Widespread, economy-wide deployment of carbon capture technologies is essential for meeting midcentury climate goals: carbon capture is critical to meeting the Paris Agreement 2050 two-degree warming target, and to approach a near-zero carbon economy by mid-century.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), carbon capture technologies will need to remove 121 Million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually by year 2030, and 449 Million tons of CO2 by 2050, from power and industrial sectors to meet the two-degree warming target envisioned in the Paris Agreement.
To reach the Paris Agreement target, 14 percent of cumulative emissions reductions between now and 2050 must be derived from carbon capture and storage.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that a path to meeting the two-degree goal set in the Paris Agreement without carbon capture will cost the world 138% more than with carbon capture. The same analysis shows non-carbon capture scenarios having the highest failure rates in terms of achieving the two-degree goal.
The newly-reformed federal 45Q tax credit for CO2 storage and beneficial use will significantly boost emissions reductions efforts in the United States. According to modeling conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy during the Obama administration:
CO2 emissions in the power sector would drop by about 50 million tons per year by 2030 and decline by nearly 70 million tons per year in 2040. To place these values in perspective, 50 million/tons per year is about 1/5th of the total CO2 reduction expected to be achieved by the Obama Clean Power Plan in 2025.
Passage of the FUTURE Act to reform the Section 45Q tax credit in February marked enactment of the most important energy and climate legislation in a generation.
The bipartisan support for carbon capture technologies is broad and deep and represents one of the best opportunities for action on important energy, environmental and economic policy goals. The USE IT Act, legislation to further development and deployment of carbon capture, is poised to pass the Senate and could become law this year.