Here are a number of solutions to tackle emissions and climate change. Many are based upon the excellent quantified list compiled by Drawdown, but there are a few others included as well. Where there are companies or projects known to be implementing a solution, they are included and can be viewed by expanding the relevant section. Follow the 'Drawdown' links where present to see Drawdown's analysis of each solution, and the impact it could have upon emissions.
You may notice that many solutions lack entries! This has two causes. Firstly, whilst we add every company we can, we miss some, or do not come across them. If there's a project or company tackling an area that you think we've missed, let us know! Secondly, some sectors just don't have much attention, and there genuinely aren't many people tackling those areas. This might be a prime area to assist with - some of the most neglected areas are extremely high impact!
Aircraft produce a significant percentage of world emissions, and the sector is growing rapidly. More efficient aircraft designs are needed to mitigate the impact of flying on the environment.
Bike Infrastructure
Bicycling is an excellent low-carbon way to move around urban areas, but without good bike infrastructure, encouraging cycling will be an uphill battle. This really is a case of 'build it and they will come'.
Biochar is a carbon-rich product made by baking biomass without oxygen. The resulting material can be used to enrich soil, and is an excellent way to sequester carbon.
Biomass involves harvesting carbon-rich plant matter for power, heat or production into biofuels. Whilst not a long-term solution, biomass can provide a renewable source of energy during the transition away from fossil fuels.
Building Automation
Controlling building systems such as heating, lighting, security and more through automation can open up huge opportunities for efficiency gains, as buildings can improve conditions for users and save energy at the same time.
Carbon Capture and Storage is a catchall for many different systems that harvest carbon and store it somehow. Industrial filtration systems can capture carbon from emissions, reducing the impact of everything from power plants to incinerators.
Clean Cookstoves
Nearly 3 billion people cook on open fires or basic stoves. These not only pollute homes and cause premature deaths, but release 2-5% of annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Coastal Wetland
Over the long term, coastal wetlands can store five times the carbon of tropical forests, and should they be lost, much of this carbon would be released.
Cogeneration is the harvesting of thermal energy from electricity production, allowing that heat to be used for industrial processes or for heating homes and businesses.
Composting is an excellent way to dispose of organic and biodegradable waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill. It avoids the emissions otherwise inherent in breaking the waste down, turning it into sequesterable soil carbon that can also be sold as a fertilizer.
Direct Air Capture (DAC)
Direct Air Capture is the capture of carbon dioxide directly from the air. Currently it's extremely expensive, but scaled sufficiently it could prove a valuable mechanism for lowering atmospheric CO2 levels.
District Heating
District heating systems improve the efficiency of heating by centralising heat production for a building or area, and can cut emissions and energy use in half versus conventional heating systems.
Efficient Lighting
LED lighting can use up to 90% less energy than conventional lightbulbs, and lasts much longer. Unfortunately, they're still more expensive than alternatives, meaning that LEDs are still not used as much as they could be.
Electric Vehicles
EVs are vastly superior in emissions versus internal-combustion vehicles, with a drop of 50% in emissions if powered from the grid, and 95% if powered from solar.
Energy Positive Buildings
Energy positive buildings are buildings that produce more energy than they consume, through a combination of small scale renewable energy and efficient building techniques.
Energy Storage
One of the biggest blockers to the adoption of renewables is their intermittent nature, requiring expensive and highly emitting spinning power reserves. Large scale energy storage, both on a home/business level as well as grid-scale, could enable the grid to smooth out the intermittent nature of renewables and remove the need for spinning reserve.
Enhanced Weathering
Certain types of rocks can react with CO2 and lock it away into carbonates, sequestering it. By processing these types of rocks to increase surface area, and applying them to soil and farmland, large scale carbon sequestration could be acheived.
Family Planning
Ensuring universal access to family planning is vital to empowering women and improving their health, welfare and life expectancy. The resulting lower birthrates also mean that this is can have a massive influence on emissions.
