To take advantage of the current environment, the U.S. government could do the following to help meet U.S. climate goals and foster the commerciality of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technology:
- Extend the 45Q tax credit beyond January 1, 2024 to broaden the number of actors that can apply for the credit. By expanding the time window, Congress would provide greater certainty to industry and investors so they can advance projects.
- Regulators should develop standards and safeguards for industry and government to follow. Given that CDR technologies carry various economic, environmental, logistical and land-use risks, the U.S. government will need to provide vigorous safety studies, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Interior (DOI) should develop rules for industry to follow. At the same time, companies will need to establish a set of guardrails and norms to gain public trust and consistency.
- Invest in continued research, development, and demonstration of CDR technologies so they can be deployed as soon as possible. R&D funding for a wide array of technology, which NAS stressed is critical, can improve performance, decrease risks for investors, lower costs, and spur innovation.
- Collaborate with industry. Public-private partnerships are essentially risk-sharing agreements that can help industry players find support before they develop viable business models. National labs, universities and research institutions have the ability to provide capital and expertise to private industry. Collaboration allows for public leadership in fighting climate change while also emboldening private companies to be part of the solution while gaining financial rewards.
- Stimulate innovation by developing a prize competition. Like the X-Prize competition, a contest for innovators in the CDR space would provide a platform for companies to exhibit their technologies and expand their networks. Crucially, a competition would also inform policymakers and the general public about why this technology is important for climate management.
- Government procurement of products that are made with CO2. This process would provide a customer base for companies utilizing CO2 for commercial products and allow the government to reduce its carbon footprint.
- Establish a federal price on carbon, whether through a carbon tax, carbon fee and dividend, or cap-and-trade system. A price on carbon would facilitate further innovation, provide certainty for industry, and put a value on the CO2 that is captured.
- Provide tax credits for midstream infrastructure products so CO2 can be transported from where it is captured to demand centers. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that low-interest government loans could provide the necessary pipeline infrastructure to help cut CO2 emissions by an extra 31 million tons of CO2 per year.
- Collaborate with other countries to share critical technology and expertise with them, particularly emerging markets where dependence on fossil fuels is growing. The United States can do this by developing collaborative initiatives to help develop policies elsewhere. Such action could provide U.S. companies access to key markets overseas. The U.S. government could provide finance and incentives for R&D. To make this work, the United States can work through the G20 or bilateral and multilateral partnerships.
- The U.S. government should work within the UNFCCC to elevate CDR technology within the Paris process. This can ensure that CDR is not excluded as an option for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the 2015 Paris Agreement and further make CDR part of the mainstream narrative for permissible solutions.
 Kelly, Morgan. “Funded by new tax credits, U.S. carbon-capture network could double global CO2 headed underground.” Princeton Environmental Institute. September 25, 2018. https://www.princeton.edu/news/2018/09/25/funded-new-tax-credits-us-carbon-capture-network-could-double-global-co2-headed