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2024 mid-year impact: Keeping climate momentum

June 27, 2024

2024 is a major election year in many parts of the world, with potential for change at nearly every level of government. As political processes unfold, durable climate policy, commercial progress, and pragmatic solutions are more important than ever. That’s why CATF is leveraging the momentum from recent climate legislation and regulations and continuing to push for more – always with an eye toward cutting air pollution and increasing the number of tools in our climate toolbox.  

Read on for updates on our impact at this mid-year point and learn how we’re advocating for resilient solutions that are informed by science and built to last.  

The heat beneath our feet: Leveraging the potential for superhot geothermal energy

  • Why it matters: Superhot rock geothermal energy could unlock terawatts of clean, firm, always-on power worldwide. That’s why CATF is focused on moving this potential groundbreaking energy source from research and development to deployment:
    • Our first-of-its-kind modeling, released this year, explores the case for commercializing superhot rock geothermal energy by estimating the technology’s energy potential around the world. 
    • We commissioned five flagship reports, pulling from independent leading experts around the world, to serve as comprehensive gap analyses across key technologies essential for the success of superhot rock energy projects at a commercial scale. 
  • What’s next? CATF has been deeply engaged in recently introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would provide the support and investment needed to encourage superhot rock energy research, development, and deployment. We look forward to working with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to get this bill across the finish line.

Management matters: CATF’s impact on the EU’s Industrial Carbon Management Strategy

  • Why it matters: The European Commission’s Industrial Carbon Management Strategy, announced in February, will enable the development and scale-up of carbon capture, removal, use, and storage technologies across the EU – a massive step forward in climate action and a crucial strategy in Europe’s efforts to reach climate neutrality.
    • CATF’s campaign for a comprehensive carbon capture and storage strategy in Europe began in 2021, to help shape this landmark strategy that has the potential for massive decarbonization.
    • In 2022, CATF debuted A Policy Framework for Carbon Capture and Storage in Europe, which included key policy recommendations for the commercialization of carbon capture and storage. Our cost tool provided an overview of the cost of carbon capture and storage in Europe, our research on the funding gap for carbon capture and storage underscored the need for further support, and our Europe Carbon Capture Projects and Activity map highlights ongoing projects and the potential of this critical climate technology to grow across the region.  
    • Last year, we released A Vision for Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage in the EU in collaboration with stakeholders across the carbon capture and storage community and formed the basis for the Industrial Carbon Management Strategy.   
  • What’s next? CATF plans to work with the next Commission to keep carbon management high on the industrial decarbonization agenda, focus on developing a regulatory framework for infrastructure, and ensure investments flow into the sector.

Driving down pollution: U.S. EPA finalizes strong carbon pollution standards for existing coal- and new gas-fired power plants, reflecting CATF policy architecture 

  • Why it matters: Power plants are the largest industrial contributor to global warming in the U.S., accounting for 30% of the U.S. carbon pollution driving global climate change. The bulk of those emissions have, so far, gone completely uncontrolled. With these final standards, power plants covered by the rule will have to meet tight limits based on what pollution control technology has made possible. 
  • What’s next? There’s still more to be done to clean up emissions from existing gas-fired sources, which make up a significant – and growing – portion of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. CATF will continue to hold EPA to its commitment to expeditiously and comprehensively address the remainder of the power fleet.

Ramping up renewables: Simplifying clean energy siting in the U.S.

  • Why it matters: While CATF focuses on advanced technologies like nuclear energy, carbon capture, and superhot rock geothermal, we also believe wind and solar have a potentially large role to play in the energy transition.

    But before a large-scale solar or wind project can be built in a particular state or region, its developers face the complicated process of siting and permitting this new infrastructure. In many parts of the U.S., renewable energy siting and permitting takes place at the local level – with a patchwork of ordinances and a constantly shifting regulatory landscape across the state. This dynamic makes building new projects challenging for developers as it introduces risk and uncertainty to the project.
  • What’s next? A research team from CATF and the Regulatory Assistance Project, with support from DOE, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Consensus Building Institute, set out to simplify this complex web of energy laws and regulations for policymakers, developers, and renewable energy stakeholders with a newly published inventory of state renewable energy siting policies, permitting authorities, and an interactive map that profiles all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. 

    This inventory is an essential resource for policymakers, project developers, and community members navigating the complex landscape of renewable energy project permitting and siting across the U.S.  

Charting the course: Poland’s clean energy transition and power system decarbonization

  • Why it matters: As one of the most carbon-intensive economies in Europe, Poland has an opportunity to expedite reforms for a fully decarbonized energy system that enables economic prosperity. Two foundational reports from CATF, released this year, offer a comprehensive roadmap to Poland’s clean energy transition and power system decarbonization, detailing key growth opportunities available to Polish government. 
  • What’s next? CATF is exploring opportunities for the Central and Eastern Europe region to become a leader in Europe’s energy transition, including through a flagship webinar series, CEETalks: Building Resilient Climate Solutions in Central and Eastern Europe.

Nuclear energy momentum: Advancing clean, firm power

  • Why it matters: Nuclear energy is critical for global decarbonization – and can play a key role in supporting energy security and economic development. At the first-ever Nuclear Energy Summit at the head of state level this year, Clean Air Task Force worked with partners EFI Foundation and NTI to launch a global NGO declaration to advance six principles to make efficient and responsible nuclear energy a reality.
  • What’s next? Governments, industrial consumers, and the nuclear industry must collaborate to develop detailed implementation strategies to ensure the timely and efficient execution of nuclear energy projects – and CATF is hard at work to ensure they do just that.

The UK’s methane moment: How the region can cut methane pollution 

  • Why it matters: The UK has a huge opportunity to ramp up its climate leadership by cutting methane emissions from its oil and gas sector.
    • In the UK, direct measurements of methane emissions from offshore oil and gas sites have been shown to be overall five times higher than official reporting. 
    • Almost 70% of methane emissions can be abated with existing technologies, mostly at no net cost. 
    • By developing legislation that mandates quarterly Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR), the UK could reduce up to 80% of fugitive methane emissions. 
  • Last month, CATF’s Director of UK Government Affairs, Rebecca Tremain, gave evidence at the UK House of Lords methane inquiry, exploring straightforward and cost-effective measures to tackle oil and gas methane emissions. 
  • What’s next? CATF will continue to advocate for strong methane regulations from the UK government, including an import standard and a ban on routine venting and flaring – improving the climate and public health. 

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