Climate change is the greatest challenge and threat human civilization has ever faced. Though it was accurately described 186 years ago, and although the science of climate change was outlined by Svante Arrhenius 121 years ago, the dialogue around climate change is still dominated by outright denial in one camp and frustratingly slow progress in the other. What has been lacking is a clear, comprehensive, science-based description and calculation of the most substantive solutions to global warming.
Project Drawdown has assembled a coalition of scientists, researchers, businesspeople, activists, and political leaders at the forefront of the climate change movement with one goal in mind: to determine if we can reverse global warming to achieve “drawdown.” Drawdown refers to the point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Project Drawdown is identifying, measuring, and modeling 100 substantive solutions to global warming to determine how much we could accomplish within three decades towards this end.
The solutions are technological, like renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, social ones that involve behavior change, like food choices and educating girls, and ecological solutions, like restoring forests, grasslands, and soil to sequester carbon dioxide. Most solutions are “no regrets” actions—initiatives that improve well-being, create jobs, restore the environment, enhance security, generate resilience, and advance human health.
Project Drawdown will communicate these research findings through a book, an open-source database, and an interactive digital platform that describe how the solutions may reverse global warming if scaled globally. The Drawdown book will be published April 18th by Penguin Random House. It is a call to action that:
- Describes the 100 most effective solutions and methods to reduce carbon emissions as well as sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Both are required to reverse global warming.
- Analyzes technologies and methods that are already in place, well understood, and are scaling. The list challenges the conventional wisdom about how to address climate change.
- Calculates the total net cost and lifetime savings for the solutions. Overwhelmingly, most are profitable now.
- Models the continuous global scaling of these extant solutions to determine when and if we can achieve reversal of global warming in the next thirty years.
- Creates an essential tool humanity needs in order to effectively address climate change.
- Includes advisors and contributors such as Michael Pollan, Elizabeth Kolbert, Tom Steyer, Bill McKibben, and former Governor Martin O’Malley, as well as leaders in nonprofits, academia, science, media, business, and technology.
The subtitle of this book—the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming—may sound a bit brash. We have chosen that description because no detailed plan to reverse warming has been proposed. There have been agreements and proposals on how to slow, cap, and arrest emissions, and there are international commitments to prevent global temperature increases from exceeding two degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels. One hundred and ninety-five nations have made extraordinary progress in coming together to acknowledge that we have a momentous civilizational crisis on our earthly doorstep and have created national plans of action. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has accomplished the most significant scientific study in the history of humankind, and continues to refine the science, expand the research, and extend our grasp of one of the most complex systems imaginable—climate. However, there is as yet no roadmap that goes beyond slowing or stopping emissions.
To be clear, our organization did not create or devise a plan. We do not have that capability or self-appointed mandate. In conducting our research, we found a plan, a blueprint that already exists in the world in the form of humanity’s collective wisdom, made manifest in applied, hands-on practices and technologies. Individual farmers, communities, cities, companies, and governments have shown that they care about this planet, its people and its places. Engaged citizens the world over are doing something extraordinary. This is their story.
The scholars, students, journalists, entrepreneurs, non-profits, politicians, activists, philanthropists, and universities that make up our coalition collaborate to create and disseminate our research and message around the world. By inviting more people to participate, we make sure all perspectives are included in our work and we increase our impact.