An interesting article from Green America featured the top 10 solutions to reverse climate change.
These are top 10 out of 100 solutions taken from Paul Hawken’s New York Times bestseller book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.
According to the article, when Paul Hawken and experts modelled and ranked these solutions that can reverse climate change based on a “plausible scenario” – a conservative yet optimistic implementation of the answers, GHG atmosphere levels will begin to decline.
Combing all solutions will allow us to reduce 1,051 gigatons by 2050 in a “plausible scenario”, however ramping up the solutions or scaling them up beyond the conservative measures can sequester carbon by 1,442 gigatons by 2050, according to Hawken.
Below are his top 10 solutions according to its potential to reduce emissions over 30 years:
1. Refrigerant Management
Refrigerant Management tops the list. When countries completely phase out or replace ozone-depleting and earth-warming refrigerants chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) it can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and reduce damages to the environment.
2. Increased government subsidy and support
Increased government subsidy and support in Onshore Wind Turbines can strengthen and increase the share of renewable energy into the power grid and has the potential to be the least expensive source of electric capacity.
3. Reducing Food Waste
Reducing Food Waste by improving distribution and storage infrastructure in developing countries and willful food waste in higher-income countries because of the appearance of the produce. Education and proper food budgeting can be solutions to reduce food waste. Wasting food also squanders other resources like water, seeds, energy, hours of labour, and capital that goes into food production.
4. Adopting a Plant-Rich Diet Food
The dairy industry is notorious for its contribution to GHG emissions, so eating less meat or treating meat as a “delicacy” is a healthier option both for you and the planet’s and lowers GHG emissions up to 70%. Amplifying the health benefits of plant-rich diets can also encourage people to change their eating patterns.
5. Tropical Forest Restoration
Tropical forest loss due to rapid deforestation accounts for up to 19% of GHG emission. Forest also serves as critical carbon sinks. Thankfully calls for reforestation are happening around the world, and 4.9 billion acres of the forest offers opportunities for restoration activities.
6. Educating Girls
In poor Asian countries, boys are prioritized over girls to get an education because of economic and cultural barriers. Young girls that are not in school are already put to work either domestically or subject to labour, making them vulnerable to all types of abuses. However, education can make profound changes in the lives of these young girls. Education gives them better work opportunities, give them choices when to marry or how many children to have which impacts their health and the health of their family, and reduce their risks to contract diseases like HIV and malaria. Education also makes them resilient to climate change impacts and natural disasters. Supporting programs that put young girls to school can help them improve their lives so that they can contribute to society.
7. Family Planning
Access to culturally and affordable contraception, family planning, and reproductive health education can help developing countries avoid unplanned pregnancies. Giving them control when to conceive and plan pregnancies affirms their basic human dignities and freedom as well as improve their resilience, and help them cope and adapt to the uncertain effects of climate change.
8. Solar Farms
Large-scale arrays of thousands of solar panels that can operate at utility-scale are cheaper to install than its rooftop alternate. Because it rotates, it is more efficient in generating energy from the sun. The plunging costs of PV’s make it the fastest-growing, expanding renewable energy mix into the global electric grids and an affordable renewable energy source. At present solar PV’s accounts for 2% of the worldwide electricity mix. To optimize renewable energy harvest and storage, flexible grids that can manage the variability of energy production will be crucial in the success of PV’s and other renewable energy.
Silvopasture is a farming method that combines cattle and trees. Conventional dairy or cattle farming would usually cut down trees to clear the area for cattle to graze. Silvopasture farming can be seen in countries like Sweden, Central America, US, and Canada. The intermingling of trees and cattle offers many benefits. Studies show that ruminants can digest tree forage better and reduce its methane emissions. This farming method can also sequester more carbon in both the biomass and the soil as it avoids deforestation. Farmers can be better off financially when practising silvopasture as it allows them to diversify their produce like trees, livestock, and other forestry products as it matures and generates income at different time horizons. The many benefits offered by this farming technique can help farmers adapt to more erratic and extreme weather.
10. Rooftop Solar
Rooftop Solar offers power access to rural and off the grid areas, especially in poor and power deficient communities. Solar panels provide GHG emission-free power and can replace fossil fuels used by the community to generate electricity for light and other domestic uses. Later, rooftops solar panels can all be connected to the grid feeding unused electricity to it to help meet broader demands. This arrangement can be financially feasible to homeowners as well. In some parts of the US and small island states small scale-PV’s is already providing cheaper electricity than the main power grids.
All the climate change solutions mentioned in the article already exist and accessible to everyone wishing to implement it.
Author Paul Hawken during his interview with Green America says that all the solutions are within our grasp and what they have been doing for the Project Drawdown is to map, measure, and model the most substantive solutions to global warming. If these solutions are scaled up to a reasonable level, the world can achieve a “drawdown” – that point in time when GHG peak and go down every year (Rysavy, 2020).