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White House report reaffirms commitment to advancing critical carbon capture technologies 

June 30, 2021 Work Area: Carbon Capture

WASHINGTON — Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality presented “a landmark report reaffirming the Administration’s commitment to advancing carbon capture, removal, and storage technologies, which are critical to tackling climate change,” said Lee Beck, International Director, Carbon Capture, at Clean Air Task Force.

The Council on Environmental Quality Report to Congress, mandated by the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act passed in December 2020, outlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to “accelerating the responsible development and deployment of CCUS to make it a widely available, increasingly cost-effective, and rapidly scalable climate solution,” according to the report.   

Importantly, the CEQ report: 

  1. Highlights the provisions for carbon capture and storage in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) which“reforms and expands the Section 45Q tax credit, making it direct pay and easier to use for hard-to-decarbonize industrial applications, direct air capture, and power plant retrofits…also includes a technology-inclusive Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard, which could benefit CCUS projects, as well as support ten CCUS demonstration projects”. The AJP also “in line with the SCALE Act . . . supports large-scale sequestration efforts that leverage the best science and prioritize community engagement.” 
  2. Builds on U.S. leadership to commercialize carbon capture, removal, and storage technologies, emphasizing the importance of expanding its efforts and embracing a community-oriented and -led scale-up process to create an important blueprint for other countries seeking to scale the critical technologies. “For CCUS to scale more widely,” the report states, “CCUS technology deployment must advance in the context of a strong regulatory regime informed by science and experience. Responsible CCUS projects should include meaningful public engagement and help address cumulative pollution for overburdened communities.” 
  3. States that “carbon capture technology can reduce emissions of other kinds of pollution (such as sulfur oxides) in addition to carbon pollution” and highlights important research gaps “critical to address potential cumulative effects and other environmental justice concerns”. For example, it recommends that “further research should be done, including air pollution data collection associated with Federally funded demonstration projects, to enable more robust environmental impact analyses and decision-making regarding future projects.
  4. Highlights the business case for carbon capture, calling it an “economic imperative” and stating that “CCUS can reduce the costs of meeting climate goals, and maintain and create well-paying union jobs nationwide and globally.” 
  5. Calls out the critical nature of CO2 pipelines for the “future nationwide deployment of CCUS”, and points out that “there is currently no network of CO2 pipelines at a scale large enough for the specific purpose of permanent carbon sequestration in the United States across all industrial sectors”. 

Lee Beck continued:

“This report makes clear that both point-source carbon capture and carbon removal technologies are essential to achieving U.S. and global climate goals, particularly for their ability to decarbonize the power sector and industrial sector. The clock is ticking to address emission, as the sooner we deliver steep emissions reductions, the better our chance at fending off the worst effects of climate change. The report points out the crucial task of building public and community trust in the technology, in a way that benefits the appropriate parties, and leading the way to enable an expedient global scale-up.”  

The report comes at a critical time, as lawmakers are currently translating the President’s American Jobs Plan’s key carbon capture provisions into legislation in Congress. As outlined in a new CATF Factsheet, this suite of bills include Direct Pay of decarbonization incentives such as 45Q, the CATCH Act to increase 45Q values, and the SCALE Act to commercialize CO2 transport and storage.  This carbon capture legislative package enjoys broad and bipartisan support, as well as support from environmental and labor organizations alike.   

“As the new CEQ report confirms, we must develop and commercialize carbon capture to reach out climate goals and fend off the worst impacts of climate change,” said Lee Beck. “Together, this policy package proposed in the AJP and now pending in Congress not only forms the biggest proposed investment into the commercialization of carbon capture, removal, and storage technologies ever proposed, but also forms a vital piece of any infrastructure and climate legislation moving in Congress. In fact, according to our own analysis,  if these policies were to pass in the near-term, they could deliver a 13-fold scale-up of US Carbon Management capacity.” 

Press Contact

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, U.S., [email protected], +1 845-750-1189

About Clean Air Task Force

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. We work towards these objectives through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector. With nearly 25 years of nationally and internationally recognized expertise on clean air policy and regulations and a fierce commitment to fully exploring all potential solutions. CATF is headquartered in Boston, with staff working virtually around the U.S. and abroad.

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