Why the US climate bill ‘might’ struggle to deliver on carbon capture

CO2 is not pollution

In the end nature determines how much of the trace gas carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, via the carbon cycle. Certain human activities may alter the numbers up or down temporarily. There’s vast expense, including lots of pipelines nobody wants, with no known finishing line in so-called ‘carbon capture’.
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Up to a fifth of emissions cuts from the Inflation Reduction Act are expected to come from carbon capture technologies, but there are major technical and political hurdles, says Climate Home News.

US president Joe Biden is expected to sign off a sweeping climate, energy and health care bill on Tuesday (16 August). It contains about $370 billion to foster clean energy development and combat climate change, constituting the largest federal climate investment in history.

Several studies project that its climate and energy provisions could enable the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.

That would be a significant improvement over the current projections of around 27%, and it could put the US within hailing range of its pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions at least 50% by 2030.

Notably, one linchpin of the bill’s climate provisions is a set of incentives to substantially expand technologies that capture carbon dioxide and either store it underground or ship it for reuse.

So far, the uptake of carbon capture technologies has been slow. The costs are high, and these technologies can require miles of pipeline and vast amounts of underground storage, both of which can trigger local backlash.

A recent study projected that the US would have to construct 65,000 miles of carbon dioxide pipelines to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050, a whopping 13 times the current capacity.

I’m the former founding co-director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University. While the bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, has many provisions designed to jump-start the carbon removal sector, it’s far from certain that the industry will be able to move quickly.
. . .
Under the bill, tax credits for capturing carbon dioxide at industrial facilities and power plants would increase from $50 per ton today to up to $85 per ton if the carbon is stored. If the carbon is used instead for oil drilling, the credit would go from $30 today to $60 per ton.

Credits for capturing carbon from air via direct air capture would also dramatically jump, from $50 to $180 per ton if the carbon dioxide is stored, and from $35 currently to $130 per ton if it is used.

Full article here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop


August 17, 2022 at 11:12AM

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