- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (April 18, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143130447
- ISBN-13: 978-0143130444
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 174 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
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“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.”
—Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming
“There’s been no real way for ordinary people to get an understanding of what they can do and what impact it can have. There remains no single, comprehensive, reliable compendium of carbon-reduction solutions across sectors. At least until now. . . . The public is hungry for this kind of practical wisdom.”
—David Roberts, Vox
“This is the ideal environmental sciences textbook—only it is too interesting and inspiring to be called a textbook.”
—Peter Kareiva, Director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA
“Drawdown is not just a project—it is an adventure. It is a promising story that has the potential to engage every person on the planet with at least one solution to climate change, whether it is educating girls, improved rice cultivation, creating walkable cities, eating a plant-rich diet, household recycling, or any of the other solutions.”
—Karen O'Brien, cCHANGE
“Drawdown is an exceptional example of cooperation between some of the sharpest thinkers on climate and energy matters, an atlas that has the potential to save the planet.”
—Andreas Kuhlmann, CEO German Energy Agency
“It will give you the best kind of hope, the kind that balances realism with radical vision. . . . Stabilizing the climate system will require a heroic global effort, but the point here is only to show that . . . such an effort can do more than merely succeed; that it can succeed well, and open into futures that we can actually bear to contemplate.”
—Tom Athanasiou, The Nation
“The Paul Hawken presentation I just experienced at Telluride Mountainfilm was simply the best speech I have ever heard. And, not so incidentally, also the most important. To come at the world’s most important issue in an entirely novel fashion is a monumental feat.”
— Tom Peters, American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence
“In the course of 20-some years of investigating and writing about global warming I’ve become all too familiar with that dynamic of gloom/doom/shame/fear/apathy, and I think Hawken has put his finger on exactly why we haven’t made more policy progress. The biggest anchor dragging behind this boat isn’t climate denial or even indifference but, I suspect, the almost unspeakably deep, defeatist conviction that no response really matters because we are already so thoroughly screwed. I’m vulnerable to that despair at times and maybe you are, too. If so, read this book — not just as an antidote to fear and despair but as foundation for understanding and supporting the kinds of change that really could be coming, and at every scale from your household to your company, your community, your county and state and national government.”
—Ron Meador, MinnPost
“I am blown away by Drawdown. Like hearing an advance copy of Sergeant Pepper, back in the day.”
—John Elkington, CEO Volans, author and world authority on sustainable development
“Be kindly unto the scientists, for they may just save our skin—and make us happier and wealthier in the bargain. . . . An optimistic program for getting out of our current mess, well deserving of the broadest possible readership.”
“A rigorous and profoundly important resource.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist
“With a climate-denying party controlling the government, it can seem that there’s no hope. . . . But a new book might change that—and serve as a blueprint for what comes next if the U.S. government (and the global community) begins to aggressively focus on altering the climate future. Drawdown is likely the most comprehensive model of climate solutions ever made.”
“Drawdown is a magnificent achievement.”
—Greg Watson, Schumacher Center for New Economics
“This is one of the most powerful, hopeful, world-changing documents. A deeply peer reviewed, fully win-win, nearly no-regrets pathway . . . with a surprising ranking of the most important and impactful solutions. Paul Hawken’s simple, elegant genius in leading this approach, can inspire rapid, catalytic action. ”
—Andy Lipkis, TreePeople
“A bold plan to beat back climate change based on solutions already within our grasp.”
“At a time when the Trump administration is working to dismantle much of the nation’s efforts to minimize climate change, Paul Hawken’s new book swoops onto the scene like a knight in shining armor. . . . The book’s release couldn’t possibly come at a better time. Refreshingly absent of political analysis, it’s grounded in scientific reality and will likely go a long way toward inciting people to action.”
—The Portland Tribune
“Drawdown is likely the most hopeful thing you’ll ever read about our ability to take on global warming.”
—Joel Makower, GreenBiz
“This book is a beautiful, inspiring, and deeply satisfying read. Most importantly it is no more doom and gloom. It is OPTIMISTIC and empowering. Paul Hawken is a true visionary and a brilliant voice for real solutions.”
—Jessica Rolph, Founding Partner, Happy Family
“It’s so brilliant . . . a showstopper.”
—Donald A. Falk, PhD, Associate Professor School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona
About the Author
Paul Hawken is an author and activist. He has founded successful, ecologically-conscious businesses, and consulted with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He has written seven books including four national bestsellers: The Next Economy, Growing a Business, and The Ecology of Commerce, and Blessed Unrest. The Ecology of Commerce was voted as the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, co-authored with Amory Lovins, has been referred to by several heads of state including President Bill Clinton who called it one of the most important books in the world at that time. He has served on the board of many environmental organizations including Center for Plant Conservation, Shelburne Farms, Trust for Public Land, Conservation International, and National Audubon Society.
