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April 22, 2021

Amid Ongoing Climate Crisis, King Stresses Urgency of Carbon Capture and Removal Technology Development

Senator King on carbon removal: “We could stop [emitting] carbon in the atmosphere tomorrow and we’d still have a problem; we’re pretty much beyond the tipping point.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a founding member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, emphasized the need for rapid development of carbon removal technology and increased deployment of carbon capture technology to speed up national efforts in the fight against climate change. In today’s hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator King argued that these technologies will be an important part of any American effort to meet our climate goals, in addition to investments in clean energy technologies. Senator King led off his questioning by discussing how fossil fuel plants can be motivated to employ carbon capture technology with Dr. Brian Anderson, Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

SENATOR KING: “What I am most interested in is timing, and we’re in a race that we’re losing right now. Let’s put aside utilization of the carbon that we remove, and I want to focus on carbon capture in the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon removal from the atmosphere – which is ultimately going to be necessary if we’re going to win this race because of the persistence of carbon in the atmosphere... I’m encouraged by the timeline on carbon capture, I’m discouraged about the timeline on carbon removal because in the long run, that’s going to be necessary. We could stop all carbon in the atmosphere tomorrow, but we’d still have a problem. As you know, we’re pretty much beyond the tipping point.”

DR. ANDERSON: Yes, perhaps we need different levels of carbon incentives to make it economical for direct air capture or other carbon removal technologies.

SENATOR KING: Do you believe that a price on carbon in some way, or some type of carbon price and dividend would be an important policy initiative?

DR. ANDERSON: Well, if we are to decarbonize our economy, we do need price signals that the private sector can run to the bank and are bankable in order to decarbonize. In terms of the policy mechanisms, there are a number of ways to get to the end goal, but some signal on carbon itself is necessary.  

In addition to Dr. Anderson, today’s hearing featured testimony from Jason Begger, Managing Director at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center; Randall Atkins, Chief Executive Officer of Ramaco Coal; and Dr. Gaurav Sant, Professor at UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and Founder and Chief Technology Officer of CarbonBuilt, Inc.

A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions wherever they can be found, Senator King is a founding member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, and a lead sponsor on a range of bills that encourage energy efficiency and research on clean energy technologies. Senator King has been outspoken about climate dangers posed by methane, an extremely dangerous greenhouse gas released during natural gas extraction. Senator King is a leader in the effort to repeal the Trump Administration’s relaxation of methane regulations – with plans to undo that policy change through the Congressional Review Act (CRA) in the weeks ahead.

Senator King is the lead sponsor of the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act, which aims to incentivize the recycling of rechargeable and electrochemical batteries needed to meet the United States’ growing clean energy needs and decrease dependence on critical mineral imports, and the Joint Long-Term Storage Act seeks to speed up deployment of long-duration energy storage technologies through strategic collaboration between federal agencies. Senator King is a cosponsor of the Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2019 which would put the U.S. on a trajectory to decarbonize the power sector by 2050, and the Clean Economy Act which would address the need for bold climate action and at the same time boosts American competitiveness, promotes healthier communities and fosters a growing economy that works for everyone. He focused the December 2019 edition of Inside Maine on the impact of climate change in Maine, as well as emerging bipartisan solutions to address this global existential crisis.

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