Sustainable Solutions for Global Warming

Ever wonder where you might find a collection of the evidence-based solutions to address global warming, which are also feasible in the policy world? Paul Hawken's edited volume "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming" (2017) is just that. The book presents 100 of the most sustainable solutions, and in case you want to save the cost and paper (although it is a well-designed book), the solutions are also categorized by theme on its companion website.

The book is a highly resource for specialists and generalists, students and professors, as well as readers with a general interest. The book is divided by thematic area (energy, food, women and girls, buildings and cities, land use, transport, materials, and coming attractions). Each "solution" is presented in a few pages, each with rankings, costs, savings and impacts.

It is worth noting that these are not all big technical solutions – these include micro-grids, management and efficiency advances, reducing food waste, family planning, insulation, to name a few. The 100 solutions are nicely ranked in this table

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New publication: Designing Knowledge Co-production for Climate and Development

Harvey, B., Cochrane, L., Van Epp, M., Cranston, P., and Pirani, P.A. (2017) Designing Knowledge Co-production for Climate and Development. CARIAA Working Paper #21. International Development Research Centre: Ottawa.

  • AbstractClimate change poses significant global challenges. Solutions require new ways of working, thinking and acting. Knowledge co-production is often cited as one of the innovations needed for navigating the complexity of climate change challenges, yet how to best approach co-production processes remains unclear. In this working paper we explore the ways in which climate and development researchers are approaching the co-production of knowledge and grapple with the extent to which the modalities used are reaching their stated potential. Using a diverse array of case studies, we outline a range of approaches to co-production, from technical to transformative. Drawing on literature on co-production, we propose a heuristic that maps out a spectrum of approaches to co-production and offers an assessment of the relationship between processes and outcomes of co-production in order to enable more informed planning and decision-making. In so doing this paper provides lessons and insights that CARIAA and similar adaptation research initiatives can apply in determining the potential of knowledge co-production as a means to influence policy, practice and behaviour.

Available here.

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New Publication: Collaborative Adaptation Research in Africa and Asia

​Cochrane, L., Cundill, G., Ludi, E., New, M., Nicholls, R. J., Wester, P., Cantin, B., Murali, K. S., Leone, M., Kituyi, E. and Landry, M.-E. (2017) A Reflection on Collaborative Adaptation Research in Africa and Asia. Regional Environmental Change 17(5): 1553-1561.


AbstractThe reality of global climate change demands novel approaches to science that are reflective of the scales at which changes are likely to occur, and of the new forms of knowledge required to positively influence policy to support vulnerable populations. We examine some of the opportunities and challenges presented by a collaborative, transdisciplinary research project on climate change adaptation in Africa and Asia that utilized a hotspot approach. A large-scale effort to develop appropriate baselines was a key challenge at the outset of the program, as was the need to develop innovative methodologies to enable researchers to work at appropriate spatial scales. Efforts to match research to the biophysical scales at which change occurs need to be aware of the mismatch that can develop between these regional scales and the governance scales at which decisions are made.


Full paper available from journal as an Open Access article.

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How Change Happens: Climate Change

​Naomi Klien believes in the power of the people, and of collective action, to change the world. As outlined in "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate" (2014), she writes: "Slavery wasn't a crisis for British and American elites until abolitionism turned it into one. Racial discrimination want a crisis until the civil rights movement turned it into one. Sex discrimination wasn't a crisis until feminism turned it into one. Apartheid wasn't a crisis until the anti-apartheid movement turned it into one. In the very same way, if enough of us stop looking away and decide that climate change is a crisis worthy of Marshall Plan levels of response, then it will become one, and the political class will have to respond, both by making resources available and by bending the free market rules that have proven so pliable when elite interests are in peril" (p. 6). A previous post covered the main arguments of the book, while this one focuses upon the author's vision for how change happens.

The author writes that "building a mass movement that has a chance of taking on the corporate forces arrayed against science-based emission reduction will require the broadest possible spectrum of allies" (p. 157). But, how to get there? Klien looks back to the history of the environmental movement, to understand how activism of past decades were more effective wherein struggles were not to narrow nor negative, they were "for greater community control, democracy, and sovereignty" (p. 309). Building  alliances requires looking for commonalities, often extending beyond one's own specific interests.

Klien thus argues that, not only is climate change action going to require political change, it is advocacy for greater democracy that will build the alliances and allies for those changes to take place: "In the past, people committed to social change often believed they had to choose between fighting the system and building alternatives to it. So, in the 1960s, the counterculture splintered between those who stayed in cities to try and stop wars and bash away at inequalities and those who chose to drop out and live their ecological values among like-minded people on organic farms… Today's activists do not have the luxury of these choices even if they wanted them" (p. 403).

Naomi Klien argues that "only mass social movements can save us now. Because we know where the current system, left unchecked, is headed. We also know, I would add, how that system will deal with the reality of serial climate-related disasters: with profiteering, and escalating barbarism to segregate the losers from the winners. To arrive at that dystopia, all we need to do is keep barreling down the road we are on. The only remaining variable is whether some countervailing power will emerge to block the road, and simultaneously clear some alternative pathways to destinations that are safer. If that happens, well, it changes everything." (p. 450).

That movement, however, is not "some shiny new movement that will magically succeed where others failed. Rather, as the furthest-reaching crisis created by the extractivist worldview, and one that puts humanity on a firm and unyielding deadline, climate change can be the force – the grand push – that will bring together all of these still living movements. A rushing river fed by countless streams, gathering collective force to finally reach the sea" (p. 459). Furthermore, it is not a movement that can fully create its own destiny, it is a movement that needs to take advantage of the critical junctures, where opportunities for change are greater. "The real question is what progressive forces will make of that moment, the power and confidence with which it will be seized… The next time one arises, it must be harnessed not only to denounce the world as it is, but build fleeting pockets of liberated space. It must be the catalyst…" (p. 466).


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Logan Cochrane

logan.cochrane@gmail.com

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