Murkowski: Carbon Management Has Significant Promise

July 28, 2020

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing focused on the development of carbon removal technologies in the United States. Murkowski also highlighted the introduction of the CREATE Act, a new bill she is cosponsoring to establish an executive committee at the National Science and Technology Council to coordinate interagency efforts on carbon removal research and development.

“Just a few years ago, the concept of carbon removal was really focused on planting trees and forest conservation and wasn’t widely seen as a realistic approach that could be dramatically scaled up,” Murkowski said in her opening statement. “It is now becoming clear that technologies are being developed that can permanently remove carbon dioxide from the air and the oceans and that those technologies are worthy of federal investment. As part of a larger strategy, carbon removal can help offset hard-to-abate sectors and could eventually even help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.”

Carbon removal technologies take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere or the ocean and include direct air capture, natural approaches such as improved soil and forest management, and hybrid options such as bioenergy combined with carbon capture. Carbon removal technologies have significant potential to reduce net emissions levels and could accordingly help slow or reverse climate change.

Ernest Moniz, President and CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative and former Secretary of the Department of Energy, was among the six witnesses who testified at today’s hearing. 

“Further innovation is required to advance all pathways for [carbon dioxide removal]. This will require a major, multi-year, multi-agency federal [research, design and, development] initiative to deliver the portfolio,” Moniz said. “The large-scale deployment potential for [carbon dioxide removal] innovation offers significant economic benefits in terms of new industries and new jobs on a global scale.”

Shannon Angielski, Executive Director of the Carbon Utilization Research Council, highlighted the importance of carbon management during her testimony. 

“International authorities recognize that fossil fuels will continue to be used both here in the United States and globally,” Angielski said. “It is how we manage the carbon dioxide produced from the use of fossil fuels that will determine whether we can cost effectively meet mid-century emissions reductions goals and simultaneously enable all nations to benefit from economic growth and energy security.”

The CREATE Act is a new bipartisan bill that Murkowski is cosponsoring with Senators Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. The Senators introduced the legislation today.

Murkowski is Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The Committee last year reported Senator Joe Manchin’s, D-W.Va., EFFECT Act, which would, in part, establish a comprehensive carbon removal research and development program at the Department of Energy. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here and here to view Murkowski’s questions for the witnesses.