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A direct air capture project site outside Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

As the risks of climate change mount, the U.S. continues to lag behind other parts of the world, especially Europe, in funding R&D for carbon management and other innovative technologies.

The big picture: Government leadership could help fund early-stage research and spur private sector investment in a potentially $1 trillion market. Congress is aiming to advance this goal through several new bills — including the Senate's EFFECT Act, which would establish a Department of Energy program to use carbon dioxide as a resource for profitable products.

Background: Diverse solutions to reduce, reverse and remove carbon dioxide emissions will be critical to avert the most catastrophic effects of atmospheric warming.

Details: The EFFECT Act could provide over $100 million in funding and support for CCUS technologies in 2020 alone.

  • It would also allocate multi-year funding for direct air capture R&D, including a $15 million prize competition, and support implementation of carbon storage validation and testing at emissions-heavy natural gas and industrial plants.
  • Under the bill, DOE would work with the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine on a study of barriers to and opportunities around commercializing carbon dioxide.
  • Further support for carbon removal technologies could come from the USE IT Act and the 45Q tax incentive, a Trump administration policy that provides tax credits of up to $50 for each ton of CO2 captured via CCUS.

Yes, but: The funding outlined in the EFFECT Act falls substantially short of levels called for in a recent National Academies report.

  • This support sends an important signal to industry and investors, but more incentives are needed to develop markets for CO2 –based products through public procurement mandates.

What to watch: The EFFECT Act has passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and earned bipartisan and bicameral support (the House has a similar version). It could move forward alongside or as part of other energy legislation in the fall.

  • Even still, carbon management is just one part of the portfolio of climate solutions, which encompasses energy efficiency, renewable development and other technologies.

Volker Sick is director of the Global CO2 Initiative at the University of Michigan.

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.