President Biden’s first budget proposal to Congress, released on the 28th of May, increases investment in carbon dioxide removal and addresses critical issues of broad-ranging environmental character. Some of those issues are plugging abandoned oil wells, cleaning up old mines, and investing in advanced energy technologies like carbon capture.
His climate change budget proposes $580 million dedicated to the Jobs Plan’s program for taking care of disused oil wells and coal mines. The Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Research and Development have been proposed increased funding of $890 million from $750 million.
The goal is to focus on “climate-centric activities” and carbon dioxide removal technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). Carbon capture funding is needed to accelerate the transition to net zero America by 2050 – the administrations’ ultimate target.
The new budget also outlines bigger spending on CCUS/ CCS projects to $305 million from the $188 million allocated for fiscal 2021. Spending on transformational coal pilot projects is cut down to zero from $10 million previously.
The budget for the Abandoned Mine Land Program would be $192.8 million. That is almost a $63 million increase from what was enacted last year. The spending for CO2 removal proposed by the Energy Department is for $63 million – higher from $40 million currently.
“The goal is to enable the commercialization of climate change and clean energy innovations that will activate job creation, expand other public impact outcomes, and yield a more geographically diverse and impactful research portfolio,” said the Energy Department.
Carbon Dioxide Removal Priorities
Other priorities include cutting methane emissions and “investing in thoughtful transition strategies, demonstrating, and deploying point source carbon capture and storage, advancing critical minerals, and increasing efficient use of big data and artificial intelligence.”
The increase of the overall funding for environmental initiatives comes as a result of the administration’s goal to create good-paying union jobs across the country. Even though the $6 trillion price tag is criticized as too high by Republicans, environmentalists and some Democrats welcome the ambitious targets on tackling climate change.
A growing problem for the country is the dangers coming from abandoned oil wells and coal mines. As of 2016, there were 3.1 million orphaned wells located across the country. They are known to leak methane and other harmful gases that pollute the environment and can cause health problems to people living nearby or contaminate groundwater.
Abandoned coal mines are also a major hazard. They provide exposure to radioactive gas and toxic chemicals and can lead to accidents from collapsing surface structures and equipment.
The historic spending for climate change coming from Biden’s administration is a call for an ambitious expansion of environmental initiatives. They all will aim to reduce the astounding amount of CO2 already piled up in the atmosphere and prevent future accumulation. Mine and oil wells cleanups along with CO2 removal, carbon capture, hydrogen and renewable energy expansion show true determination towards decarbonizing the country.