Sep 24, 2019 - Energy & Environment

A $10.7 billion carbon removal jump start

Reproduced from Energy Futures Initiative; Chart: Axios Visuals

The nonprofit Energy Futures Initiative — led by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz — released a proposed 10-year, $10.7 billion plan for how federal agencies can spur large-scale use of tech that pulls CO2 from the atmosphere.

Why it matters: Carbon removal, or negative emissions, is getting more attention as the window is quickly closing for CO2 cuts steep enough to avoid high warming levels.

  • "[A]chieving global net-zero emissions is simply not credible without major carbon-negative contributions at considerable scale," the report notes.
  • It floats a multi-agency research, development and demonstration pathway aimed at bringing the technologies to "commercial readiness."

Quick take: This kind of proposal could inform a future White House and Congress, especially because there will be intense pressure for new climate steps if a Democrat wins the presidency next year.

The big picture: The 10-agency plan would explore a suite of methods, including direct air capture, soil and forestry techniques, and ocean absorption methods. It states...

"[Carbon dioxide removal] provides optionality and flexibility to compensate for difficult-to-decarbonize sectors and can reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations from past emissions."

Go deeper: Carbon removal tech is having a moment

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