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Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.

Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.

We did not make or devise the plan—the plan exists and is being implemented worldwide. It has been difficult to envision this possibility because the focus is overwhelmingly on the impacts of climate change. We gathered a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. What was uncovered is a path forward that can roll back global greenhouse gas emissions within thirty years. The research revealed that humanity has the means and techniques at hand. Nothing new needs to be invented, yet many more solutions are coming due to purposeful human ingenuity. The solutions we modeled are in place and in action. Humanity’s task is to accelerate the knowledge and growth of what is possible as soon as possible.

About Project Drawdown

Our Mission

Project Drawdown gathers and facilitates a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, policy makers, business leaders and activists to assemble and present the best available information on climate solutions in order to describe their beneficial financial, social and environmental impact over the next thirty years.

Our Vision

To date, the full range and beneficial impact of climate solutions have not been explained in a way that bridges the divide between urgency and agency. The aspirations of people who want to enact meaningful solutions remain largely untapped. Dr. Leon Clark, one of the lead authors of the IPCC 5th Assessment, wrote, “We have the technologies, but we really have no sense of what it would take to deploy them at scale.” Together, let’s figure this out.

Our History

Project Drawdown was founded by author, entrepreneur, and environmentalist Paul Hawken in 2014 to map, measure, and model the most substantive solutions to stop global warming, and to communicate those findings to the world.

Summary of Solutions by Overall Rank

This table provides the detailed results of the Plausible Scenario, which models the growth solutions on the Drawdown list based on a reasonable, but vigorous rate from 2020-2050. Results depicted represent a comparison to a reference case that assumes 2014 levels of adoption continue in proportion to the growth in global markets.
NOTE: Energy Storage (utility-scale & distributed), Grid Flexibility, Microgrids, Net Zero Buildings, and Retrofitting were not modeled independently to avoid double counting impacts from other solutions.


Electricity Generation


The power sector currently accounts for around 40 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, making it the highest-emitting sector, followed by industry and transportation. Of total worldwide electricity generation, fossil fuels represent 67 percent, nuclear 11 percent, and renewable energy sources just over 24 percent and growing, with the bulk (18 percent) being from large hydropower systems. In the last few years, the competitiveness of renewable sources for electricity generation has continued to increase due to the price evolution and the efficiency improvements of these technologies.

The Drawdown Electricity Generation Sector includes solutions both centralized and decentralized—such as onshore wind power and rooftop solar panels, respectively—and enabling technologies such as electricity storage systems that foster large-scale integration of renewable energy sources.


Included in Project Drawdown’s rankings of the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming are 20* of the most impactful solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or for supporting the adoption and implementation of other solutions, in the Electricity Generation (formerly “Energy”) sector.

The solutions included in this sector have significant positive climate and financial impacts in the short, medium, and long term, since they can replace conventional electricity generation technologies such as coal, natural gas, and oil power plants.

*In the Drawdown book, solar water and methane digesters – small are included in this sector, while landfill methane is under the Buildings and Cities Sector for communication reasons. However, landfill methane was accounted under the modeling framework of the Energy Sector due to the common addressable market. The other two solutions were modeled under the Buildings and Cities Sector.

Electricity Generation Solutions

  • Concentrated solar – an electricity generation technology that uses heat provided by direct normal solar irradiance concentrated on a small area, with and without storage.
  • Geothermal – geothermal systems for electricity generation, combining both mature technologies and future expectations for enhanced geothermal.
  • In-stream hydro – small-scale hydropower technologies under 10 megawatts, including in-stream hydrokinetic systems.
  • Methane digesters (large) – large methane digesters associated with agriculture, manure, and wastewater facilities that produce biogas to be used for electricity generation in dedicated biogas or combined heat and power plants.
  • Methane digesters (small) – small methane digesters used at the household level to replace fuelwood, charcoal, or even fossil fuel-based cookstoves.
  • Micro wind – wind turbines that are rated less than or equal to 100 kilowatts of power capacity.
  • Rooftop solar – distributed solar photovoltaic systems that include both residential and community-scale systems generally below 1 megawatt.
  • Solar farms – utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems.
  • Solar water – solar hot water systems supplementing existing electric and gas heaters in houses.
  • Wave and tidal – wave energy converters and tidal systems for electricity generation.
  • Wind turbines (offshore) – offshore utility-scale wind power technologies.
  • Wind turbines (onshore) – onshore utility-scale wind power technologies.

