Viewpoints

100 ways to reverse global warming

What's more effective, rooftop solar or educating girls?
What's more effective, rooftop solar or educating girls? image via www.drawdown.org

The rise of atmospheric carbon can be dramatically reduced in just 30 years, if a set of 100 climate change solutions are implemented, according to a book released this month (18 April).

The Daily Planet spoke to an Mark McCaffrey, an advisor on Project Drawdown, the organisation presenting the solutions, as well as their describe their financial, social and environmental impact, that it thinks will reduce our atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Initial assumptions were wrong

Beginning the project, the team had their own assumptions about what the top solutions would be.

“They turned out to be completely wrong.” McCaffrey says.

“Everybody assumed maybe that concentrated solar power would be very powerful as a way of generating electricity. It turns out it is important, but the number one way to generate electricity is wind — land based wind.”

“Some of the top ones are actually things like girl’s education and family planning, reducing food waste, and moving to a vegetarian dietMany of the solutions also relate to forestry practices and agricultural practice, so they’re not just looking at reduction of greenhouse gases, they’re also looking at ways to sequester carbon through agricultural practices, storing the carbon in soil and in tropical trees,” says McCaffrey.

The solutions are largely “no regrets” solutions, entailing actions that make sense to take regardless of their climate impact since they have intrinsic benefits to communities and economies. The initiatives improve lives, create jobs, restore the environment, enhance security, generate resilience, and advance human health.

“A lot of us have been historically focused on entrepreneurial projects that are more technology focused on the breakthrough energy technology. In some ways this is much less techno-utopian approach as it is about going back to the basics.”

What is ‘Drawdown’?

Drawdown is the point at which natural processes can start to kick in and absorb the carbon in the atmosphere and sequester them naturally.

“We can do that before 2050, probably 2040-something” says McCaffrey, but “it’ll take an all of the above approach. I was excited to see that it really is possible for us to turn the corner and be able to prevent the worst case scenario. And not only that, actually getting to the point where we would be well within the theme of the Paris Agreement, keeping well below two degrees celsius.”

A positive message on climate change

“To me this is very empowering to individuals. It doesn’t depend on fifth generation nuclear power to save the day, it depends on us all getting involved and contributing as appropriate in our daily lives”

“We all have the ability to contribute to and control the situation, it’s not just in the hands of the experts.”

In the long-term, Project Drawdown intends to offer a database of its findings for each of the 100 ideas. It would include how much carbon could be saved by taking these different approaches which entrepreneurs, policymakers and educators can make use of.

For more of the top 100 solutions, visit www.drawdown.org.

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