Dec 13, 2019

Oil industry to Trump: Carbon capture needs way more subsidies

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Technology that captures carbon dioxide emissions needs way more subsidies — reaching well into the billions of dollars — to thrive, according to a new oil industry report.

Driving the news: The report by the National Petroleum Council, an advisory committee to the Energy Department representing all aspects of the oil and gas sector, recommends putting $15 billion into research and more than doubling an existing subsidy.

The big picture: Carbon capture technology, which can be installed in power plants and other emitting facilities, is considered essential to cutting emissions given the world remains heavily dependent upon oil, natural gas and coal. It’s expensive, but technically feasible.

By the numbers:

  • The report says the Energy Department should put $1.5 billion a year — or $15 billion over a decade — into research and development funding. That represents a threefold increase over current funding, according to the authors of the report.
  • An existing tax credit gives companies between $35 and $50 per ton of carbon dioxide captured; the report recommends increasing incentives to $110. These are effective prices on carbon, just narrowly tailored to a specific technology.

Between the lines: It comes as quite a surprise that essentially the entire oil industry — via this below-the-radar committee — is telling Washington they want a price on carbon of $110.

But, but, but: Much of this would need congressional support, and although funding for energy innovation has increased in recent years, it’s unlikely Congress would approve such a huge increase in spending — especially without a bigger package of other climate-change related policies.

Go deeper: The Houston Chronicle has more on the study.

Go deeper

Despite Trump, Congress boosts clean energy funding

Congress is set to pass a budget doubling down on a years-long trend of increasing clean-energy funding, despite President Trump's repeated attempts to cut spending.

Driving the news: The spending bill the House passed on Tuesday would increase energy research spending nearly 14% compared to this year’s levels and more than 50% compared to 2014.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019

10 energy and climate issues to watch in 2020

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

From presidential politics to China to oil prices, here’s what I’m watching this year.

The big picture: A few key decisive moments this year will help determine whether concerns over climate change — rising since my last two annual outlook columns — will translate into action that would transform our global energy system.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020

Mike Bloomberg releases his first domestic climate plan

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg would aim to cut economy-wide U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and implement policies that would make 80% of power generation zero-carbon by 2028.

Why it matters: Those are two key targets in broadly worded plans unveiled Friday that mark the first detailed domestic climate proposals from the billionaire's campaign, and follow his years of advocacy on the topic.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019