Carbon removal beyond capitalism

Authors: Holly Jean Buck*, UCLA
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: climate change
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Harding, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the wake of the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees, there is scientific consensus that keeping warming to safer levels requires some form of carbon removal, whether it is massively scaled-up afforestation or geological carbon capture and storage. It is imagined to serve as both climate mitigation measure and a means to bring temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations back down after an “overshoot” of targets. Beyond scientific reports, however, there are competing vocabularies, discourses, and policies around the act of removing carbon from the atmosphere and putting it elsewhere. This paper discusses some of these imaginaries (carbontech, negative emissions, regeneration, climate restoration), highlighting the actors putting them forth as well as the work the imaginaries do. It goes on to describe how carbon removal practices, infrastructures, and institutions might work in a post-capitalist society, and what social and political transformations would be needed to get there.

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