Drawdown: a review of the Review

| May 22, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Foto of painting by Jacob_Seisenegger_Portrait of a mother with her eight children (1565)

Item Link: Access the Resource

Media Type: Article - Recent

Date of Publication: May 6

Year of Publication: 2020

Publication City: Gothenburg, Sweden

Publisher: The Overpopulation Project

Author(s): Jane O’Sullivan

Categories: , , ,

Hats off to Paul Hawken, the environmentalist behind Project Drawdown. Three years ago, he published a best-selling book, ‘Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming’. The concept was brilliantly simple. It stripped away the complexity of how to respond to climate change, by cataloguing the hundred most impactful actions that could be taken, using existing technologies, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Listed at numbers 6 and 7 were ‘Educating Girls’ and ‘Family Planning’, each attributed 59.6 Gt CO2-eq. Less obvious was that, when taken together, these two constituted the greatest single contribution of all, at 119 Gt. And they do go together, since they represent the emissions saved by reducing global population growth from the UN’s ‘medium fertility’ projection to its ‘low fertility’ projection. To his credit, Paul Hawken drew attention to this fact in talks on the project, particularly in his appearance on Damon Gameau’s uplifting climate-solutions movie ‘2040’.

Note that the UN’s low-fertility projection is an outcome-based projection (achieving half a child per woman fewer births globally), not based on the policies or actions required to achieve that outcome. Drawdown simply split the resulting emissions equally between ‘education for girls’ and ‘family planning access’, on an entirely arbitrary basis.

Read the full review here.

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