A $1 trillion infrastructure bill was approved by the Senate with 19 Republican and all 50 Democrats votes last week. This event was called a remarkable win for President Joe Biden as it got sizable bipartisan support for his top legislative priority. However, the bill still needs to clear the House.
The biggest part of the funding is dedicated to upgrading transportation, water, and power infrastructure, with $110 billion set aside for roads and bridges and $65 billion for expanding broadband internet access. The US infrastructure bill also includes around $21 billion for environmental remediation projects and $15 billion for electric vehicles.
Still, according to climate change supporters, the infrastructure bill does not go far enough in addressing global warming mitigation or boosting households. The bill is still far less than the original $2.6 trillion the White House initially proposed.
It also does not include the $600 billion that Biden originally wanted to spend on R&D and related initiatives, including efforts to combat climate change.
Immediately after the approval of the infrastructure bill, the Senate voted 50 – 49 last week to begin debate on a $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution for the next fiscal year. The $3.5 billion Budget Resolution Agreement Framework is a broader package of investments intended to include far more ambitious spending on healthcare, infrastructure, and climate change.
However, so far it does not have the support of Republicans. The budget resolution is designed to enact Biden’s Build Back Better agenda – a projected $7 trillion COVID-19 relief, future economic, and infrastructure package. It also aims to create 10 million clean-energy jobs.
Carbon Capture Improvement Act
Another legislation critical for the deployment of carbon capture technologies was passed as part of the 1$ trillion infrastructure bill. That is the Carbon Capture Improvement Act introduced by US Senators Rob Portman and Michael Bennet in May 2021.
The Carbon Capture Improvement Act takes significant steps in facilitating the adoption of the technology. It makes it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture utilization and storage equipment, as well as direct air capture (DAC) projects through the use of private activity bonds (PABs).
Authorizing private activity bond financing is supposed to encourage commercial deployment, essential for bringing costs down and achieving economies of scale.
The private sector is also encouraged to participate in the development of new carbon dioxide removal technologies like carbon capture. Bill Gates pledged to invest $1.5 billion on joint climate change projects with the US Department of Energy (DOE) if the $1 trillion infrastructure bill gets passed by the House.
Carbon capture investment is part of the newly approved $1 billion infrastructure plan via the Carbon Capture Improvement Act and billions allocated to clean energy projects. The type of technologies are not specified in the infrastructure bill, rather it promotes environmental conservation through various initiatives.
More ambitious climate change investments are included in the Build Back Better agenda where Biden proposes a $2.4 trillion spending on energy and infrastructure to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.