The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, Drawdown, has shown that the number one solution is a combination of family planning and educating girls, which together would reduce CO2 emissions by an incredible 120 gigatons by 2050 — more than on and offshore wind power combined.
These figures confirm what charities such as Population Matters have been saying for decades – no matter how many tech-solutions and CO2 reducing initiatives are tried, emissions will keep increasing while human numbers grow. One of the simplest and most effective solutions is a combination of educating girls and the universal provision of access to family planning, which both slow birthrates. A lower birthrate gives families an easier life as resources are shared among fewer people, plus CO2 emissions are dramatically reduced.
Drawdown is the point in time when greenhouse gas concentrations peak in the atmosphere and begin to go down on a year-to-year basis. The Drawdown project is the brainchild of Paul Hawken, who researched for almost three years, with 70 Drawdown research fellows from 22 countries and six continents. The nonprofit organization is a coalition of scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, and advocates from across the globe that is mapping, measuring, modeling, and communicating about a collective array of substantive solutions to global warming, with the goal of reaching drawdown.
Well over 100 solutions were evaluated, looking for the following criteria:
- Is the solution currently available and scaling?
- Is it economically viable? In other words, is there a business case?
- Does it have the potential to reduce GHGs in the atmosphere, either through avoided emissions or sequestration, by at least 50 million tons of greenhouse gasses over 30 years.
- Are there any negative results, such as pollution, reduced food security, land conversion, etc.? And if so, do the positive benefits outweigh the negatives?
- Do we have sufficient data to be able to model these technologies at global scale?
Drawdown has been appointed by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Patricia Scotland, to collaborate with the Commonwealth on future research. Secretary Scotland has committed the Commonwealth to integrating Drawdown into the economic and ecologic portfolios of the fifty-two countries that comprise the Commonwealth, representing a population that is just shy of one-third of humanity. Two of these countries, Nigeria (population 185 million) and Pakistan (population 190 million), have rapidly growing populations and would benefit enormously from Drawdown.