Transitional Technologies

  • Biomass – the use of perennial biomass feedstock for dedicated electricity generation and combined heat and power generation.
  • Cogeneration – auto producer combined heat and power systems running on natural gas. Considered here as a transition technology, replacing conventional heat and power technologies and allowing for a greater efficiency and fuel optionality.
  • Nuclear – the adoption of nuclear fission in the form of Uranium 235 as used in pressurized water reactors, a type of light-water reactor using low-enriched uranium fuel (the most prevalent form of nuclear energy in 2016).
  • Waste-to-energy – the process of combusting waste (typically from the municipal solid waste stream) and converting it to electricity and usable heat.

Enabling Technologies

  • Energy storage (distributed) – decentralized systems generally based on battery storage.
  • Energy storage (utilities) – includes utility-scale storage units such as gravitational potential energy (pumped hydroelectric), chemical energy (batteries), mechanical energy (flywheels or compressed air energy storage, or hydrogen storage.
  • Grid flexibility – represents a portfolio of practices and technologies (system operation, markets, load, flexible generation, networks, and storage) that increase grid efficiency, resilience, and ability to integrate variable renewable energy.
  • Microgrids – a localized grouping of electricity sources and loads that normally operates connected to and synchronous with the traditional centralized power grid, but can disconnect and function autonomously as physical and/or economic conditions dictate



The Food Sector includes agricultural production (crops and livestock) as well as food preparation, consumption, and waste. This essential human activity is responsible for a major share of greenhouse gas emissions today: crop and livestock production is the source of about 1/8 of anthropogenic emissions. Land clearing (which is mostly for agriculture) is the source of another 1/8 of emissions (IPCC, 2014). Many of Project Drawdown’s supply-side agricultural solutions reduce emissions from farming and ranching, while also sequestering significant amounts of carbon. Demand-side solutions like a plant-based diet and reduced food waste reduce the need for land clearing.


Supply-Side Solutions:

  • Biochar – a biosequestration process for converting biomass to long-lived charcoal (and energy) which can be used as a soil amendment.
  • Conservation agriculture – an annual crop production system that provides biosequestration via crop rotation, cover cropping, and reduced tillage.
  • Farmland irrigation – a set of energy-efficient irrigation practices that increase crop yields while reducing emissions.
  • Farmland restoration – a set of processes for restoring degraded, abandoned land to productivity and biosequestration.
  • Improved rice cultivation – a set of practices to reduce methane emissions from paddy rice production using alternate wet and dry periods and other strategies.
  • Managed grazing – a set of practices that sequester carbon in grassland soils by adjusting stocking rates, timing, and intensity of grazing.
  • Multistrata agroforestry – a perennial cropping system featuring multiple layers of trees and other perennial crops, with high biosequestration impacts.
  • Nutrient management – a reduction in the overuse of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, resulting in reduced emissions of nitrous oxide.
  • Regenerative agriculture – an annual crop production system that includes at least four of the following practices: green manure, compost application, organic production, cover crops, crop rotation, and/or reduced tillage.
  • Silvopasture – the addition of trees to pastures for increased productivity and biosequestration.
  • System of Rice Intensification – an improved smallholder rice production technique that uses wider spacing non-flooded periods, compost application, and other strategies for emissions reduction and improved yields.
  • Tree intercropping – an annual crop production system that integrates trees for increased yields, ecosystem services, and biosequestration.
  • Tropical staple trees – the production of trees that produce staple crops (starch, protein, oils), to replace some annual cropping with trees providing biosequestration.

Demand-Side Solutions:

  • Clean cookstoves – the use of efficient cookstoves that reduce deforestation and improve health in regions where firewood is the main cooking fuel.
  • Composting – the conversion of biodegradable waste to a useful soil amendment, while avoiding emissions from landfills.
  • Plant-rich diet – reduced emissions associated with reduced livestock production by emphasizing plant-based foods in wealthy countries, while increasing food security and healthy diets. Avoids emissions from land clearing for agriculture by reducing demand.
  • Reduced food waste – reducing emissions from agriculture by using its products more efficiently, including redistribution of food before it is wasted. Avoids emissions from land clearing for agriculture by reducing demand.

