THE RACE AGAINST THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Just adapting to climate change is not something the world can afford to do. So, the CSU is exploring all options to thwart potentially disastrous consequences.

Smokestacks spewing black plumes. Car traffic inching along an eight-lane freeway. An ominous haze drifting from a blazing wildfire. These are common sights in California—and all major contributors to climate change.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, humans have increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by 47 percent through activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Along with other gases, concentrated carbon traps heat in the atmosphere, causing the earth to warm, commonly known as the “greenhouse effect.” As the planet heats up, it is experiencing myriad harmful effects, including extreme weather, droughts, wildfires and rising sea levels from melting glaciers and ice sheets.

Experts across the world, including at the CSU, engage in research to help people adapt to the resulting upheaval—from protecting the ocean to responding to wildfires. But to truly save the earth, efforts also need to mitigate climate change by addressing the cause of the problem: greenhouse gas emissions.

The global community has made strides to address its emissions, with 197 countries, including the United States, signing onto the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions; in fact, California itself has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2045. According to new research published in Science magazine​, California already reduced its emissions by 78 percent between 1990 and 2014, the most of any state. But the world continues to find itself in the midst of a climate emergency and besieged by the catastrophic results of climate change.

To aid in the efforts to mitigate the climate crisis, CSU faculty and students are finding ways to further curtail emissions and extract carbon from the atmosphere.