Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

  • Written by  NIGEL WINSER
  • Published in Books
DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
15 May
2018
edited by Paul Hawken • Penguin • £16.99 (paperback)

‘Every-time we make a purchase, we vote for the world we want.’ That message remains on a postcard above my desk. No one will argue against a world without poverty, with habitats intact, clean rivers and oceans, and stability in our economies and climate. But apart from world peace, the least understood of these issues is by far is global warming – the true elephant in the room.

Enter Paul Hawken, an energetic American environmentalist, who wants to know what we all need to do to arrest and reverse global warming. With no inventory to guide the world, he has embarked on a project to map, measure and model the most substantive solutions to global warming that already exist. The goal is to reach that point in time when concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline year-on-year, preferably before 2050.

In 2013, a frustrated Hawken approached his network of greenhouse gas experts. This led to a coalition of 200 Drawdown advisors, comprising geologists, engineers, agriculturalists, climatologists, biologists, economists, financiers, architects, companies and NGOs. Research into energy, food, land use, transport, buildings and cities, women’s education and materials began, with the aim to assess the most suitable existing solutions to climate change.

So what are they? At the end of this 240-page report is a summary of 80, ranked by the total CO2-EQ (Equivalent) reduction in gigatons. Here I would have lost a bet. At the bottom with 0.20 gigatons is micro-wind energy, while refrigeration materials top the list at 89.74 gigatons. The next nine are: wind turbines (offshore), reducing food waste, plant-rich diets, tropical forests, educating girls, family planning, solar farms, silvopasture and then rooftop solar as number ten. Two of my favourite solutions, planting forests and harnessing tidal energy, are 15 and 29 respectively. So that’s another bet lost.

Drawdown is addictive. For each solution there is a short review supported by great photos and informatics. Take refrigeration. We are reminded that refrigerants continue to cause planetary trouble leading to a new treaty. Ultimately, 197 nations have adopted the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2028. HFCs are largely innocuous to the ozone layer but are one of the most potent greenhouse gases known to humankind. Hence they take pole position. Which should give you pause to think when next buying a new fridge or air conditioner.

As Prince Charles writes in the foreword: ‘The solutions put forward in Drawdown reaffirm compelling truths that for some inexplicable reason have not yet been taken forward effectively.’ I agree and hope political and business leaders in Westminster and the City have the opportunity to study the findings of this four-year survey and use their influence to help reverse global warming. The findings of Hawken’s work make compelling reading. With the Drawdown plan as a reference, we are better informed to vote for a sustainable tomorrow through the purchases and actions we make today.

Click here to purchase Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken from Amazon

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • Natural Capital: Putting a price on nature
    Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocat...
    The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Films

Powerful expedition film, screened at the 2018 Adventure Uncovered Film…

Books

by Laura Locker and Julia Scheele • Icon Books • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Patrick Nunn • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Oliver Bullough • Profile Books • £20 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Thomas Reinertsen Berg • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Rutherford • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £18.99 (hardback) • £9.99 (eBook)

Films

Ever since 1984, when the first TED conference took place,…

Exhibitions

Annual photography competition at the Natural History Museum celebrates the…

Exhibitions

We all have to live with buildings, but getting the…

Books

by Bruno Latour • Polity Books • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain • Summersdale • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Francis Fukuyama • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Pascal Bruckner • Polity Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Kevin Begos • Algonquin Books • £20.99 (hardback)

Books

by Karl Schlögel (translated by Gerrit Jackson) • Reaktion Books • £18 (hardback)

Films

Space race biopic tries to uncover the real Neil Armstrong,…

Exhibitions

Four new galleries at Royal Museums Greenwich explore Britain’s maritime…

Books

by John Foot • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Deborah Baker • Chatto & Windus • £25 (hardback)