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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

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.