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Testimony on the Development and Deployment of Large-Scale Carbon Dioxide Management Technologies

Chairman Murkowski, Ranking Member Manchin, and members of the committee, thank you for convening this hearing on the development and deployment of large-scale carbon dioxide management technologies in the United States. BPC’s Energy Project has a number of initiatives underway that relate directly to carbon dioxide management and I appreciate the opportunity to share our views on this important subject. My testimony today focuses specifically on options for removing carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere, but it is worth emphasizing at the outset that BPC subscribes to an “all of the above” approach to addressing climate change. Technologies that reduce or avoid further emissions, including low- and zero-carbon fuel and electric power alternatives, energy efficiency, and carbon capture, storage, and utilization systems for large point sources of emissions are obviously all part of the solution, together with the carbon dioxide removal options I’ll be discussing here. In short, the scale of the challenge is so large, and the stakes are so high, that we simply must be able to draw on a large, diverse, and flexible toolset of policies and technologies to succeed.

For this hearing, I’d like to emphasize five key points:

  • Carbon dioxide removal strategies, including both natural and technology-based strategies, will be needed along with emissions reduction strategies to meet national and international climate change goals. Because it won’t be practically and economically feasible to eliminate all human-caused sources of greenhouse gases over the next few decades, we need ways to also pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to achieve net-zero emissions.
  • Effective carbon removal strategies are needed to diminish the economic disruption and dislocation that is inevitable as our nation makes the necessary transition to a net-zero emissions profile over the next three decades.
  • Experience shows the constructive and often vital role that government support can play in spurring innovation and nurturing new industries. This support can take different forms, as appropriate, at different points in the innovation cycle, from funding research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to providing a policy and market environment in which new technologies can gain a foothold and become commercially successfully.
  • Congress and this committee can take a number of steps to meaningfully advance large-scale carbon dioxide management technologies and strategies. Doing so would deliver near-and longterm benefits in terms of economic competitiveness, flexibility to meet climate objectives, farm and forest productivity, and other environmental co-benefits (clean water, ecosystem protection, etc.).
  • Different types of carbon dioxide removal strategies present different challenges. Direct air capture of carbon dioxide or “DAC” is a new technology that requires additional RD&D and financial support to achieve the cost reductions and performance improvements needed to enable large-scale deployment. By contrast, farm- and forest-based solutions are available and can be implemented now but are hampered by a lack of durable market and policy drivers to catalyze needed long-term investments in improved land management and carbon monitoring and accounting approaches.
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