Rep. Peters Answers Urgent Call Made by UN Climate Report, Introduces Carbon Dioxide Removal Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20) co-introduced the Federal Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Leadership Act. Following this week’s stark report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this bill targets specific recommendations made in the renowned report by directing Congress to take bold climate action.
“The most recent IPCC climate report focuses on carbon removal as a solution to climate change,” said Rep. Peters. “Although these solutions are costly and still evolving, we need them to maintain a safe climate. The federal government must provide robust support to develop and deploy these technologies quickly. Our bill answers this call to action by creating a sustainable, long-term market for direct air capture and other carbon removal processes. The Federal CDR Leadership Act proves we are serious about leading the world in addressing climate change, creating well-paying jobs in the clean energy transition, and developing essential next generation technologies in America.”
The Federal Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act of 2022:
- Requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to remove an increasing amount of carbon dioxide emissions every year using direct air capture or other technology-based removal solutions;
- Ensures best practices for monitoring, reporting, and verifying carbon removals and for collaborating with communities on new projects;
- Incentivizes cost reductions over time and gives flexibility for DOE to invest in new technologies with high carbon removal potential;
- Requires DOE to invest in smaller CDR projects to promote a broad portfolio of technologies;
- Prioritizes domestic job creation, environmental justice, innovative technologies, and community benefits.
This legislation builds on Rep. Peters’ long list of climate accomplishments, including those related to direct air capture, during his time in Congress. In 2019, he introduced bipartisan legislation to incentivize carbon utilization and direct air capture research and development to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The bill was passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 federal spending package. In 2021, the POWER ON Act became law as part of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021. Since then, the Department of Energy’s “Building a Better Grid” Initiative began implementing key transmission provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure deal, including the POWER ON Act. Back in the district, Rep. Peters continuously engages with institutions that work to help our climate, including a recent visit to a San Diego-based company that develops algae as a biofuel.
“Scientists have made it clear—we must use every tool at our disposal in order to address the ever-worsening climate crisis,” Congressman Tonko said. “Nothing can substitute for eliminating fossil fuels and reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, but investing in technology that removes harmful legacy emissions from our atmosphere will also be key to that effort. Our legislation takes needed steps to spur these developments while also creating good-paying jobs, supporting innovation, and propelling forward our nation’s clean energy economy. I’m thankful to Congressman Peters for his leadership on this bill and urge my colleagues to join us in cosponsoring this smart, clean, and meaningful legislation.”
Among its findings, the IPCC report notes we must reach peak emissions by 2025 to limit warming to 1.5°C of warming. We must also phase out fossil fuels by up to 95% by 2050 to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming. Regarding methane pollution, which is another top priority for Rep. Peters, we must cut emissions by 33% by 2030, 20 years earlier than previously thought. The report also focuses on carbon removal in particular, stating that it will be required to counterbalance sectors whose emissions are difficult to mitigate, such as steel production and long-haul aviation. Mobilizing resources to remove carbon from the atmosphere can benefit American communities by creating up to 300,000 jobs, and reducing legacy emissions that have historically hurt many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
Organizations that support this legislation include: C2ES, Carbon180, Carbon Engineering, Climeworks, the Evangelical Environmental Network, Linden, Openair, Shopify, and Stripe.