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Climate One

Monday, February 10 at 2:00 pm

Rewind: Drawdown / Solving Climate Change

To solve climate change, where is best place to start?

The organization Project Drawdown has published a list of top solutions for climate change – impactful actions already in existence that not only reduce carbon emissions, but also improve lives, create jobs and generate community resilience.

“Electricity is about a quarter of the problem,” says Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown. “Food, agriculture and forest are also a quarter of the problem… Then you’ve got buildings, industry and transportation. Those are the five things we’ve got to change.”

One item that might surprise many is dealing with global overpopulation. And that starts with improving education and reproductive freedom for the world’s girls and women.

“If women have the opportunity to be able to have a voice and be agents in their community and their country globally, we have the opportunity to have the kind of innovation that we need to be able to combat this,” says Lois Quam of Pathfinder International.

“That human right to decide whether and when and how many and with whom we want to have a child, the ability to exercise that right is… one of the top strategies to combat climate change.”

Of course, the core of the climate challenge involves moving to energy sources that don’t emit carbon dioxide. And when it comes to cutting emissions, some countries are moving more quickly than others.

“We need to decarbonize the world economy really quickly and at massive scale,” says Joshua Goldstein, co-author of A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.

“The Paris agreement, we all thought it was a step in the right direction,” notes Goldstein. “It’s a step – everything is a step in the right direction the question is are you getting there fast enough to head off this catastrophe.”

Sonia Aggarwal, Vice President at the consulting firm Energy Innovation, is altogether more upbeat about the market-based prospects for decarbonization. “We’re seeing some numbers that I think are kind of nuts honestly,” she says, citing the fact that costs in the last decade have come down 90% for solar, 70% for wind, and batteries 80%.”

“It is absolutely possible to put together a portfolio of zero carbon resources that looks many different ways and delivers electricity reliably,” says Aggarwal.

Kate Brandt
Sustainability Officer, Google

Jonathan Foley
Executive Director, Project Drawdown

Lois Quam
U.S. Chief Executive Officer, Pathfinder International

Sonia Aggarwal
Vice President, Energy Innovation

Joshua Goldstein
Professor Emeritus of International Relations, American University

Staffan Qvist
Consultant, Qvist Consulting Limited

To listen to the audio of “Rewind: Drawdown / Solving Climate Change” on Climate One online, please click HERE.