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📄 "Growing Climate Solutions Act, Soil Carbon Sequestration & Carbon Taxes"

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Photo by Glen Carrie / Unsplash

Host: Radhika Moolgavkar
Guests: Dr. Holly Jean Buck | Assistant Professor in Environment & Sustainability | University at Buffalo &
Chris Barnard | National Policy Director | American Conservation Coalition
Category: 📄 Carbon Policy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:03] CB: “The Growing Climate Solutions Act was passed […] in the Senate […] overwhelmingly bipartisan. And so it's essentially a two pronged bill. On the one hand, it seeks to create a certification process for carbon credits for carbon markets to be more efficient so that farmers and landowners can be connected with companies to sell carbon credits and be paid to sequester carbon. So there's a certification process that would seek to streamline the market and give […] institutional backing to these carbon credits, which has been a little bit of a problem in these markets until now.

[2:50] CB: “The second thing is that it would create a program through the US Department of Agriculture, that would essentially provide technical assistance to farmers and landowners, to help them figure out the best ways for them to sequester carbon. What are the kind of technical things that they can do? How do they go about it? How can they actually make money from these credits using land management practices, etc.”

[7:16] CB: “The primary opposition in the House, at least on the Republican side, is […] [the concern]  that it would essentially [put] small agricultural practices and small family farms […] at a disadvantage compared to bigger farms that would be more able to take advantage of these types of carbon credits. And I don't think that's a particularly strong narrative, because as far as I can tell, everyone can benefit from this equally and the whole point of the technical assistance is that smaller and big operations can learn from the US Department of Agriculture how to sequester carbon effectively.”

[15:36] HB: “There's different ways of getting to what's being conceived of as lower carbon or carbon neutral or possibly carbon negative fuel. What we've seen recently is just pairing fossil fuels with offsets […]. And then you can actually turn CO2 into fuels, […] without dealing with the oil industry quite so much. […] And then you can have a process where you have direct air capture and use that captured CO2 to inject underground into a depleted oil well and get out more oil. And then that product […] has a different life cycle analysis, carbon neutral, possibly carbon negative, very context dependent.”

[18:41] CB: “Carbon leakage is essentially the concept that emissions can rise in one country because climate policies or measures or regulations are super stringent in another country, and cause business to go to this country where the regulations are less stringent, because it's easier to do business. And as a result they go there and emit and emit carbon emissions there rather than in the original country. And then you've not actually solved the problem of trying to reduce emissions in the first place. And so this applies to regulation, like making it very difficult for companies to pollute, say, in the US, and they might go to other countries. But it was, it would also apply to, for example, if you introduce a carbon tax at home, and so you would start to tax the emissions in the United States, then companies would just get up, leave the United States and go somewhere else where they can conduct business without being taxed for their emissions, and then sell products back to the US and then completely bypass the system.”

[20:19] CB: “I think it's utterly unrealistic [to establish a global carbon floor price]. We can't even get a carbon tax in the US, or basically, most other countries in the West, let alone get a carbon tax [that] the entire world would agree on. […] But it does bring up this valid point that we should think of measures to try and ensure that carbon leakage doesn't happen.”

[21:19] CB: “Biden's […] talked about how he would be in favor of some kind of carbon border adjustment, which means that goods coming into the US would pay a certain amount of money, depending on how much carbon is created in the production of those goods. And that's essentially to prevent carbon leakage.”

[24:20] CB: “[A] carbon border adjustment or global carbon minimum price would be kind of a stick approach. And so the opposite carrot approach would be to get rid of all the trade barriers to the free trade of environmental goods and services. So that would be kind of physical goods, like solar panels and wind turbines and nuclear technology and all those kinds of things, but also services, so financial industries that are specifically working on climate issues, knowledge workers, things like that. And there's a strong argument that by getting rid of those trade barriers, you'd actually provide a huge kind of boost to the global market for different countries to trade these technologies into kind of have a flow of information between them. […] I think leveraging global trade in the direction of clean energy would actually be a pretty powerful alternative to this type of policy.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 28 min | 🗓️ 07/02/2021
✅ Time saved: 26 min

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