Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Bills aimed at trapping industrial carbon emissions or pulling CO2 directly from the atmosphere are piling up in Congress — and instead of the usual gridlock, some of them may actually gain momentum.

Why it matters: Scientists say that these emerging technologies, neither of which is economically available at scale, are going to be needed in potentially large amounts in order for the U.S. to go from the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to a nation that absorbs more carbon than it releases.

Driving the news: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced on Wednesday morning the Carbon Capture Improvement Act to help power plants and industrial facilities to finance carbon capture and storage equipment as well as more unproven direct air capture projects.

How it works: The bill would permit businesses to use private activity bonds, which local and state governments currently have access to, in order to finance a carbon capture project.

  • These bonds have tax advantages over other financing mechanisms, and have previously been used for installing pollution control systems at power plants, according to a summary from the lawmakers.
  • The bill would also allow facilities to use an existing tax credit, known as 45Q, for capturing industrial emissions.
  • “Carbon capture and direct air capture are common-sense technologies that will allow states like Ohio to continue to utilize our natural resources while protecting our environment at the same time," Portman said in a statement.

State of play: In addition to these new technologies, climate resilience measures are also gaining bipartisan support. On Tuesday, Bennet introduced a bill called the "Shelter Act," along with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), that would create a disaster mitigation tax credit for Americans to help make their home or business more resilient to extreme weather events.

  • Due to human-caused climate change, certain types of extreme events, such as heavy precipitation events, heat waves, wildfires and hurricanes are becoming more intense and destructive.
  • In an interview with Axios Tuesday, Bennet said both bills are about "common sense."
  • "I'm glad that it's bipartisan," he said of the Shelter Act. "But what's also interesting to me about it is how we how different the regions are here. Bill is doing it because he's freaked out about floods. And I'm doing it because I'm freaked out about fires."

The big picture: Bennet says new technologies like direct air capture, which may include everything from synthetic trees to enhancing the ability of natural systems to soak up carbon, are drawing bipartisan interest because they address both climate change and jobs.

  • "If you believe that climate change is real, that's a reason you want to address it," Bennet said.
  • "And if you're worried about the potential dislocation of people" working in fossil fuel sectors, that's another reason you want to address it," he added.

Context: The Bennet-Portman bill joins a list of pending bills to remove impediments standing in the way of developing new technologies to capture and store carbon or encourage new technologies to enable direct air capture to work.

  • Also on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of House members introduced a bill known as the the Catch Act, which would make changes to the 45Q tax credits in order to make them available to new types of projects. The bill would also boost the credit levels available.
  • Another bill with bipartisan backing is the Scale Act, introduced in March by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Cassidy and Reps. Marc Veasy (D-Texas) and David McKinley (R-W. Va.) — which would help support the buildout of more comprehensive carbon capture infrastructure, to include transporting carbon dioxide from where it is captured to where it could be stored or used in manufacturing.

Be smart: Providing incentives for carbon capture has a recent track record, with 45Q in place since 2018. They also don't stir up the same GOP opposition as emissions mandates do.

Yes, but: Betting the under on the passage of any particular bipartisan climate legislation is usually a smart play, despite some recent action on super-greenhouse gases in late 2020 and 45Q.

  • This time around, though, an infrastructure package could become a vehicle for moving some of these bills.

Go deeper

Wildfire CO2 emissions are adding up

Expand chart
Data: CAMS/Mark Parrington; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Wildfires are raging in Canada, the U.S. and Siberia, emitting carbon dioxide, soot, and other planet-warming pollutants, while also destroying homes and fouling air quality. Now new data shows just how large the fires' carbon footprint may be.

Why it matters: The wildfires in these three regions are likely to continue to burn until the onset of winter snows (some could persist through the winter as zombie fires).

Biden's climate communications challenge

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The United Nations IPCC's alarming sixth assessment report, released Monday, was splashed across newspaper front pages, at the top of most mainstream news websites, and received significant TV coverage on cable and network broadcasts.

Yes, but: The report — the panel's most comprehensive look at how humans are altering the planet's climate in sweeping ways — failed to register, let alone resonate, with swing voters, according to an unscientific sampling from two Engagious/Schlesinger focus groups conducted Tuesday evening.

Green hydrogen costs could reach parity in a decade, report finds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Hydrogen is increasingly being viewed as a potential energy storage solution for difficult-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy, including heavy-duty transportation and industrial uses.

Driving the news: A new analysis by the ICF Climate Center, shared exclusively with Axios, shows that the cost of zero-carbon, green hydrogen could reach parity with more greenhouse-gas intensive ways of making the gas in as little as the next decade.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!