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Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions Student Projects

Cover page of Under 2C Living Laboratories

Under 2C Living Laboratories

(2017)

Fifty-two cities, sixty-three businesses, and several universities have become living laboratories for ambitious climate mitigation programs. By 2050, the total annual emissions for the fifty-two cities will reduce by 407 MMTCO2e (million metric tons), compared with their base period (ranging from 1990 to 2013) emissions, which is equivalent to making the entire state of California, the sixth largest world economy, nearly carbon neutral. Case studies reveal that between 2000 and 2014, California and Sweden grew their Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) by nearly 30% while their CO2e emissions declined by 5% and 24% respectively. Such reductions employ a multitude of action plans, which we place in the context of the Ten Solutions for Carbon Neutrality and Climate Stability published by the University of California. The technologies deployed by the living laboratories include: improving end-use efficiencies; conversion to renewably generated electricity; solving intermittency of solar and wind power with batteries, fuel cells, and hydrogen; developing micro-grids for distributed power generation; expanding use of electric vehicles; recycling reform; capturing agricultural/landfill emissions for conversion to gas; and food waste reduction. The living laboratories have demonstrated that scalable technologies are available now to drastically reduce world-wide carbon emissions. However, doing so requires fundamental behavioral changes.