Farmland Restoration
There are up to 1 billion acres of abandoned farmland that has been 'farmed out'. This land can be restored through the use of regenerative farming, tree planting or rewilding, allowing the lands to sequester carbon more effectively than in their abandoned state.
Forests hold a huge store of carbon, and are responsible for much of the CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. Reducing deforestation and enabling reforestation of these areas is key.
Geothermal Power
Geothermal energy involves using the heat of the Earth's interior to produce energy. Though it can be location specific, it provides reliable and efficient renewable energy 24/7.
Greener Concrete
Concrete is one of the most widely used building materials, and its production produces large amounts of CO2. There are a few different methods to mitigate this, all of which promise huge impact.
Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are incredibly efficient mechanisms for transferring heat around, and usage could cut energy consumption by 30-40% versus other heating and cooling methods.
High-speed Rail
High-speed rail, whilst expensive to roll out, is low emissions, almost exclusively powered by electricity, and is generally faster point-to-point than airtravel on journeys up to 1000km.
Hydroelectric Power
Hydroelectric power generates power from water, either by using gravity from a dam or the natural flow of a stream to force water through a turbine to generate electricity.
Improved Rice Cultivation
Rice production is highly emitting, producing around 10% of agricultural emissions, and 10-20% of global methane emissions. This can be reduced through the use of improved growing techniques which also boost the efficiency and dependability of rice harvests.
Indigenous Land Management
Indigenous communities are used to living in equilibrium with their ecosystem, and are excellent guardians of their environment, protecting it from deforestation and other threats. By increasing the amount of land under indigenous management, huge amounts of forests and other ecosystems can be protected.
A simple but effective solution, better insulation on homes and businesses can improve their efficiency, reducing the energy required to heat and cool them.
Managed Grazing
Managed grazing aims to replicate the behaviour of wild grazing animals, which rather than reducing grassland to dust, actually improve soil health, carbon and water retention.
Mass Timber
Mass Timber is a new approach to building, using wood instead of steel for structural elements. This not only reduces the emissions from steel production, but sequesters carbon within the building.
Mass Transit
Moving people en-mass, via bus, train, or other similar means is vastly more efficient, and helps with easing congestion, reducing traffic fatalities and air pollution.
Microgrids are small parts of the wider electrical grid that are self-sufficient, and can disconnect in the event of an outage. Moving to microgrids facilitates the adoption of distributed energy generation, and makes the grid more resilient and nimble.
Nuclear Power
Nuclear power has a chequered history, and is often feared and maligned as expensive and over complex. However, it is one of the best zero-carbon power sources we have, and with new technologies such as fusion and molten salt reactors, could prove a valuable part of the grid in a carbon-neutral world.
Pasture Cropping
Pasture cropping involves combining annual crops with perennial pasture, creating a complex ecosystem that improves the health of everything within it. It requires no soil tilling, fertilizers or pesticides, massively reducing the impact as well as preventing over-farming.
Peatlands are a form of bog/mire that is formed over thousands of years from rotting plants, and they are massive carbon stores. Protecting them from clearance and restoring drained peatland is essential to combatting climate change.
Perennial Crops
Perennial crops are those that last for multiple years, rather than dying off and needing to be replanted annually. They sequester carbon more effectively than annual crops, and leave the soil intact, preventing carbon loss from tilling.
Much of what we throw away can potentially be recycled into new goods, saving energy and reducing waste, but current recycling strategies are a mess, with much exported to poorer countries in Africa and Asia. Improvements here could reduce emissions and plastic waste across the world.
Reducing Food Waste
Around one third of all food produced is never consumed, being wasted along the way. Reducing this waste is key to enabling the world to feed a growing population whilst reducing agricultural emissions.
Reducing Meat Consumption
Meat is hugely emissions-intensive - cattle produce around one fifth of all emissions. Plant-based diets emit vastly less per person, and tend to be healthier.
