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UC Summit on Carbon and Climate Neutrality Seeks to Bend the Curve on Climate Change

Image: he UC Summit on Carbon and Climate Neutrality, held at UC San Diego

The UC Summit on Carbon and Climate Neutrality, held at UC San Diego, seeks to deliver 10 scalable solutions for slowing climate change. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

University of California President Janet Napolitano, Gov. Jerry Brown, legislators, business leaders and UC’s top climate and energy experts will gather at UC San Diego for the UC Summit on Carbon and Climate Neutrality Oct. 26-27. The summit will explore UC’s groundbreaking research on climate change and deliver 10 scalable solutions for slowing climate change that can be applied to California, the nation and the world.

“Many climate change solutions are emerging out of research at the University of California and we want to share them with the world,” said Napolitano. “Together, we can present an inspiring, pragmatic path forward to counter the doom and gloom and the equivocating that stop us from taking action.”

The goal is to arm participants with concrete, actionable solutions that can help influence dialogue and direction at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, to be held in Paris in late November.

The invitation-only event will feature a variety of speakers and topics. Highlights from Monday, Oct. 26 include:

  • Welcome from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • Keynote speakers from the United Nations Environment Program, California Energy Commission and the National Academy of Sciences
  • Presentations from the UC Climate Solutions Group

Highlights from Tuesday, Oct. 27 include:

  • Remarks by Gov. Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano
  • Keynote speakers Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program; Nobel laureate Mario Molina; and Ellen Williams, Director of ARPA-E, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Corporate leaders in sustainable business practices
  • Top 10 Scalable Solutions from the University of California
  • Panels featuring entrepreneurs, legislators and UC chancellors

The full schedule can be found here.

The summit is the culmination of work by 50 academics and researchers from across UC’s 10 campuses and representing a broad spectrum of fields ranging from climate science to ethics, economics, ecology, energy, environmental justice, political science and religion. The effort has been spearheaded by renowned climate scientist Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego who in 1975 discovered the greenhouse effect of chlorofluorocarbons in the earth’s atmosphere.

Ramanathan and colleagues are concentrating their efforts on the best ways to “bend the curve,” i.e., finding the most efficient and practicable ways to minimize the earth’s temperature increase due to emissions of greenhouse agents.

With a group of 50 experts, there will be at least 51 opinions on the best course of action. “But there is one thing we all agree on,” said Ramanathan, “that we have to drastically slow the warming, particularly the arctic warming, and we have to do it immediately to avert extreme climatic events that are becoming more and more common, and are disproportionately affecting the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The summit is part of President Napolitano’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative announced in 2013, in which the University of California pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025 – the first major research university to reach that goal. The state of California has its own ambitious climate targets: Reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels, shift California’s electricity production to at least 50 percent renewable sources, and increase building energy efficiency by 50 percent – all by 2030.

Learn more about the summit here.