Women and Girls


Advancing key areas of gender equity can reduce emissions—that is what defines the Women and Girls Sector. Access to education and voluntary family planning are basic human rights and should be secured simply because they are, yet significant gaps remain around the world today. They are included as solutions in Project Drawdown because advancing those rights has an effect on fertility rates and population growth. Population size is a key driver of demand for food, transportation, electricity, buildings, goods, etc., all with attendant emissions. Women smallholder farmers face disparity in rights, resources, and training compared with their male counterparts. Addressing inequity in agriculture is a solution in Project Drawdown due to its effect on improving farm yields and thus reducing deforestation for additional agricultural land. As a group, Educating Girls, Family Planning, and Women Smallholders form the Women and Girls Sector—an area often overlooked but key to reaching drawdown.


Population change solutions

Educating Girls – providing equal quality of and access to education to girls/young women currently being denied access, leading to improved livelihoods, delayed onset of marriage, delayed childbearing, and fewer children than peers with less education.

Family Planning – scaling-up voluntary family planning efforts, including access to contraception and reproductive health resources, especially in countries where the unmet need for contraception is high or current demand is low, leading to the decline in total fertility rates.

Food system / ecosystem protection solutions

Women Smallholders – providing resources, financing, and training to women smallholder farmers around the world, leading to improved agricultural yields and therefore reduced deforestation rates.

Buildings and Cities


Dense urban human settlement – the cities of the world and the buildings and infrastructure that comprise them – account for a significant percentage of human energy use, mostly for heating and cooling; ergo, they are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The rapid urbanization of humanity ushered in inefficient design of buildings and infrastructure, and Project Drawdown identified, measured, mapped and modeled several solutions that address the operating inefficiencies of dwelling in and using buildings, and of living in cities.



For Buildings, 10 solutions were identified (8 of which were modeled) as listed here:

Building automation – through controls and sensors, automation systems turn appliances and other energy uses on and off according to need and use, increasing utilization and reducing space heating and cooling waste.

Green roofs (cool roofs and green roofs) – cool roofs reflect solar radiation and reduce air temperature, which leads to reduction in cooling loads. Green roofs have a similar effect as well as reducing heating loads in regions of high heat demand. Collectively, green roofs mitigate carbon emissions by reducing fossil fuel use in heating and cooling.

Heat pumps – high efficiency heat pump systems are radically more efficient than conventional HVAC systems. The use of heat pumps reduces building heating and cooling loads.

Insulation – insulating building envelopes reduces space heating and cooling loads, which in turn mitigates carbon emissions.

LED lighting (commercial) – replacing conventional lighting solutions (bulbs, ballasts and systems) with more efficient commercial light-emitting diodes.

LED lighting (household) – replacing conventional lighting solutions (bulbs) with more efficient household light-emitting diodes.

Net zero buildings – not counted/calculated – composite

Retrofitting – not counted/calculated – composite

Smart glass – specially designed glass that can be implemented in buildings to control the infiltration and emissions of solar radiation, leading to reductions in space heating and cooling loads which, in turn, mitigate carbon emissions.

Smart thermostats – internet-connected devices in households that reduce the heating and cooling demand of homes by using sensors and intelligent settings to maintain building comfort.

Additionally, Project Drawdown modeled another key solution that depends on and interacts with buildings, but is categorized in the Energy Sector.

Solar hot water – the use of solar radiation to pre-heat or heat water for residential and commercial use within buildings, which reduces the need for conventional fossil fuel-based water heating.


Five additional solutions were studied and modeled for Cities, as listed here:

Bike infrastructure – modifying or augmenting urban right of ways to have specific infrastructure reserved for bicycle commuting and segregated physically or by marking from car and pedestrian right of ways.

District heating – centralized heating systems and distribution of generated heat to the buildings of a defined community, through a network of buried piped, to satisfy the demand for space and water heating.

Landfill methane – capturing methane generated from anaerobic digestion of municipal solid waste in landfills and incinerating the captured biogas to generate electricity, reducing the need for fossil fuel-powered electricity production and associated emissions.

Walkable cities – designing and retrofitting urban environments to encourage walking for commute or transportation, thereby reducing transportation via internal combustion engine powered vehicles and their associated emissions.

Water distribution – reducing water leakage or oversupply of regional water, which reduces pumping and pressurization electricity, which, in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions.







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