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The
Deep End

 

from Carbon180

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE  |  December 2021

 

• Highlights of 2021
• The BBB and the BID
• CDR funding snapshot

CDR WRAPPED

 

365 days of carbon removal

 

By Team C180

Carbon removal was buoyed by federal attention, Congressional support, and field-wide investments in 2021, more than any year prior. It certainly kept our team busy, and we know many of you have been hard at work across the field, too. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (BID) puts an exclamation mark on the end of the year; between that and the Build Back Better Act (BBB), which potentially passes soon, we could have two first-of-their-kind investments critical to drawing down historical emissions. Let’s celebrate a year’s worth of progress for carbon removal, no longer on the sidelines but a core piece of climate action.

Throughout 2021, we’ve seen broad support for research and development, deployment incentives, new infrastructure, and regulations in everything from dedicated geologic storage to direct air capture (DAC) to soil health. By our measure, billions of dollars have been set aside for carbon removal this year alone (more on that in the Big Short below).  

Here are the highlights from the biggest year yet for carbon removal:

  • ✍️ ALL ON THE LINE: Carbon removal gets its first dedicated line in the President’s Budget
  • 🚀 DOE EARTHSHOT: DOE unveils its initiative to remove and store CO₂ at scale for less than $100 per metric ton over a decade with robust community engagement
  • 📀 CO₂ STORAGE: EPA’s Class VI Wells program is reinvigorated by the BID with much-needed funding to regulate dedicated geologic storage of CO₂
  • 🌎 EQUITY: The White House centers environmental justice (EJ), launching the Justice40 initiative and directing agencies to consider EJ across programs
  • 🕶 A MOMENT IN THE SUN: Carbon removal is a New York Magazine cover story, a Good Morning America segment, and a New York Times feature 
  • 🤑 MAJOR CAPITAL: Solugen, a decarbonizing chemicals company, raises $357M, and Elon Musk announces a $100M carbon removal XPrize, setting a new record for private investment in carbon removal 
  • 🧙‍♂️ INNOVATION: Science innovation accelerator Activate launches a fellowship for carbon removal upstarts, with early support from payments giant Stripe
  • 🇮🇸 DEPLOYMENT: Climework’s DAC project opens in Iceland, drawing down 4,000 tons of CO₂ a year
  • 🕹 BILLIONS FOR DAC: DOE plans to oversee the build and implementation of four regional DAC hubs across the country, with $3.5B promised in the BID
  • 🌳 FORESTRY: An array of forestry programs receives $8B from the BID, the REPLANT Act passes, and the US launches a national seedling strategy 
  • 🧑🏽‍🌾 SOIL CARBON: USDA unveils the Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Program to launch soil carbon pilot projects and invests $10M in soil carbon monitoring within the Conservation Reserve Program
  • 🤩 NEW FACES: From soil scientists to negative emissions experts, the White House, DOE, and USDA staffs up with carbon removal champions
Curious for more? Try Carbon180’s blog, or reach out directly at policy@carbon180.org.


COFFEE BREAK

 

Per AgriPulse, the latest BBB text includes an infusion of $2 billion for conservation technical assistance and an additional $150 million for agriculture research. If included in the final package, it's a big win for farmers looking to implement climate-smart practices.

 

READ

 

CLIMATE LEGISLATION

 

Congressional support of carbon removal is here — now, it’s all about implementation

   

By Giana Amador
Policy Director
and Co-founder

It’s looking like we may cap off the year with two huge federal packages that turn the tide of carbon removal policy from R&D to demonstration, deployment, and implementation — and set the tone for what’s possible in 2022. While we’re still waiting for the outcome of the BBB, the BID included an impressive set of provisions for carbon removal. 

For one, it levels up funding for tech-based carbon removal solutions from millions to billions of dollars, allotting $3.5 billion to four regional DAC hubs. Each hub will have the capacity to capture at least 1 million metric tons of CO₂ per year — two orders of magnitude higher than the 10,000 tons currently being removed and stored around the world. It also fully funds the DAC Prize program, authorized in the Energy Act of 2020, providing $100 million for commercial-scale projects and $15 million for pre-commercial projects.
On the land sector side, the BID provides $8 billion for comprehensive forestry provisions that fill critical gaps around wildfire resilience, ecosystem restoration, and forest carbon management on public lands. As part of the total investment, the bill appropriates $200 million to reforest abandoned mine land, $200 million for tribal reforestation, and $123 million yearly to plant 1.2 billion trees over the next 10 years. The bill also creates a national strategy to improve tree nursery capacity and meet accelerated planting demand.

Over the next year, the administration will focus on implementing this legislation. This is no easy task — federal agencies will need to demonstrate carbon removal at scale and do so in a way that drives real, equitable community benefits. 

There’s no time to spare for some of these provisions: DOE, for example, is charged with soliciting applications for DAC hubs within 180 days. They’ll also consider how these hubs interact with other DOE work like the CarbonSAFE program, the Carbon Negative Earthshot, the recent stream of FOAs for DAC, and EPA’s Class VI permitting program for dedicated geologic storage. Over the coming years, these hubs will share transportation and storage infrastructure and employ various DAC technologies — which together will increase global DAC capacity more than 400 times over. These demonstrations can launch new local industries, giving us a chance to better understand how DAC can bring about economic benefits, support strong labor practices, and advance climate mitigation. 

As the administration turns to implementation of the BID, Congress has an opportunity to continue to lead on carbon removal globally. The BBB can pick up where infrastructure left off: investing in much-needed agriculture and forestry science, tackling reforestation on private lands, reinvesting in our conservation programs, and enhancing the 45Q tax credit to encourage private sector action on DAC. Together these packages spell out the largest-ever commitment to explore and scale carbon removal. As scientists, policymakers, innovators, and advocates recognize the need to draw down historical emissions for current and future generations, 2022 will be a key year for the field and our climate.

For more information on all of the carbon removal provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, see our rundown.

THE BIG SHORT

 

On the up and up: Carbon removal has become a major priority for federal R&D

A Research Strategy for Ocean Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration

 

Just released: a comprehensive exploration of ocean-based carbon removal approaches. (National Academies of Sciences)


READ MORE

The Guilty and the Damned: On Climate Reparations

 

This cover story asks what we should do about the trillions of tons of carbon that hangs in the air, who feels the burden, and who should remove it. (New York Magazine)


READ MORE

Removing Forward: Centering Equity and Justice in a Carbon-Removing Future

 

As the carbon removal field navigates development and deployment, justice-oriented policy can ensure each approach and solution is implemented widely, safely, and fairly. Here’s how we get started. (Carbon180)


READ MORE

The Carbon Removal Policy Tracker 
The newly launched carbon removal policy tracker aggregates and distills legislation related to carbon removal and environmental justice. (Carbon180)


LEARN MORE

Geologic Carbon Storage Fact Sheet

 

Stowing CO₂ deep underground is surprisingly common, both in nature and industry. Learn key definitions and considerations for its use with carbon capture and carbon removal. (Carbon180)


LEARN MORE

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