Skip to main content

New Report from BPC Advisory Council Makes the Environmental Case for Direct Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide

Washington, DC –  The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Direct Air Capture Advisory Council today released a new white paper, the first in a series of three, making the environmental case for an ambitious, targeted, and diversified program of near-term investment in direct air capture technology as part of a comprehensive strategy for achieving international climate goals over the next several decades.

The paper, Investing in Climate Innovation: The Environmental Case for Direct Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide, analyzes the specific advantages DAC offers and the climate benefits it can provide as part of a broader strategy that includes both policies to avoid and reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to boost natural carbon dioxide removal processes.

Advisory council member and former Rep. Carlos Curbelo said, “Direct air capture may well be needed to prevent the worst of climate change impacts, including those like sea-level rise and wildfires that we are already experiencing.”

The advisory council, which includes former top policymakers and leaders from academia, the private sector, labor, and the NGO community, bases its support of expanded efforts to develop DAC technology on four key observations:

  • Carbon removal capability is likely necessary to achieve climate goals, including limiting warming this century to below 2°C, as many recent climate studies have found;
  • Some sources of “distributed” greenhouse gas emissions will be difficult to fully eliminate, including long-haul air travel, industrial production, and agriculture;
  • DAC should be viewed as part of a portfolio of carbon removal strategies, complementing others like tree restoration, forest management and soil carbon storage, even as DAC offers important advantages of siting flexibility and scalability;
  • DAC can help catalyze broader support for action to limit climate change, by changing public and policymaker perceptions about the range of technically and economically feasible options, helping to advance the current political debate.

“Reducing carbon emissions as quickly as possible is crucial, but we must also explore technologies like DAC that over time could help bring net emissions down to zero,” said Dan Lashof, advisory council member and U.S. director of the World Resources Institute.

“Climate risk requires all options to be on the table,” said BPC Energy Project Director Sasha Mackler. “DAC has the potential to play a unique role as part of a broad range of policy actions.”

The advisory council will be releasing additional white papers including key recommendations for U.S. policymakers throughout the rest of the year.

Read the Environmental Case for DAC