Why the US climate bill ‘might’ struggle to deliver on carbon capture

Posted: August 17, 2022 by oldbrew in Carbon cycle, climate, Emissions, government, net zero
Tags: ,

CO2 is not pollution

In the end nature determines how much of the trace gas carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, via the carbon cycle. Certain human activities may alter the numbers up or down temporarily. There’s vast expense, including lots of pipelines nobody wants, with no known finishing line in so-called ‘carbon capture’.
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Up to a fifth of emissions cuts from the Inflation Reduction Act are expected to come from carbon capture technologies, but there are major technical and political hurdles, says Climate Home News.

US president Joe Biden is expected to sign off a sweeping climate, energy and health care bill on Tuesday (16 August). It contains about $370 billion to foster clean energy development and combat climate change, constituting the largest federal climate investment in history.

Several studies project that its climate and energy provisions could enable the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.

That would be a significant improvement over the current projections of around 27%, and it could put the US within hailing range of its pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions at least 50% by 2030.

Notably, one linchpin of the bill’s climate provisions is a set of incentives to substantially expand technologies that capture carbon dioxide and either store it underground or ship it for reuse.

So far, the uptake of carbon capture technologies has been slow. The costs are high, and these technologies can require miles of pipeline and vast amounts of underground storage, both of which can trigger local backlash.

A recent study projected that the US would have to construct 65,000 miles of carbon dioxide pipelines to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050, a whopping 13 times the current capacity.

I’m the former founding co-director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University. While the bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, has many provisions designed to jump-start the carbon removal sector, it’s far from certain that the industry will be able to move quickly.
. . .
Under the bill, tax credits for capturing carbon dioxide at industrial facilities and power plants would increase from $50 per ton today to up to $85 per ton if the carbon is stored. If the carbon is used instead for oil drilling, the credit would go from $30 today to $60 per ton.

Credits for capturing carbon from air via direct air capture would also dramatically jump, from $50 to $180 per ton if the carbon dioxide is stored, and from $35 currently to $130 per ton if it is used.

Full article here.

  1. catweazle666 says:

    “Certain human activities may alter the numbers up or down temporarily.”

    This graph, which shows Mauna Loa CO2 data for the period covering the Covid lockdowns when anthropogenic emissions fell by 6.3% says otherwise, it doesn’t even twitch.

    The buffering effect of the World’s oceans is so great that nothing mankind can do to in the line of CO2 emission can make any measurable difference to it.

  2. stpaulchuck says:

    carbon capture, just another stupid rat hole to shovel money down as cronies skim off billions into their pockets

  3. oldbrew says:

    Catweazle – note *temporarily* in the intro 😎

  4. catweazle666 says:

    Temporarily or not, I can’t see any sign of the 6.3% reduction in in anthropogenic emissions 2021-22 ascribed to the Covid lockdown, myself.

    Even the (black) corrected trace doesn’t show a perturbation of the length and magnitude that I would associate with a reduction of that duration and magnitude.
    There is a twitch of ~2ppm in Jan 2022 but it has recovered by June.

    So I can’t see we’re ever going to have the capability to approach the natural season drawdown caused by the oceanic cycles, we’re going to lack the amount of energy to do that by some orders of magnitude.

    This is an interesting tool for viewing global NASA data of CO2 concentration, note the colouration is counterintuitive:


    It is interesting to see that the higher and lower concentrations aren’t where you would expect them to be, and the variation is considerably greater than I’d expect for what is described as a well-mixed gas.

    That is a fascinating site, keep finding new bits, I can play with it all day!

  5. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Why is it an ‘improvement’ to reduce CO2 that is greening the planet?

  6. Phoenix44 says:

    Expect a lot of large profitable businesses with a small carbon capture plant attached.

    Why do people on the Left continue to defy reality? Shovelling tax money at stuff has never worked and never will. If only it did, the world would be such a much better place and problems so easy to solve.

  7. oldbrew says:


    Seasonal CO2 Levels Strongly Linked To Cyclic N. Hemisphere Sea Ice

    Fundamentally the sea-ice hypothesis is supported by stronger correlations than the current explanation for the carbon cycle.

    According to Clive ​Hambler, “I was one of the first people to teach climate change at Oxford and now I must be one of the first people who are saying that maybe this is wrong.”


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