Replanting old forests and planting new ones is a simple and effective way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere at scale and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Refrigerant Management
All refrigerators and air-conditioning units contain refrigerants to transfer heat. These are often HFCs, which are extremely potent greenhouse gases. They need to be managed and destroyed carefully to avoid atmospheric warming.
Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative agriculture is a series of practices that restore the carbon content of soils and improve productivity of farmland.
Renewable Plastics
Plastic is one of the most versatile materials humankind uses, but it is also highly emitting to produce, and difficult to dispose of. By producing renewable plastics from non-fossil fuel sources, that are easier to recycle, we can continue to use plastics without the environmental impact.
Retrofitting is refurbishing old buildings with the latest windows, insulation, lighting and more. This can massively reduce the impact of older buildings at lower cost than replacing with a newer construction.
Roofing Efficiency
Roofs are often the weak-point of buildings from an energy perspective, as they can both absorb huge amounts of energy on hot days, and leak energy on cold ones. By utilising techniques such as green roofs and cool roofs, these losses can be reduced significantly, saving energy.
More than 80% of global trade by volume is shipped. Shipping emissions are at nearly 4% and rising fast, and given the huge volumes, efficiency gains here could have huge impact.
Silvopasture is an ancient practice of integrating trees into animal pastures, reducing emissions and increasing the rate of carbon storing by 5-10 times.
Smart Grids
Smart grids extend the now familiar IoT concept to the Electricity grid, enabling every component in the grid to accurately report status in near realtime, allowing for a more dynamic and adaptable grid infrastructure.
Solar Power
Solar power is one of the keystones of renewable energy, with the plummeting price of photovoltaic panels enabling them to scale more rapidly than any other form of renewable energy production.
Trains transport huge numbers of passengers and massive freight volumes, but many run on diesel. There is extensive room for alternative fuels and efficiency improvements that could reduce emissions from trains significantly.
Tree Intercropping
Tree intercropping mixes trees and crops, which helps protect crops, increase the carbon content of soil, as well as create habitats for animals and insects.
Tropical Staple Trees
By replacing annual crops with perennial trees, carbon sequestration can be increased, and soil erosion and runoff reduced. They can also be grown on a wider variety of landscapes, opening up more land to food production
Worldwide road freight produces around 6% (and growing) of total emissions, so increasing the efficiency of trucking is a must.
Walkable Cities
Walkable cities are those designed to be walking friendly, with everything from higher density of homes and amenities, to good public transport links and safe pedestrian crossings. Walkable cities cut congestion, air pollution and traffic deaths, and encourage a healthier lifestyle.
Waste to Energy
We throw too much waste away. In an ideal world, everything would be composted or recycled, but even now, our significant landfill contributions can be harnessed for energy, either by tapping gases from landfill, or by incinerating waste.
Water Efficiency
Reducing water usage is a surprisingly large source of savings. The use of water-saving taps, showers, toilets and more can cut home water usage by 45%, and tackling leaks more effectively could save some of the 8.6 trillion gallons lost each year.
Wave Power
Wave and tidal power utilises the power of the seas to generate energy. Currently it is amongst the most expensive renewable energy sources, but could prove a valuable cornerstone of a green energy grid
Wind Power
Wind power is rapidly decreasing in price, and is one of the key renewable energy solutions being implemented at scale.
Education for Women
Educating women and girls helps women achieve upwards mobility, as well as reducing maternal mortality. Educated women also tend to have fewer and healthier children, and are better prepared to cope with the onslaught of climate change.
Women Smallholders
In many parts of the world, women have less rights and resources to work the land than men who do the same, despite being equally capable. If they had equal access to such resources, their farm yields could rise by 20-30%, reducing the need for deforestation for additional farm land.
This category contains everything that doesn't fit in elsewhere. These solutions might not contribute directly, but offer interesting alternatives, or tackle non-emissions related aspects of climate change.