May 20, 2022

Whitehouse, Coons introduce legislation to accelerate carbon dioxide removal

The Federal Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act would promote U.S. innovation to fight climate change

WASHINGTON – This week, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced legislation to reduce emissions by accelerating U.S. global leadership in carbon dioxide removal technologies and help tackle climate change.  

“We will fail to meet our climate safety targets through emissions reduction, so carbon removal is a necessary part of safety planning for the future.  Our bill would help position the U.S. as a world leader in pioneering carbon dioxide removal technology,” said Senator Whitehouse.

“Meeting our climate goals will require developing a robust market for technologies that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said Senator Coons. “The United States has the resources, expertise, and vision to be a global leader in this space and provide robust climate solutions for the planet. This legislation will promote American competitiveness, create good-paying jobs, and help secure a low carbon future.” 

“To meet climate goals, we must rapidly and thoughtfully scale carbon removal. The United States leads the world in R&D investments in this field and the Federal CDR Leadership Act represents the most important next step for this vital climate solution. Federal procurement can leverage growing private sector investments, set rigorous standards, and spur continued innovation. Senators Coons and Whitehouse have long been champions on climate and carbon removal and we strongly support this bill,” said Erin Burns, Executive Director, Carbon180

“CATF thanks Senators Coons and Whitehouse for their ongoing climate leadership. The Federal Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act demonstrates their commitment to ensuring we develop a diversity of critical climate technology options, including permanent carbon dioxide removal (CDR). We know that federal procurement can play a key role in creating a market for much-needed CDR technologies, and this new legislation helps create that market and spurs innovation so that we can achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible,” said Matt Bright, Carbon Capture Policy Manager, Clean Air Task Force 

“The latest IPCC report states that large-scale carbon dioxide removal is now ‘unavoidable’ if we’re to meet our climate commitments. The good news is that by adding carbon removal to our other efforts on climate change, we can accelerate action and reduce overall costs. The Federal Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act of 2022 can help America get an early start, and by directly incentivizing the deployment of carbon removal facilities in the United States, this bill will also stimulate investment and create high-quality jobs. Carbon Engineering appreciates the leadership of Senators Coons and Whitehouse on this important measure,” said Geoff Holmes, Director of Government Relations, Carbon Engineering

The United States stands to be a global leader in carbon dioxide removal due to our vast geological storage and technical expertise. However, projects in this growing field face cost burdens associated with first-mover risks and a lack of demand-side incentives. As a result, most carbon dioxide removal technologies are only feasible at prices exceeding $500 per ton—far too expensive to attract large-scale private procurement. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Negative Shot calls for rapid innovation to reduce the cost of carbon dioxide removal to less than $100 per ton by 2030. Achieving this ambitious goal will necessitate the rapid build-out of facilities with multi-million ton capacities that can only be achieved by market-wide driving forces. 

This bill would leverage federal procurement to create a market for carbon dioxide removal. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require DOE to remove an increasing amount of carbon dioxide using direct air capture or other technology-based removal solutions;
  • Set aside 20% of funds for promoting newer, innovative technologies;
  • Prioritize creating jobs domestically, supporting American competitiveness in developing climate solutions, and maximize the efficacy of carbon dioxide removal techniques.

A one pager on the Federal Carbon Dioxide Removal Leadership Act is here

The full bill text is available here

Full list of supportive quotes is available here.

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), 401-453-5294

Will Baskin-Gerwitz (Coons), 202-224-5042

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921