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I looked in vain for the evidence that the remedies discussed will materially change the trajectory of projected temperature increases. How much below 2 C will we stabilize at with full implementation of these 100 remedies? According to the book even the most aggressive scenario they model only reduces CO2 by less than one gigaton (out of about 40 gigatons we spew each year) and that isn't until 2045. That means that we're still doomed.
I'm also puzzled that the book is called "The most comprehensive plan every proposed to reverse global warming". It's not a plan. It is a painstakingly researched compendium of currently used and and projected remedies. As such it's an essential contribution to our collective knowledge about climate change action. A plan however would have a set of goals, objectives, strategies, indicators and more. Perhaps Paul or others are now working to transform this solid beginning into a real plan. As a long time planner I'd be happy to help.
There is also little discussion about the single most important variable affecting whether we retain a livable planet - and that is time - or lack of it. Most all comprehensive analyses conclude that we're essentially out of time to avoid the most existentially dangerous consequences of climate chaos. It's wildly optimistic, and unsupported by the evidence, to suggest, as Drawdown does, that we can reverse climate change even if most of these remedies are not fully implemented until 2050.
Unless we almost fully decarbonize and drawdown in a decade or two, we're doomed to 5 -10 degrees F of warming by the end of the century. That level of warming will destabilize our politics, our economy, our food production, our social cohesion and our infrastructure to such an extreme degree that the organized productive work necessary to implement these remedies will be next to impossible to sustain.
And even were we by some near miracle to stabilize at the 2 C target we'll have a barely habitable planet, despite the conventional climate wisdom. There's little that is scientific about the 2 C target. It's a convenient political decision that puts the need for urgent action far into the future. We can see the severe consequences on our ice caps, our coral reefs and our weather with only 1 C warming today.
There's also the 'moral hazard' risk of the optimistic Drawdown message. We already have too much climate complacency. Yet reading Drawdown suggests that the market and human creativity is enough - or almost enough - to reverse climate change without mass mobilization and radical changes in how we invest, regulate, consume and organize our daily lives.
I write this critique with hesitancy given the enormous trust I have in Paul's good intentions and the admirable efforts of his 200 person working group. But we need to do so much more and much faster than what Drawdown describes. So I hope Paul will integrate that perspective into his continuing efforts at showing us the best path forward.
The book has two glaring deficits that make it a work that may ultimately harm our ability to move forward.
The first is a striking lack of solutions that are ocean-related. The ocean is the great temperature and atmospheric regulator of our planet. It requires abundant animal life in order to do much of the job of creating oxygen and sequestering carbon--for instance, the trophic cascade driven by whale populations down to plankton numbers. I am no expert, but I cannot imagine that the top 100 solutions do not include numerous actions that should be taken on behalf of ocean health. This is an area that has not received necessary attention and must.
This brings me to my second and most troubling point. Most of these solutions are tech based and economically informed. While they seem ambitious and somewhat impossible to attain, what drives much of the carbon emissions of our species is our consumptive way of life. This book assumes, based on solutions presented, that we just have to swap our current technologies with carbon reducing ones and we have some hope of solving things. That is the great lie!! A book with this much hype about solutions did not address overconsumption of manufactured items for its own sake. It does get wrapped into discussion of other topics, such as carpooling and recycling, but not explicitly. Imagine the impact of halving the purchaes we make. Or choosing to live without plastic and unnecessary packaging. We have spent hundreds of years getting into the situation we are in; this critical juncture requires an unswerving look at the nature of our addiction to possessing and extracting, which many of the posited solutions ignore.
Already looking for v.2 on this!!!
It takes some study to get how project drawdown works. It is great to get numbers for billion tons of CO2 reduced (GtCO2 which should be converted GtCeq) plus costs and savings for each of 80 solutions. The numbers are reasonable and it works like crowd sourcing...everybody can pick their solution and work from their own niche.
Some of my favorite parts were: 1) the reciprocity essay at the end and the "wood wide web", 2) the trashing of the cultural belief that cattle and trees don't mix, and 3) the dire need to build better batteries so renewables can get beyond 25 per cent of our energy mix.
Shortcomings of the book? The graphics and title page seemed a bit odd. And the C capture solution seemed weak, i.e., it is not enough to capture CO2 but we must make it a useful liquid or solid as in limestone bricks. The analysis re family planning and education of girls is SO important but the analysis of this is weak as it means controlling population if we are ever to have Limits to Growth as prophesied in 1972.
Bravo to Paul Hawjen and the team for getting us going in the right direction.