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The Case for Federal Support to Advance Direct Air Capture

Achieving a net-zero economy will require an unprecedented level of coordination and action from companies and governments around the world. In order to reach these climate goals, there is broad international agreement from the scientific community that deploying carbon removal and direct air capture (DAC) technologies is needed. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Direct Air Capture Advisory Council was launched in 2019 to explore the role of direct air capture in achieving a net-zero carbon economy and to address related policy and technology challenges. It includes leaders from academia, the private sector, labor, and the NGO community.

This white paper is the third of a three-part “Case for DAC” series by the Council that outlines the environmental imperative, the burgeoning commercial case, and the federal policy agenda needed to deploy DAC technologies at scale. To provide clear policy direction and maintain momentum, the DAC Advisory Council recommends that Congress and the administration set a goal of having at least 7 million tons per year of DAC capacity operational or under construction by 2030. As recommended in this white paper, reaching this goal will require a new level of investment in DAC innovation, expanded financing opportunities, and added support for early markets.

Prompt action on the recommendations offered in this white paper can help ensure that the United States emerges as a leader in the development, commercialization, and eventual export of DAC technology to the rest of the world. The alternative is to risk falling behind countries in Europe and elsewhere that have already started to invest in DAC, and other critical infrastructure for carbon management. This set of targeted federal policies, in tandem with growing commitments and investments from the private sector, will position America for success— both in advancing DAC and in achieving a net-zero economy.

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