Carbon Capture Facts: August 2018

September 7, 2018 | Education

Carbon Capture and Climate

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.

In the announcement that the National Audubon Society would join the Carbon Capture Coalition in May 2018, Society President David Yarnold said, “While some may be holding out for a perfect solution to climate change, we know that it will take an array of approaches to reduce planet-warming pollution…The Carbon Capture Coalition is pursuing many avenues—including a market-driven approach that has deep bipartisan support. Audubon is excited to be at the table with a range of voices exploring policy options that accelerate a reduction in carbon pollution.”

The Nature Conservancy co-chief of external affairs Lynn Scarlett said the following in the announcement that the Conservancy would join the Carbon Capture Coalition in 2018: “The Nature Conservancy recognizes that a wide range of technologies must be developed and deployed to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. These solutions, including carbon capture and storage innovations, often provide opportunities to drive innovation and spur economic growth.”

Fast Facts

  • 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 COby 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 COstorage 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:
    • COemissions 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 COreduction expected to be achieved by the Obama Clean Power Plan in 2025.

Why This Matters

  • As Carbon Capture Coalition member Roger Ballentine of Green Strategies said at the Coalition launch event in February 2018, “Carbon capture is now front-and-center to help the world affordably solve its climate challenges.” 
  • 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.