California Executive Order B-55-18 set the goal of reaching carbon neutrality no later than 2045, with the hope of achieving and upholding negative emissions.
To reach the carbon neutrality goal, California may have to capture, transport, and store millions of tons of carbon dioxide yearly from the atmosphere and other large sources.
In-depth analyses show that the state will need to step up its emission reduction measures by deploying technologies that significantly reduce existing emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere directly.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS)—a large family of carbon-removing technologies—has incredibly high regulatory and permitting needs that are managed by multiple state and federal agencies.
“The state cannot rely on the existing regulatory regime to efficiently process a significant enough number of CCS project authorizations to achieve its climate goals,” said Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist George Peridas. “California could obtain faster and larger carbon emission reduction removal… through some simple interventions to existing process and structures. Large reforms are not… conductive to achieving these climate benefits.”
According to a LLNL article, the state has several options to guarantee timely and efficient authorization of CCS projects to reach its goal while still preserving public health and safety, including: assembling an interagency working group, creating a clear directive that calls for permit reviews, and assigning one agency to act as point of contact for CCS project permit applicants, among other things.
The full Permitting Carbon Capture & Storage projects in California report can be found here.
Image: Smokestacks at a power plant in Arizona. The power sector has the most potential to cut carbon (Flickr/ Nick Humphries)