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Although the Paris Agreement's goals (1) are aligned with science (2) and can, in principle, be technically and economically achieved (3), alarming inconsistencies remain between science-based targets and national commitments. Despite progress during the 2016 Marrakech climate negotiations, long-term goals can be trumped by political short-termism. Following the Agreement, which became international law earlier than expected, several countries published mid-century decarbonization strategies, with more due soon. Model-based decarbonization assessments (4) and scenarios often struggle to capture transformative change and the dynamics associated with it: disruption, innovation, and nonlinear change in human behavior. For example, in just 2 years, China's coal use swung from 3.7% growth in 2013 to a decline of 3.7% in 2015 (5). To harness these dynamics and to calibrate for short-term realpolitik, we propose framing the decarbonization challenge in terms of a global decadal roadmap based on a simple heuristic—a “carbon law”—of halving gross anthropogenic carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions every decade. Complemented by immediately instigated, scalable carbon removal and efforts to ramp down land-use CO2 emissions, this can lead to net-zero emissions around mid-century, a path necessary to limit warming to well below 2°C.
Research news | 2018-04-19
New study of UNESCO biosphere reserves sheds light on how people learn to live with social-ecological complexity
Research news | 2018-04-16
Entrepreneurs, NGO’s and others working on transforming the agricultural system into a more sustainable one struggle amid dominant focus on growth-oriented strategies
Research news | 2018-04-12
New documentary film highlights social-ecological challenges facing Ethiopia's food production systems
Educational news | 2018-04-12
Will help practitioners use resilience thinking as a tool to improve development practice
General news | 2018-04-12
The Stockholm Resilience Centre launches new voluntary system for staff to set targets to reduce emissions
Research news | 2018-04-11
Conservation efforts in tropical forest communities have great potential but must avoid exacerbating income inequalities