A new legislation for California addressing its net zero commitment is among the flurry of activity that is coming from COP27. State Senator Josh Becker made a policy announcement on November 14th – the California Carbon Dioxide Removal Market Development Act.
Josh Becker – California State Senator and Vice Chair – Joint Committee on Climate Change Policy, introduced the new legislation that will aim to grow California’s carbon removal capacity to the amount needed by 2045 for the state to reach its net zero target.
Back in September 2022, California passed a series of climate bills setting a 2045 net-zero carbon goal, implementing a legal mandate to cut emissions by at least 85% below current levels.
The state also established carbon capture guidelines, banned new oil wells from residential areas, and extended the timeline to keep Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant open for another five years, and more.
According to Mr. Becker, for California to eliminate the remaining 15% of emissions, it needs to implement carbon offsets. That translates into the need to remove 65 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere to offset the remaining 15%.
“Today the worldwide capacity for long-lasting carbon removal is only a few thousand tons annually, so there is a large gap to close,” explains Becker in a video announcement of the new legislation.
The California Carbon Dioxide Removal Market Development Act answers the three critical questions regarding carbon removal capacity expansion:
- What can be counted as a valid negative emission?
- Who will pay for it?
- How do we grow the carbon removal capacity over time to the amount needed by 2045?
Mr Becker answers the first question by saying a valid carbon removal must eliminate emissions for thousands of years – or the same time scale that the CO2 stays in the atmosphere after being released. Methods could be both natural based or technological as long as they meet strict criteria for additionality, durability, measurement, and verification.
He also explains that the ones being responsible for emitting many greenhouse gases are those who will pay for carbon dioxide removal to offset the portion of their emissions.
The bill will also aim to create clear early demand for high-quality carbon removal solutions by 2030 including clear visibility to demand growth over time. That, on the other side, will give investors and developers the confidence they need to invest in those critical climate solutions.