Project Drawdown solutions

Drawdown: Reversing global warming with current solutions

(Updated occasionally to include extra links. Most recently 07 April 2019)
Have you been avoiding thinking about global warming because it’s just too scary?  Have you been hoping that someone, somewhere would come up with some answers?

Well, they have…
The research fellows of Project Drawdown started identifying and evaluating solutions in 2013.  Four years on, they’ve identified the Top 80 solutions we can take action on today to REVERSE global warming.  They’ve done the analysis and calculated that if we all put our collective “buts” into gear we could turn things around in just 3 decades.

No government action is required (though support will help) – just constructive, cost-effective, community-building “no regrets” solutions that don’t have a downside.  Many of them far more accessible than you would ever have thought.

So if you’re tired of worrying and want to do something worth doing, you now have a list of 100 possibilities to explore.  Find out more – or order the book – at Project Drawdown.

Here are the top 15 (of 100) Drawdown action areas:

* Refrigerant Management
* Wind Turbines (onshore)
* Reduced Food Waste
* Plant-Rich Diet
* Tropical Forests
* Educating Girls
* Family Planning
* Solar Farms
* Silvopasture
* Rooftop Solar
* Regenerative Agriculture
* Temperate Forests
* Peatlands
* Tropical Staple Trees
* Afforestation
Source: “Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”

The full list of 80 quantified and ranked solutions in order is here:  Another 20 high-potential new options with good science but limited data are the 20  Coming Attractions listed on the solutions page.

Check a short summary video out here:

Or a longer video here:

24th October 2017 – extra videos

Paul Hawken on useful ways of communicating global climate disruption:

Paul Hawken on solving global climate disruption through innovation:

This is “where to hit” – for the first time, we have an evidence base that quantifies what’s worth doing.  The “how” will come from smart systems thinking and good business design.
Drawdown Summary


8th January 2018
Yale interview:

“If you had asked us at the outset to name the top five or 10 solutions, we would have gotten them wrong.”

“It’s stunning to consider that if you combine solution number six, universal education of girls through secondary school, with solution number seven, access to family planning for women who want it, you get a reduction in CO₂ that far exceeds that number one solution of refrigerant management”

“The way we’re going to solve this problem is with development processes that actually make human life better.”

14th March 2018

“Abandon the “wussy” language of climate mitigation as well as war metaphors, and develop more positive ways of thinking about the issue.”

“Research has shown that emerging sectors that could help address climate change will also create millions of jobs in the future. For instance, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission estimates that sustainable business models in sectors like agriculture, energy, cities, and health could create 230 million jobs in Asia alone.”

27th April 2018

Paul Hawken’s NY Times article on “ A Smorgasbord of Solutions for Global Warming

“reversing global warming is bursting with possibility:  walkable cities, afforestation, bamboo, high-rises built of wood, marine permaculture, multistrata agroforestry, clean cookstoves, plant-rich diet, assisting women smallholders, regenerative agriculture, supporting girls’ ongoing education, smart glass, in-stream hydro, on and on.”

19th August 2014
Paul Hawken explaining carbon, hydrocarbons and climate: 

“…carbon has been conflated with hydrocarbons. You have terms like “carbon pollution” and “carbon footprint,” and carbon is not the problem at all … it’s the combustion of hydrocarbons that’s the issue, not carbon per se. And carbon, as I said, is a molecule, the element really, that holds hands and vibrates. It is not just the basis of life, but it’s the most extraordinary atom—and the possibilities for carbon, both in the natural world and in a world of innovation, are just extraordinary.”

23 May 2018
AIRAH article talking about Drawdown as a global movement and their specific hub project:

“So what we’re trying to do is open up the understanding of the data and economic resource pathways so that Drawdown is a self-organising process that occurs on different levels of society. And our job is just to basically get out of the way but also to feed and serve that in whatever way it manifests.”

Be excited, be VERY excited…

18 July 2018
A Project Drawdown Wiki:

A Drawdown Podcast:

30 August 2018
Cities as carbon sinks:

“The city and its buildings will need to not just contribute fewer emissions but be designed to absorb them. We are talking about a “carbon architecture” of the type that Bruce King has described, something that is addressing global warming on building construction and operations.

I want to expand the notion of what regeneration is about. People usually think about it as related to farming, forests, and land use in general—how we “interact” with nature. But I want to focus our thinking about regeneration in the urban and built environment. We can transform cities into carbon sinks … such that they are not just generating emissions but sequestering them. This is about designing cities to have the same or greater levels of ecosystem services than the natural systems they displace.”

28th December 2018

“We can reverse global warming… and we’re doing it” – The Optimist Daily interview with Paul Hawken, April 2017

“While we were finishing the book I spoke with three of the best-known international climate change experts—professors and authors who have been leading this field for the past 25-30 years. I asked them to write down their top-5 solutions for global warming. It took them a long time.
Moreover: They were all wrong. Their top solutions are not the top solutions according to the data of the leading institutions as we have researched those.
Here’s my point: We are 40 years into global warming. It is the most serious problem humanity has ever faced. We have created it and the authorities in the field cannot name the top-5 solutions. That’s an astonishing anthropological fact. There is no plan…”
(emphasis added)

4th October, 2018

I found some magic at the end of a Drawdown video recorded in Australia in 2018.  So good I did a transcript in this post: 

“humanity is brilliant, ingenious, and that we’re on the case…. we have incredible imaginations…

…. millions of people care about this and are trying things – engineers, inventors, people on the land, people on the ocean are inventing extraordinary means to reduce emissions and sequester carbon..

you don’t solve a problem by repeating the problem over and over again to each other. You solve a problem by looking at the possibilities that are inherent in that problem.  That’s what Drawdown is about…”

7th April, 2019

At the end of a detailed (and awesome) podcast about the Project Drawdown solutions, host Dr Mark Hyman asked Paul Hawken some broader questions about how best to respond to global warming.

Again, I liked them so much I transcribed them here:

If I tell you what you should do, you should run…

The thing you should do is what lights you up.  The thing you should do is what turns you on…

There’s been an  over emphasis on what “you” can do – “you” you” “you” “you”. The only way we are going to solve this is to come together and be a “we”…