Biden Admin Spending Billions To Cut Emissions For Just A Few Energy Plants

By Eliana Regev | Sunday, 22 May 2022 16:45
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The Department of Energy initiated a $3.5 billion program Thursday to build four large-scale facilities that will draw carbon dioxide from the air, a step toward President Joe Biden’s climate goals of removing legacy carbon pollution.

The Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program is funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill and seeks to utilize new technology to help bring down atmospheric concentrations of CO2 on a major scale.

The Department of Energy said that the hubs would employ a procedure known as direct air capture to separate CO2 from the air. That CO2 will then be held deep underground or transformed for use in long-life products such as concrete or pavement, which can stop its release back into the atmosphere.

Progress on the hubs program in the United States comes amid growing momentum for carbon removal technology programs nationwide. Last month, a new report from the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is “essential” if the world hopes to meet the climate targets established in the Paris Agreement.

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In that report, researchers said it would be “all but impossible” for the world to achieve net-zero carbon emissions without large-scale carbon removal projects.

“The UN’s latest climate report made clear that removing legacy carbon pollution from the air through direct air capture and safely storing it is an essential weapon in our fight against the climate crisis,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement announcing the effort.

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“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is funding new technologies that will not only make our carbon-free future a reality but will help position the U.S. as a net-zero leader while creating good-paying jobs for a transitioning clean energy workforce.”

By midcentury, the department said, carbon removal technology will need to be deployed at the “gigaton scale.” One gigaton of sequestered CO2 is equivalent to the annual emissions of approximately 250 million U.S. vehicles driven in a single year.

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In the development and deployment of the four regional direct air capture hubs, DOE will also highlight environmental justice, community engagement, consent-based siting, equity, and workforce development, and domestic supply chains and manufacturing.

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The Summit will assemble a diverse set of perspectives to discuss the development and deployment of CDR technologies and infrastructure in the United States, as well as explore justice and equity principles and workforce development opportunities.

DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use.

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