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Project Drawdown: 100 Steps to Reduce Atmospheric Carbon, Reverse Global Warming

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The Energy Mix is introducing a regular feature to help balance our coverage between the depth of the climate crisis, the intensity of the fight against fossil fuel projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the shining promise of a decarbonized economy. Project Drawdown [1] styles itself “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”. Beginning today, we’ll be summarizing one climate solution from the Drawdown site in each edition of The Mix.

Project Drawdown, led by author and green business leader Paul Hawken, conducted painstaking research on a wide list of decarbonization options, before finalizing a series of 80 immediate solutions and 20 “coming attractions” that the authors say can combine to reverse climate change. When the hard copy version of Drawdown was released last year, it quickly grabbed a spot on the New York Times bestsellers’ list and was named the #1 bestselling environmental book of 2017.

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We gathered a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions [3] to address climate change,” the project website states. “Each solution reduces greenhouse gases by avoiding emissions and/or by sequestering carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.” The site defines drawdown as “that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.”

The overall plan points to “a path forward that can roll back global warming within 30 years,” the site adds. “It shows that humanity has the means at hand. Nothing new needs to be invented. The solutions are in place and in action. Our work is to accelerate the knowledge and growth of what is possible. We chose the name Drawdown because if we do not name the goal, we are unlikely to achieve it.”

We’re launching our series of Drawdown summaries today to coincide with the Drawdown EcoChallenge that runs until April 25. (Please click here [4] to join the Energy Mix team!) But from the moment we first heard about Project Drawdown nearly 2½ years ago, we’ve been convinced that it’s about so much more than team badges and online challenges (though those matter, too).

We’ve been talking about Drawdown everywhere we go, and what we invariably hear back from friends, colleagues, and subscribers who browse the book (or read the whole thing more closely) is that they come away with more hope for the future than they had at the start. Not that solving the climate crisis will in any sense be easy, nor that the outcome is assured. But seeing the 100 solutions, quantified and assembled on a single website, brings powerful reinforcement to the idea that we do still have the time, knowledge, and ability to build lasting, sustainable solutions, to write the last chapters of the climate and carbon story the way we want them written.

Our summaries of the Drawdown series will roll out over the next 100 editions of The Energy Mix. We welcome your feedback. We urge you to click through and familiarize yourself with the rest of the book, and with the organizing and mobilization project behind it.

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1 Comment To "Project Drawdown: 100 Steps to Reduce Atmospheric Carbon, Reverse Global Warming"

#1 Comment By Frank White On April 18, 2018 @ 4:46 PM

Mitchell Beer writes: “Not that solving the climate crisis will in any sense be easy, nor that the outcome is assured. But seeing the 100 solutions, quantified and assembled on a single website, brings powerful reinforcement to the idea that we do still have the time, knowledge, and ability to build lasting, sustainable solutions, to write the last chapters of the climate and carbon story the way we want them written.”

Hate to rain on Michael’s parade, but who is this “we” who is going to implement the 100 solutions?

It’s not that we don’t already have solutions — Tim Jackson’s “Prosperity without Growth” is the best one I’ve read — the problem, as always, is in the implementation process, particularly when it comes to finding an international body to do the heavy lifting.

Having said that, I wish all those engaged in the project the best of luck.