Top positive review
Wonderful albeit incomplete
Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2017
Drawdown is long overdue. As with all of Hawken's writings it's well conceived, carefully researched and beautifully written. Thank goodness for this effort. Yet....
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.