Opportunities to Act

Rachael Carson

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road - the one less traveled by - offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

Climate Change Solutions

Climate change may represent the most profound challenge to ever confront human social, political, and economic systems. Quoting John Dryzek, Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra, "Climate change presents perhaps the most profound challenge ever to have confronted human social, political, and economic systems. The stakes are massive, the risks and uncertainties severe, the economics controversial, the science besieged, the politics bitter and complicated, the psychology puzzling, the impacts devastating, the interactions with other environmental and non-environmental issues running in many directions."

Given its urgency and complexity, it's easy to understand our prevailing sense of powerlessness and, increasingly, hopelessness. Yet, there are many climate change solutions, that if adopted and scaled, are already proving highly effective. As individuals, and as a society, we need to acknowledge our severe impact on global environment, climate and resources. We need to reassess our lifestyle decisions and embrace and champion the environmental, economic, political and societal changes needed to mitigate the ever escalating climate risk.

Project Drawdown

Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization and coalition of scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, and advocates from across the globe that is mapping, measuring, modeling, and communicating about a collective array of substantive solutions to global warming, with the goal of reaching drawdown.

Drawdown is the point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. Project Drawdown has developed realistic, solution-specific models, technical assessments, and policy memos projecting the financial and climate impacts of existing solutions deployed at scale over the next thirty years.

These are proven solutions that are already being implemented by humanity around the globe that promise enormous potential if scaled up over the next thirty years.

Project Drawdown is the first effort to measure and project the collective impact of a broad range of solutions if implemented at scale. Rather than focusing on a single solution or sector of solutions, Project Drawdown has done the math on what humanity is capable of achieving with the broad range of tools already in use around the globe.

Solutions were evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Is the solution currently available and scaling?
  • Is it economically viable? In other words, is there a business case?
  • Does it have the potential to reduce GHGs in the atmosphere, either through avoided emissions or sequestration, by at least 50 million tons of greenhouse gasses over 30 years.
  • Are there any negative results, such as pollution, reduced food security, land conversion, etc.? And if so, do the positive benefits outweigh the negatives?
  • Do we have sufficient data to be able to model these technologies at global scale?

Drawdown Global Warming Solution Rankings

An overview of each solution can be viewed on their website here. For greater detail and insight, order their book, Drawdown, the Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. For each solution, they describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works.