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Project Drawdown: The World’s Leading Climate Solutions Database Is Growing

by Daniel Simons Global Commons Sep 1st 20224 mins
Project Drawdown: The World’s Leading Climate Solutions Database Is Growing

Project Drawdown, an extensive database of climate solutions, has added 11 new entries to its collection of over one hundred climate solutions. 

What Is The Project Drawdown?

Founded in 2014 by Author and Entrepreneur Paul Hawken in collaboration with over 200 researchers, Project Drawdown is one of the most influential research-backed databases of climate solutions on the planet. 

The project’s mission is to help the world reach ‘drawdown’ –  the point in time where levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to decline – as quickly and as safely as possible. 

Project Drawdown’s research and analysis focus on solutions that are currently available, able to grow in scale, financially viable, have a net positive impact and are quantifiable. Every solution reduced greenhouse gases by avoiding emissions and/or by sequestering emissions that are already in the atmosphere, and all rely on extensive analysis of the scientific literature and sophisticated modelling. 

The research from Project Drawdown illustrates how the world can reach drawdown by mid-century via the use of currently existing and available climate solutions. 

In addition to the database of solutions, Drawdown also runs Drawdown Labs – which works to advance the next level of business leadership on climate solutions, as well as Drawdown Lift – which aims to deepen collective understanding of the links between climate change solutions and poverty alleviation, especially in lower and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 

Project Drawdown emerged as a leading resource for information and insights about climate solutions after the publication of Hawken’s 2017 Bestselling book ‘Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming’. Following on from the success of Drawdown, Hawken published a second book: ‘Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation’.

The recent Project Drawdown solutions arrive as part of an updated analysis. Their new research suggests that, between 2020 and 2050, an investment of US$15.6 trillion would be required to limit global warming to 2C, as set by the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) targets, and an investment of $23.6US trillion would be needed to limit warming to 1.5C. 

The report also found that these investments will save US$98 trillion and $140 trillion respectively, suggesting that practices and technologies implemented to reduce greenhouse gasses will more than pay for themselves. They will also have additional benefits for reducing poverty, increasing equity, and protecting endangered animals and ecosystems. 

Project Drawdown’s 11 New Solutions

1. Seaweed Farming

Seaweed farming is one of the most sustainable types of aquaculture. Expanding seaweed farming enhances carbon sequestration and boosts the production of biomass that can be used for biofuel, bioplastic, livestock feed, and human consumption.

2. Macroalgae Protection and Restoration

Macro-algae forests are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. Protecting and restoring those habitats enhances carbon sequestration in the deep sea.

3. Improved Fisheries

Improved fisheries involves reforming and improving the management of wild-capture fisheries to reduce excess effort, overcapitalisation, and overfishing. This can reduce fuel usage and rebuild fish populations.

4. Improved Aquaculture 

Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing animal food sectors. Because some aquaculture systems are highly energy intensive, ensuring that part of the on-site energy consumption is based on renewable resources would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Seafloor Protection 

Vast amounts of carbon stored in seafloor sediments risk release by bottom-trawling fishing. Bottom-trawling bans and establishment of Marine Protected Areas can protect this important carbon sink.

6. Improved Cattle Feed 

Optimising cattle feeding strategies can lower the methane emissions produced within the ruminant digestive system. Nutrient-enriched diets of high-quality forages, additives, and supplements aim to improve animal health and productivity.

7. Improved Manure Management 

Livestock manure produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Advanced technologies and practices for managing manure can reduce the adverse climate impact of animal agriculture.

8. Methane Leak Management 

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is emitted during the production and transport of oil and natural gas. Managing methane emissions can reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

You might also like: Why Limiting Methane Emissions Should be our Main Concern

9. Recycled Metals

Metals are extracted from nonrenewable ores. Recycled metals capitalise on already extracted materials—making it possible to produce goods more efficiently, reduce the need to extract new resources, and cut down on energy and water use.

10. Recycled Plastics 

Recycling plastics requires less energy than producing new materials, saves landfill space, reduces environmental pollution, and decreases demand for fossil-fuel-based raw materials.

11. Reduced Plastics

Plastic production has grown tremendously over the past century, mainly for short-term use. Reducing the amount of plastic used in nondurable goods can significantly reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and plastic waste.

You might also like: Solution for Plastic Pollution: 6 Policies and Innovations Tackling Plastics

Final Thoughts

Project Drawdown is a living project and solutions will continue to be added as the research evolves. The Drawdown team is also in the process of making their data publicly available. The research proves that we now have all the available technology we need to reverse global warming, and that investing in the future pays for itself and comes with the added benefits of social dividends. Now it is time for governments and businesses to step up and embrace these solutions at the speed and scale needed to combat the climate crisis. 

You might also like: Sun Cable: The World’s Most Ambitious Solar Project

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