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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

We Can Reach ‘Drawdown’ by Mid-2040’s

A new report – The Drawdown Review  provides the most in-depth assessment of climate solutions and their potential to reduce greenhouse gasses and build a climate-safe future 

All Images: Project Drawdown.

San Francisco (March 3, 2020) – A new report from the world’s leading resource on climate solutions demonstrates that ‘Drawdown’ – the point at which greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere peak and begin declining, stopping climate change – is feasible with existing, established technologies and practices. 

Project Drawdown’s new publication, The Drawdown Review, builds on the organization’s inaugural analysis, published in the 2017 New York Times Best-Seller Drawdown, and takes into account the rapidly evolving landscape of climate solutions available today. 

In order to reach Drawdown, the new analysis finds that we must not only quickly reduce emissions toward zero, but also support nature’s carbon sinks to help sequester greenhouse gases that have already been emitted. This means climate solutions fall under the broad categories of: emissions sources that must be reduced; natural and engineered carbon sinks that can be expanded; and more fundamental societal solutions – especially improving access to education and health care for all – that accelerate the path to a climate-safe future. 

Project Drawdown’s findings show that we could cease global warming by the mid-2040s to the mid-2060s, thereby meeting the goals of keeping the world below 1.5 or 2˚C warming – important climate benchmarks set forward by the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Drawdown Review shows that meeting these goals is physically and economically feasible but will require much more aggressive and immediate action worldwide. 

To reach Drawdown, and thereby bring us to a climate-safe world, the research shows that we must replace our fossil fuel and industrial food and agricultural systems with new solutions. The top solutions span many sectors and include: 

  • Greatly improving energy efficiency and rapidly deploying renewable electricity generation (especially onshore wind and utility-scale solar photovoltaics).

  • Reducing food waste and shifting to more plant-rich diets.

  • Reducing deforestation and restoring healthy forests and other ecosystems.

  • Improving management of refrigerants and shifting to alternatives.

  • Dramatically improving the energy performance of our buildings and cities.

  • Shifting our transportation system to highly efficient, low-carbon alternatives.

  • Improving access to education and health care for women and girls in developing nations. 

Together, these solutions show us that we can address a seemingly impossible challenge,” Dr. Jonathan Foley, the Executive Director of Project Drawdown, said. “The tools we need are here, today, and can be deployed at scale. But we need to use them all – dozens and dozens of solutions in different sectors, working in parallel. Only then does [sic] the physics and economics work. All that is lacking is the political will and leadership to make it happen. While climate change can often feel hopeless, this work shows us a better world is truly possible, with solutions we have in hand today. But we need to get started as soon as possible, and dramatically step up our efforts.”

 “Synthesis and translation are hallmarks of Project Drawdown’s work. Our hope is that The Drawdown Review provides a resource for anyone looking to understand and act on solutions for the climate crisis,” said Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, Vice President for Communication and Engagement at Project Drawdown. “By making this work freely available, we hope that it inspires more discussion and more determined action by policymakers, business leaders, investors, philanthropists, and all the people stepping up to the challenge of climate change around the world.”

 “What these results show is the utmost importance of all solutions implemented in parallel,” said Chad Frischmann, Vice President and Research Director at Project Drawdown. “The impacts of these technologies and practices occur only as part of an interconnected, integrated system. It is the implementation of this system of solutions that is the real solution to climate change.”

‘To reach Drawdown, and thereby bring us to a climate-safe
world, the research shows that we must replace our fossil fuel and
industrial food and agricultural systems with new solutions.’

 The breadth of solutions indicates that individuals and institutions at all levels have agency and influence when it comes to implementing and scaling up the necessary climate solutions. Notably, The Drawdown Review finds that beyond the need to shift away from fossil fuels, some of the most powerful climate solutions receive comparably little attention on the global stage. These include: 

  • Food waste reduction and plant-rich diets, which together curb demand, deforestation, and associated emissions;

  • Preventing leaks and improving disposal of chemical refrigerants, which are potent greenhouse gases, the use of which is projected to grow significantly;

  • Restoration of temperate and tropical forests, which are powerful, vast carbon sinks;

  • Access to high-quality, voluntary reproductive healthcare and high-quality, inclusive education, the many ripple effects of which include climate benefits. 

Project Drawdown intends to publish The Drawdown Review on a regular basis going forward, in order to supply the most up-to-date research in a constantly evolving field. In the coming months, Project Drawdown will also offer a variety of programs including Drawdown Learn™ and Drawdown Labs to equip educators and business leaders, respectively, with practicable information about climate solutions for implementation in their classrooms, businesses, and communities. Read more at www.drawdown.org/review-2020.

About Project Drawdown

Since the 2017 publication of the New York Times best-seller, Drawdown, the organization has emerged as a leading resource for information and insight about climate solutions. We continue to develop that resource by conducting rigorous review and assessment of climate solutions, creating compelling and human communication across mediums, and partnering with efforts to accelerate climate solutions globally. 

Cities, universities, corporations, philanthropies, policymakers, communities, and more turn to Project Drawdown as they look to advance effective climate action. We aim to support the growing constellation of efforts to move climate solutions forward and move the world toward Drawdown—as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.

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