Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming

By Erika Boeing, Co-Founder and CEO of Accelerate Wind, Research Fellow at Project Drawdown, and USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Education Committee member

Global warming discussions today are often full of doom and gloom, and like many others, I have certainly gone through times I was convinced that the situation was hopeless. That’s one of many reasons that I felt privileged to work as a research fellow for Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization that is focused on changing this narrative. The brainchild of author, environmentalist, and entrepreneur Paul Hawken, Project Drawdown was developed to research what it would take to reverse global warming.

Project Drawdown’s first book, released in April 2017, demonstrates that it’s possible not only to stop temperature rise from global warming, but to reach a point by 2050 where the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases peaks, and begins to decline each year. This point, called Drawdown, will allow us to reverse global warming.

The most exciting thing about this conclusion, is that it shows that Drawdown can be achieved using solutions that currently exist and are already being implemented in society today. With the help of over 60 research fellows from around the world and over 120 advisors, the Project Drawdown team modeled 80 of today’s the most substantive climate change solutions to determine their potential impact. This research found that with a significant, but achievable amount of effort by governments, companies, and individuals around the world, these solutions can be used to achieve Drawdown.

Each of these eighty solutions is presented in the book, along with twenty ‘coming attractions’, or new solutions which are not common today but have the potential to provide benefit in the future. Looking at these solutions, it can be seen that their scope is necessarily very broad. Very important contributors are land use solutions, such as restoration of forests and coastal wetlands which draw carbon out of the atmosphere.

Other solutions include commonly-cited characters, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, and less commonly considered but extremely effective solutions such as increasing opportunities for women and girls. Ninety-eight out of the one-hundred solutions presented provide substantial secondary benefits in addition to reversing global warming, and are therefore also sensible solutions for society as a whole.

One thing that is clear from Project Drawdown’s work is that in order to reach Drawdown we need concerted effort across the globe, and from all sectors of society. On March 13th, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, in partnership with Missouri Botanical Garden, BiodiverseCity St. Louis, The Academy of Science – St. Louis, and Missouri Interfaith Power & Light, will be hosting a presentation on Drawdown that highlights four of the many local people, companies, and initiatives in St. Louis which are contributing to Drawdown. In addition to an overview on Drawdown itself, I will discuss my company, Accelerate Wind, which is working on low-cost distributed wind energy generation. Charlie Hopper, Director of Hardesty Renaissance Development Corporation in Kansas City, MO will discuss his work which integrates urban land reclamation and sustainable food production with a school for urban girls. Nathan McKean of Breckenridge Material Company will discuss their partnership with CarbonCure to implement sustainable concrete solutions. Mary Ostafi of Urban Harvest STL will discuss her work pioneering the first rooftop farm in St. Louis, as well as low carbon diets, another Drawdown solution.

Come join us to learn more about Drawdown and the many ways that individuals and organizations can contribute to reversing global warming. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Sheet Metal Worker’s Local 36, 2319 Chouteau, Suite 200 (63103). Register for this FREE event at www.usgbc-mogateway.org/events.