Air Date

April 22, 2021

Featured Guests

Annette Hasbrook
Assistant Manager, Program Integration, NASA's Orion Program Office, Artemis II Vehicle Manager, NASA Johnson Space Center

Dr. Michelle Parker
Vice President and Deputy General Manager, Boeing Space and Launch

Chris Clark
President and CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce


Chuck Chaitovitz
Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


On Earth Day 2021, President Joe Biden made sweeping announcements regarding the United States’ goals to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and tackle the ongoing climate crisis. He set a goal for the U.S. to achieve a 50 to 52% reduction from 2005 levels in greenhouse gas pollution in 2030. During this announcement, he also stated his intention to rejoin the Paris Agreement and help the world reach net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.

One of the most critical factors in meeting these national and global climate goals is that of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). This is a process that involves capturing CO2 from large point sources, such as power plants, and directly from the atmosphere, then compressing and transforming it into deep underground geological structures. CCUS technologies remove CO2, which are negative emissions, for a cleaner atmosphere.

Because CCUS technologies are new and can be expensive, they have not been widely implemented or introduced without regulation. To learn more about CCUS, here are three insights.

Significant Carbon Reductions Must Happen to Meet Climate Goals

Carbon180 is a climate nonprofit that was founded to help the United States and the world reach their climate goals. To limit warming to two degrees and meet other requirements outlined in the Paris Agreement, Giana Amador, Carbon180's policy director and co-founder, has made carbon remission a huge part of its efforts.

“We need to be removing carbon on the scale of 10 gigatons by 2050,” Amador stated.

“There's a portfolio of solutions that can remove carbon at this scale, ranging from land sector solutions like forestry and agriculture to tech-based solutions like direct air capture … as well as what we call carbon tech or carbon utilization,” she continued. “[Those technologies] turn [carbon] into valuable products like building materials, fuels, plastics, and chemicals …[Using] technologies like bioenergy with CCS and all of these technologies together not just reduce emissions, but actually can create net negative emissions.”

Corporations Have to Do Their Part to Reduce Carbon

The federal government cannot solely be responsible for reaching these carbon goals. That's why it's important for private sector companies like Microsoft to help reduce the carbon footprint.

“We made a really ambitious commitment to be carbon-negative by 2030,” said Michelle Patron, senior director of sustainability policy for Microsoft.

“The challenge when it comes to carbon removal is that it's not a substitute,” she continued. “It's not like renewable energy where it's a different type of electricity … Removing carbon from the air is a public good, and so we need to think creatively about how we really scale demand.”

To Reduce the Cost of CCUS, We Need Publicly Available Tools

The process for CCUS ranges but is typically on the more expensive side. To make the cost of these processes worth their existence, there need to be publicly available tools and products. Businesses, such as construction companies, can help do their part to reduce the carbon footprint through CCUS. However, because these processes are not currently publicly available and verified, they cannot use them.

“[Publicly available tools] are being developed in the context of environmental product declaration,” said Dan Lashof, director of WRI United States.

“There are some privately developed tools [that] need to be verified and incorporated as public tools that everybody can have competence in,” he added. “That can be done, but that's certainly one of the key enablers to start really creating a market for low-carbon products like concrete and steel.”