The US has just doubled back on its carbon capture funding program by enabling oil production – a move brought about by senator Joe Manchin and others.
Essentially, this sudden reversal in the $3.7 billion funding program represents a major win for big oil.
Announced by the Department of Energy (DOE) on Tuesday, the program was designed to support projects that remove CO2 emissions directly from the air, technology known as direct air capture or DAC.
However, in the unexpected pivot by policymakers, Manchin being among them, this funding may now also be used to back carbon capture projects for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), which allows for the production of more fossil fuels.
The shift is a significant one and will most likely be defended fiercely by the oil and gas sector, as it ensures more funding opportunities for fossil fuel production.
Critics have been quick to dub the sudden change in policy as a vibrant illustration of the competing interests that have the Biden administration caught in their tug of war.
On the one hand, the government is prioritizing climate like never before with unprecedented spending, while on the other it is looking for ways to boost energy supplies in the wake of soaring gasoline prices.
Earlier this year, Manchin made headlines by a similar unexpected change of heart, when the US senator announced his support of Biden’s climate change program after previously having stopped it.
Only a month after expressing his strong disapproval of the climate agenda that would increase corporate taxes massively and boost funding for green projects, Manchin abruptly doubled back on his decision, much to everyone’s surprise.