Carbon 101 – part 3


“Drawdown is the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. This is the point when we begin the process of stopping further climate change and averting potentially catastrophic warming. It is a critical turning point for life on Earth.” – Project Drawdown

The challenge
“350 ppm” is were gets its name

Every day we read stories of heat waves, drought, torrential rains, and resulting crop failures, floods, wildfires…  We hear of tipping points, feed back loops, cascading events…  All a result of the average temperature of the earth rising 1°C. We are now on track for a rise of 3-5°C, by 2100.

The good news is we can fix this. The first thing we must do is stop adding CO2 and other GHGs to the atmosphere.

We must phase out the burning of fossils fuels, deforestation, and other human activities that have led to an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere. At the same time, we need to start drawing down CO2. Remember 350 ppm.

The Solutions

Here are just a few of the ideas we need to scale up.  

Solar arrays can create a cooling microclimate that enhances the environment for various crops. The same cooling effect improves the efficiency of the solar panels.

We need to ensure that our electricity grid is powered using renewable energy. This is entirely possible using existing technology, primarily wind and solar. There are others, including hydro, tidal and geothermal.

“But the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine!” We can store excess production to maintain a steady energy supply, with smart grids, battery storage, pumped hydropower, mechanical storage technologies to harness kinetic or gravitational energy, green hydrogen production…

Land Use

Many natural processes—especially photosynthesis—draw down CO2 to store it in plants, soil, and the sea. Peatlands are second only to oceans in the amount of carbon they store.

Preservation of old growth forests, peatlands, wetlands and coastal vegetation will conserve habitat, sequester carbon (i.e. store carbon), filter run off, and mitigate the effects of storms and flooding. That’s a win, win, win, win.  


Soil carbon sequestration, also known as “regenerative agriculture,” includes various ways of managing farmland, so that soils absorb and hold more carbon. Cultivated soils have lost 50–70% of their original organic carbon. 

Education of women and girls.

Better educated women tend to be more informed about nutrition and healthcare, and actively manage their reproductive health.

Women increasingly play roles as the stewards and managers of food, soil, trees and water. They combine traditional knowledge and experience with new information.

The Climate Footprint of Construction” report from           Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN)

Most of a building’s carbon emissions happen before you move in. These emissions are called embodied carbon. This graphic says it all.

Recent studies have shown that we can reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings to zero – and even less than zero – by choosing building materials that sequester carbon.

Learn more:

The book “Drawdown” lists the 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming and is available at local libraries. Visit the Project Drawdown website to learn about ongoing research, upcoming on-line events and more.

Find more resources on our website.  Visit some of the web sites below. Do your own online research.

Take the “Community Carbon Challenge”here

Return to carbon 101 – here


Project Drawdown

The origins of 350

What Is Climate Change? (

Graphic: The relentless rise of carbon dioxide – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet (

greenhouse gas | Definition, Emissions, & Greenhouse Effect | Britannica

Regulate Embodied Carbon! (

Fact Sheet: Soil Carbon Sequestration | American University, Washington, DC