More than 100 environmental organizations are opposing a new US legislative proposal aimed at boosting the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture and utilization (CCU), claiming it would further incentivize greenwashing practices in the oil and gas industry, independent news outlet Common Dreams reported.
The bill, which was introduced last week, seeks “to match the incentives for carbon capture and storage (CCS) for both direct air capture (DAC) and the power and industrial sectors.”
In a joint letter the environmental organizations urged the four congressional sponsors of the Captured Carbon Utilization Parity Act (S. 542/H.R. 1262) — Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Representatives David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) — to rather focus on advancing other climate actions that are more cost-efficient and less harmful.
Relevant: Bipartisan Carbon Capture Parity Act Proposes Tax Credit Increase
Carbon capture, unlike other solutions such as solar power and batteries, does not get significantly cheaper over time which makes it easier to become dependent on increasing public subsidies, the groups explained, citing a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“Promoting the utilization of captured CO2 in petrochemicals, plastics, and fuels, as your legislation would encourage, will perpetuate environmental justice harms and subsidize the oil and gas industry to do it,” the letter said. Furthermore, investigations by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have revealed widespread cases of improperly claimed credits under the 45Q tax credit scheme.
Relevant: Exxon CEO Calls For Higher CO2 Tax Credit And Predicts End To Gas Cars
“The entire 45Q tax credit program turns sound environmental policy on its head: Instead of requiring the polluter to pay for its damage, 45Q tax credits pay the polluter to pollute,” Common Dreams quoted Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director at Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), as saying in a comment to the initiative.
The opponents of the bill, which in addition to SEHN also include 350.org, Beyond Plastics, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Indigenous Environmental Network, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC) Action!, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Waterspirit, are suggesting that focus be shifted towards alternative solutions like renewable energy and storage, electrification, energy efficiency, real zero-waste materials systems, agroecology, among others.
Read more: Canadian Scientists Plead Rejection Of The Carbon Capture Tax Credit