There is a distinction to be drawn between reducing carbon emissions and avoiding all use of hydrocarbons. I'm all for being efficient and judicious in our use of hydrocarbons and in particular of capturing and recycling them. But hydrocarbons remain the backbone of industrial civilization. The raw material by which we manufacture chemicals, plastics, steel, concrete, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, etc, etc, they are not simply fuels, we can't physically manufacture solar panels, wind turbines or nuclear power plants without hydrocarbons. This is what I mean when I say that we will never stop using them. We have an issue that is serious regarding carbon loading in the atmosphere, I do not dispute this, but I do dispute the oft-repeated argument that the answer to this problem lies in leaving all the hydrocarbons in the ground and opposing every instance of hydrocarbon development. I believe we need to move beyond the technology status quo and that the unfettered pollution of our atmosphere is unacceptable, but the solutions lie in advanced technology development.
When I was a kid growing up in Washington DC, the Potomac River, flowing through our nation's capitol was so polluted you could see feces in the water. We fixed that problem and it did not require that people stop defecating, it required advanced water treatment plants. We used to have a problem with acid rain caused by the sulfur from coal power plants. It was destroying the Adirondacks where I also spent a lot of time. We solved that problem too, and it did not requiring abandoning coal, in fact coal usage has gone up while pollution has gone down. Again, we did it with advanced technology, putting scrubbers on smoke stacks and as an added bonus the captured sulfur became a useful commodity product.
CO2 is a bigger and more difficult problem and requires holistic, systemic solutions, but it is solvable. We have countless sources of carbon emissions, some big, many small. Most of the small ones, autos for instance but also home furnaces, can be replaced by electric devices. For large sources of carbon emissions, some can be replaced by nukes and renewables, and for others we need an elaborate system of carbon capture. It is within our technical capacity to both build a continental scale CO2 pipeline infrastructure to move liquid CO2 around and also to reengineer our carbon combustion devices to make them more efficient and capture more effective. Beyond that we need effective land management practices that sequester carbon in the soil, there is great capacity there and it has the added bonus of improving agriculture, wildlands and habitat. At the end of the day we don't need to eliminate every last molecule of CO2 emissions, the earth has a robust carbon cycle, we need to bring our industrial systems into harmony with the Earth's natural systems and cycles.