The newly introduced Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Leadership Act Of 2024 will call on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to permanently remove CO2 emissions from the air.
Introduced by U.S. Representatives Paul D. Tonko (NY-20) and Scott Peters (CA-52) and U.S. Senators Chris Coons (DE) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), the legislation would require that DOE apply technological solutions, such as direct air capture (DAC).
The CDR Leadership Act outlines the maximum costs of carbon removal per metric ton of CO2 year by year up to 2035 and beyond, as well as the amounts of carbon emissions needed to be removed on an annual basis, in order to reach climate goals and effectively limit global warming.
Starting from 2024, the price of CDR goes down from a maximum of $750 per ton of CO2 to a maximum of $150 per ton in the year 2035 and thereafter.
On the contrary, the amount of carbon removals mandated by the proposed legislation increases exponentially over the years, as DAC and other technologies are expected to scale, starting at 50,000 tons per year in 2024 and reaching an annual CDR rate of 10 million tons in 2035.
This adds up to a potential total investment of up to $10 billion over the next decade, which will likely be facilitated by long-term contracts that will help create an initial market and inspire further investment in CDR.
As the United States Federal government emits over 65 million tons of CO2e per year, it is imperative that it double down on its support for the nascent sector or carbon removal.
The new legislation was hailed by different stakeholders, including nonprofit environmental organization Carbon180.
“The federal government can play a singular role in building a responsible carbon removal industry, using its purchasing power to set high standards, support innovation across different pathways, and ultimately increase the amount of carbon permanently removed from the atmosphere. The Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act leverages federal procurement to benefit developers, workers, and the communities in which projects are built while positioning the United States as a global leader in this new and critical sector,” said Sasha Stashwick, Carbon180 Director of Policy.
Edit: A previous version of the article mistakenly stated that the CDRLA would provide up to $750 billion for carbon removal