In the fight against climate change, many are working to achieve net zero by 2050. And achieving net zero means leveraging quite a lot of emissions reduction, management, and carbon removal.
But Dr. Holly Jean Buck contends that we should focus less on managing the byproduct and more on phasing out fossil fuels entirely by the end of the century.
Dr. Buck is Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Buffalo and author of the new book, Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero Is Not Enough. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, she joins Ross to differentiate net zero from full zero and share her vision of a fully decarbonized, post-extractivist society.
Dr. Buck discusses what we can do to overcome the political resistance to renewables and describes how critical theory concepts like ‘petromelancholia’ can help us understand the challenges associated with the energy transition. Listen in for insight around the government’s role in phasing out fossil fuels and learn how we can use net zero as a starting point to facilitate the fair transition to a bioeconomy.
[1:49] What inspired Dr. Buck to write Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero Is Not Enough
[3:17] Why we need to focus less on managing emissions and more on phasing out fossil fuels altogether
[4:06] What differentiates full zero from net zero and Dr. Buck’s argument for working toward full zero
[8:41] What we can do to overcome the political resistance to renewables
[10:12] Why nuclear energy might have fewer political repercussions than large-scale renewables
[12:31] How Dr. Buck thinks about achieving net zero through degrowth
[14:26] Dr. Buck’s take on immersive reality replacement
[17:43] Why Dr. Buck shifted away from using the term ‘managed decline’ to describe the energy transition
[20:55] The concepts of petromelancholia and petro-masculinity
[22:21] Dr. Buck’s insight on how fossil fuel jobs and benefits are gendered
[23:33] How social analysis and critical theory help us understand the challenges associated with the energy transition
[25:30] How a nation’s government impacts its policy around phasing out fossil fuels
[29:05] Why Dr. Buck advocates for big emitters like the US to be more ambitious so that less-developed nations can emit longer
[31:59] What full decarbonization to true zero by 2100 might look like
[33:12] Dr. Buck’s vision of a post-extractivist society
[34:58] Why the petrochemical industry was not inevitable and how we can make the shift to a bioeconomy
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