Path to Zero
Path to Zero
2.03 - Do fossil fuel interests deserve a seat at the table? GreenBiz's Sarah Golden's Gloves Off

In this special episode of Path to Zero, host Tucker Perkins has a no-holds-barred conversation with Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst with GreenBiz Group.

When Path to Zero invited Sarah to be our guest, she proposed doing something different and Tucker enthusiastically agreed. Instead of Tucker asking all of the questions, Sarah suggested more of a back-and-forth. That means you’ll hear a debate between the two centered on the question “Do fossil fuel interests deserve a seat at the table to tackle the climate crisis?”

show notes

In climate change conversations, it’s no secret there are differing points of view on how we best achieve net zero.

Tucker is in the camp that thinks we can get to carbon neutrality faster by utilizing low carbon fuels. While Sarah Golden is more with the people who believe we should work to phase out all fossil fuels as fast as possible.

About Sarah Golden

In addition to being an energy analyst at GreenBiz, a media and events company, Sarah is also the conference chair of VERGE Energy, which is one of the events produced by GreenBiz. The company focuses on the private sector as a catalyst to spur forward the clean economy. She spends a great deal of time following the trends in clean energy, talking to researchers and corporate leaders, as well as tracking how corporations are leading the way in decarbonization and also where they might be dragging.

In her role at GreenBiz, Sarah says she wants to help forge solutions and celebrate innovations in the private and public sector to move more quickly on climate change solutions.

Bridging the clean energy partisan divide

Tucker and Sarah discussed her recent essay about the deepening rift within the clean energy sectors: those who advocate for steady, incremental change; and those who demand urgent transformational change. Sarah refers to these two sides as “pragmatists” and “environmentalists,” or “enviros.”

Sarah says Enviros have long been marginalized by the powers- that-be and labeled as elitist, unreasonable and not understanding how the system works. She also notes that environmental organizations categorically demonize pragmatists, despite both sides ultimately wanting a safe climate future.

Instead of being at odds, Golden is calling for both sides to use the fresh start of the Biden administration’s climate plan to push and pull each other towards rapid decarbonization.

Do fossil fuel interests deserve a seat at the table to tackle the climate crisis?

Throughout the conversation, Sarah challenges Tucker on his role as President and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council. For example, she asks Tucker how the propane industry can expand in places where clean energy could be deployed when the science says fossil fuels need to be reduced.

Tucker says the focus should be on reducing carbon in the environment and the propane industry supports that. He also says the fastest way to reduce carbon is to use some of the solutions that are in place for low carbon fuels like propane and natural gas.

There are also some areas of agreement. Sarah acknowledges propane’s role in the transportation sector. She says we should be using low carbon fuels in places where we don’t have electrification alternatives.

It’s only the beginning of Tucker and Sarah’s lively conversation on how we can best achieve net zero.