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ABO to EPA – offer a carbon carrot rather than a carbon stick

Earlier this week ABO’s Executive Director Matt Carr provided commentary to a panel of representatives from the EPA on the agency’s proposed new rules for power plants, designed to reduce overall emissions of carbon dioxide.

Matt showcased the potential of algae to be an asset to power plants seeking compliance with the rule. By feeding waste CO2 to algae, emitters have a powerful new motivation for compliance: profit.

Matt noted: “By creating a market for captured carbon, carbon utilization can mitigate, offset, or even negate the cost of carbon capture, providing a CO2 reduction mechanism that minimizes the cost to ratepayers. Algae producers need CO2 and will pay power producers to get it.”

This notion – that CO2 has value – is at the heart of the argument that ABO is making on the Hill. Right now, EPA regulations only recognize “sequestration” (aka burial) as an approved strategy for emissions reduction. The problem is that this imposes a cost on emitters (and consequently their customers, the US taxpayer.

ABO believes offering emitters a carrot (a revenue generating market for their waste CO2) instead of a stick (a costly technology required for legal compliance) will accelerate the development of carbon capture and utilization technologies that will not only reduce emissions, but create a bevy of new, low-carbon products that create jobs and enhance our food and energy security.

ABO is concerned, however, that by making no mention of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) while affirmatively recognizing other compliance options, including carbon capture and sequestration/storage (CCS), the proposed rule risks sending the signal to states – and to investors – that carbon utilization is not a preferred mitigation strategy. This is a profound missed opportunity and one which ABO is determined to make sure does not happen.

You can read Matt’s full testimony here (PDF). You can see him make the case on E&E TV by clicking here.

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