This week, the Biden administration announced a $251 million investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in seven US states.
The initiative comes as an effort to radically cut down on harmful CO2 emissions, particularly in the power sectors, as well as other industrial emitters.
It also reflects the government’s trust in the emerging technology, which many believe to be a critical component in the fight against climate change.
However, carbon capture also has its fair share of opponents and skeptics, particularly among environmentalists, who argue that CCS is still a way’s off from reaching the needed scale to have a meaningful impact on rising global temperatures and prolongs the use of fossil fuels, as opposed to focusing on renewables.
To help resolve such doubts, the Biden administration is dialing down the pressure on the carbon capture sector to prove that the nascent technology is indeed capable of delivering meaningful climate results.
Noah Deich, deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Carbon Management said: “We’re trying to get commercial lift off in the carbon management industry as a whole.”
The bulk of the investment, $242 million will be distributed among nine large-scale carbon storage projects with a minimum storage capacity of 50 million metric tons of CO2, which is still only a fraction of what the US currently emits.
According to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the nation’s total emissions in 2021 were more than 100 times that amount – 5.5 billion tons of CO2.
Deich mentioned that the new investment compliments the recent emissions regulations from the EPA for coal and natural gas-fired power plants, which under the new rules will now be looking towards carbon capture to reduce their carbon footprint.