Scientists now agree large-scale carbon removal will be needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change
washington d.c.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today introduced the Carbon Removal and Emissions Storage Technologies (CREST) Actlegislation that directs the Departments of Energy and Interior to establish new research programs and assess the feasibility of carbon removal and storage pathways, quantify the net impact of removal solutions and establish an innovative reverse auction purchase pilot program to accelerate the commercialization of the carbon removal market.
With growing private and public sector commitments to achieve net zero emissions, companies are looking for ways to invest in quantifiable, sustainable and verifiable carbon removal solutions. Despite the increased interest, current cost estimates show that private sector investment alone is unlikely to be sufficient to research and deploy carbon removal pathways. Further research, increased testing and stronger public-private partnerships would help scale up carbon removal technologies, especially by taking advantage of natural carbon removal processes such as reforestation, algae cultivation and enhanced geological mineralization.
The bipartisan CREST Act is supported by a wide range of organizations and businesses focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including ClearPath Action, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Bipartisan Policy Center Action, Biomass Power Association, the Carbon Business Council, the Evangelical Environmental Network, Running Tide, Stripe and Vesta. Click on HERE for statements in support of the CREST Act.
“The effects of climate change are evident across Maine, which has serious implications for the livelihoods of many people across the state,” said Senator Collins. “Reducing harmful pollutants in our atmosphere that cause climate change requires a comprehensive approach. Our bipartisan bill would spur research and development of carbon removal technologies, while accelerating the commercialization of innovative carbon removal solutions to make them more affordable.
“We must use every tool at our disposal to try to protect Washingtonians from the worst impacts of climate change,” said Senator Cantwell. “Harnessing the power and ingenuity of Mother Nature to remove and permanently store carbon pollution will help us achieve critical net-zero emissions reduction targets while creating new economic opportunities.
Title I of the CREST Act builds on previously authorized carbon removal research and development programs to include carbon removal pathways that can permanently sequester carbon dioxide or utilize carbon dioxide. carbon to produce valuable products such as biofuels and other products. Key areas of interest include:
- Carbon removal from biomass. Expands the scope of current DOE research on carbon capture to include the biological removal of carbon from terrestrial and aquatic sources using techniques such as algal cultivation, soil improvement and improved photosynthesis and root growth. The bill also establishes an initiative on the development of new animal feed and fuel products from carbon dioxide.
- Geological carbon removal. Stimulates research, experiments and pilot programs to conduct carbon mineralization that can trap carbon dioxide in solid form. Permitted activities include field experiments to determine the carbon removal potential of the diffusion of reactive minerals onto soils and beaches, the injection of reactive formulations into subterranean formations, and the reuse of industrial slag and tailings. mining in manufacturing. The CREST Act would also direct the Home Office to conduct a national assessment of the locations and available quantities of suitable reactive minerals.
- Removal of aquatic carbon. Encourages the DOE to pursue ocean carbon removal pathways such as blue carbon management, which focuses on coastal and marine biomass, as well as direct ocean capture, which directly removes carbon dioxide from the oceans through artificial or inorganic processes. The CREST Act would also establish a program that monitors, studies and models the ecological impacts of ocean carbon dioxide removal and storage techniques. The bill also directs the DOE to report on offshore capacity to store carbon in the deep seas through activities such as biomass sinking.
- Removal of atmospheric carbon. Leads the DOE to research, develop, and demonstrate manufacturing techniques for direct air capture technologies.
- Quantification of carbon removal. Provides grants to entities seeking financial assistance to conduct a life cycle analysis of their emissions.
Title II of the CREST Act Creates a Pilot Carbon Removal Purchase Program that Uses an Innovative Reverse Auction Mechanism to Find Least-Cost Pathways to National Carbon Removal Solutions Meeting Performance Metrics specified.
The CREST law is based on the Energy Act 2020, which authorized the first comprehensive federal carbon removal research and development program, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which invested $3.6 billion in capture technology direct from the air. According to a major news report United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is essential to meeting international climate goals aimed at mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. The CREST Act is the latest example of Senators Collins and Cantwell’s teaming up to promote creative climate change legislation, a two-decade partnership that includes the CLEAR Law, their innovative cap and dividend bill, in collaboration with the Office of Government Accountability determine the US Treasury’s exposure to climate change risks and costs, and support legislation to study abrupt climate change.
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