropic sectors to address our pressing climate change challenges. We still have much more to do here in California. We are eager to share these lessons with the world at the upcoming global climate summit in Paris, and together build a better, safer, healthier and more equitable world, while bending the curve of climate change.

As we make the changes necessary to achieve carbon neutrality at the University of California, employing solutions that can be scaled up to developing energy and climate solutions for the world, hundreds of thousands of faculty, students and staff across our 10 campuses and three affiliated national laboratories will be learning and sharing with the world how we can bend the curve of greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming through taking bold yet pragmatic steps and lowering the barriers so others can follow.