‘The scale is daunting but possible’ — Moniz promotes carbon dioxide removal

(Washington, D.C.) On July 28th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources convened to examine the development and deployment of large-scale carbon dioxide management technologies. EFI Founder & CEO Ernest Moniz testified before the committee to discuss carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and its role in addressing the climate crisis.

In his oral testimony, Moniz cites the EFI’s 2019 study Clearing the Air: A Federal RD&D Initiative and Management Plan for Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies. The study offers recommendations and detailed plans for a comprehensive 10-year, $10.7 billion RD&D initiative to bring new pathways for technology CDR to commercial readiness.

In order to meet the ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by mid-century, Moniz emphasized that CDR technologies must be deployed at gigaton scale. According to the National Academies, 10 gigatons of CDR is needed globally to slow global warming. To do so, the energy sector will need a supercharged period of innovation and research starting now.

In recent years, Congress has demonstrated increased action on the importance of CDR through DOE appropriations. The SENR committee specifically has shown initiative through the introduction of the American Energy Innovation Act. The AEIA comprises nearly 50 energy bills and seeks to modernize domestic energy laws to ensure the United States remains a global energy leader.

During the hearing, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced the introduction of the CREATE Act with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). According to a press release on Murkowski’s website, the CREATE Act develops a comprehensive federal initiative for CDR technologies by:

  • “Forming, within the National Science and Technology Council, a new Large-Scale Carbon Management program that will be co-chaired by the Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and officials from the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Establishing four working groups within a new Carbon Removal Initiative to pursue a technological and detailed CDR research and demonstration initiative across several federal agencies. The working groups will coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget to enhance existing research programs and conduct cross-cutting budget reviews.
  • Requiring that the working groups focus on carbon removal in the oceans, atmosphere, and land using both natural and technological approaches.”

Later that week, Moniz joined Senator Murkowski for her podcast, Murkowski’s Message. In a one-on-one conversation, Murkowski revealed that the bill was inspired by policy recommendations in EFI’s report Clearing the Air.

Ultimately, the development and deployment of CDR technologies will require an all-of-government initiative and international cooperation.

Watch Ernest Moniz’s full testimony here and read his written testimony here.

-Claudia Prandoni

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