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Congress is spending billions on carbon capture. Is it a climate ...

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The New York Times
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And lawmakers are debating dramatically increasing funding for carbon capture in the stalled Build Back Better Act.Carbon capture, which removes CO2 emissions from high-polluting sources like industrial facilities or power plants, could play an increasingly important role in global efforts to stave off the worst effects of climate change, according to international regulatory bodies. The International Energy Agency last year projected that carbon capture would account for nearly 15% of all the ways that we remove carbon, and the International Panel on Climate Change endorsed it as part of a suite of net-zero CO2 emissions scenarios."There is no solution to get to net-zero without carbon capture technology," Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, told reporters last week.Globally, we will need to capture about 4 billion to 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually in order to meet climate goals, according to Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. But environmentalists are skeptical of funding a technology they say is too expensive and rarely works, as many high-profile carbon capture projects shutter or run into snags.Just this month, reports found that two carbon capture facilities in Canada were underperforming — one power plant was capturing just half the carbon it had advertised, while a facility supposed to be creating clean hydrogen was actually emitting the equivalent of 1.2 million cars. Spending several billion on pilot projects to capture carbon emissions means not spending that money on building out solar and wind farms and power transmission lines, he said. In other words, make all cars electric, build more solar and wind power, and reserve carbon capture to make steel plants cleaner.But in the political climate of the last two decades, advocates of fossil fuels have held up the carbon capture technology as a way of keeping polluting plants running beyond their expiration date, environmentalists say.

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