Project Drawdown lists some 100 solutions to achieve the time where we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and begin to actually draw them down from the atmosphere. But solutions don’t just happen. The Drawdown Review 2020 (Pages 77-78) says: “’Accelerators’” create the conditions for solutions to move forward. As with solutions, none are singularly effective, and we need them all.” Here are the Drawdown accelerators:
- Shape Culture: Culture is critical context for climate solutions and action, telling us what’s right or wrong, what’s possible or impossible. Stories, the arts, dialogue, and visioning are some of the means of (re)shaping culture and collective beliefs about how the world works, or could. Cultural change can feel diffuse, but it sets the context for what we do as a society and can foster a sense of collective courage.
- Build Power: Power is a precondition for creating change. In the past, too much power has been deployed against climate action; too little has been assembled to advance solutions. We build power by building community, movements, and diverse leadership. When the concentrated power and entrenched interests of industry or government work against transformation, people power offers a corrective.
- Set Goals: Goals govern direction. What are we reaching for, and why? On climate but also more broadly, goals can be specific and numeric (e.g., “carbon neutral by 2030”), or they can be higher-order, more systemic ambitions (e.g., “a climate-just future”). Sometimes a new goal can dramatically shift where we’re headed—and the solutions and approaches we bring to bear.
- Alter Rules and Policy: Rules create boundaries. They tell us what is desirable and perhaps encouraged, or what is unwanted and perhaps punished. Laws, regulations, taxes, tax breaks, subsidies, and incentives are means of changing the state of play on climate, but hinge on who writes the rules. Policy shifts can advance solutions, while stopping sources of the problem.
- Shift Capital: Given our economic system, money is necessary fuel for making change. Public and private investment and philanthropic giving can stimulate and sustain climate solutions and efforts to move them forward. Divestment is also powerful, shifting capital away from sources of the problem, essentially restricting their blood flow.
- Change Behavior: From individuals to corporations and beyond, behavior is what’s done and how. All climate solutions have behavioral dimensions, and some hinge almost entirely on human habit. Knowledge, norms, standards, and motivations can shift behavior and create new ways of operating. Where changes in behavior aggregate, outcomes can shift significantly.
- Improve Technology: To stop the sources of emissions, technology must evolve. “Now is better than new” when it comes to climate solutions, but through innovation, research, and development, technology may continue to improve and add to the solutions at hand. This is especially critical for the most intractable sectors, such as heavy industry and aviation.