Well Under 2 Degrees Celsius: Fast Action Policies to Protect People and the Planet from Extreme Climate Change

Well Under 2 Degrees Celsius: Fast Action Policies to Protect People and the Planet from Extreme Climate Change. Report of the Committee to Prevent Extreme Climate Change (2017)

Climate change is becoming an existential threat with warming in excess of 2°C within the next three decades and 4°C to 6°C within the next several decades. Warming of such magnitudes will expose as many as 75% of the world’s population to deadly heat stress in addition to disrupting the climate and weather worldwide. Climate change is an urgent problem requiring urgent solutions. This report lays out urgent and practical solutions that are ready for implementation now, will deliver benefts in the next few critical decades, and places the world on a path to achieving the longterm targets of the Paris Agreement and near-term sustainable development goals. The approach consists of four building blocks and 3 levers to implement ten scalable solutions described in this report by a team of climate scientists, policy makers, social and behavioral scientists, political scientists, legal experts, diplomats, and military experts from around the world. These solutions will enable society to decarbonize the global energy system by 2050 through effciency and renewables, drastically reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and stabilize the climate well below 2°C both in the near term (before 2050) and in the long term (post 2050). It will also reduce premature mortalities by tens of millions by 2050. As an insurance against policy lapses, mitigation delays and faster than projected climate changes, the solutions include an Atmospheric Carbon Extraction lever to remove CO2 from the air. The amount of CO2 that must be removed ranges from negligible, if the emissions of CO2 from the energy system and SLCPs start to decrease by 2020 and carbon neutrality is achieved by 2050, to a staggering one trillion tons if the carbon lever is not pulled and emissions of climate pollutants continue to increase until 2030.

There are numerous living laboratories including 53 cities, many universities around the world, the state of California, and the nation of Sweden, who have embarked on a carbon neutral pathway. These laboratories have already created 8 million jobs in the clean energy industry; they have also shown that emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants can be decoupled from economic growth. Another favorable sign is that growth rates of worldwide carbon emissions have reduced from 2.9% per year during the frst decade of this century to 1.3% from 2011 to 2014 and near zero growth rates during the last few years. The carbon emission curve is bending, but we have a long way to go and very little time for achieving carbon neutrality. We need institutions and enterprises that can accelerate this bending by scaling-up the solutions that are being proven in the living laboratories. We have less than a decade to put these solutions in place around the world to preserve nature and our quality of life for generations to come. The time is now.

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