‘Net zero is just the start. Carbon removal comes next’
PODCAST: With special guest Wake Smith, author and lecturer at Yale University
“If you’re standing there in the net zero year celebrating the fact that we finally stopped emitting greenhouse gases, you’re still looking at an entire lifetime of enhanced climate damages. Then comes the extraordinarily expensive endeavour of taking carbon out of the atmosphere and oceans and putting it back into the earth’s crust.”
It’s easy to lose sight of the big climate picture when markets are melting amid heightened wartime anxiety and the gas taps to Europe could be shut off at any moment. But today I took an hour to do just that with a last-minute guest on the podcast: Wake Smith, author and lecturer at Yale University, who teaches an undergrad course on climate intervention (check out his full bio here).
Wake talked through the many unfathomable challenges of finance, equity and governance facing future generations from our collective failure to rein in climate emissions today. His description of carbon removal and solar geoengineering is enlightening but raises more questions it answers. It was a fascinating and quite mind-bending 48-minute conversation. Check it out:
Here are a few hand-picked highlights:
Russia’s invasion is a big setback to global climate cooperation — 1 min
The 1.5c Paris goal is frankly unachievable — 30 sec
A population boom in the Global South means huge energy demand growth — 1 min
Getting to net zero will be no cause for celebration — 2 min
CO2 removal raises unimaginable cost & governance challenges — 1 min 30 sec
Solar-reflective aerosols could be a very cheap fix to global heating… — 1 min 30 sec
…but the cure could be worse than the disease — 1 min 20 sec
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Thanks for reading and listening, have a great week.