Colorado, Arizona local governments partner on carbon removal technology
Local governments in Boulder County, Colorado, and Flagstaff, Arizona, are recruiting other “advanced climate” jurisdictions in the western Four Corners region to expand carbon sequestration technologies.
While Boulder County and Flagstaff initially announced their intention to form the Four Corners Carbon Removal Coalition last November, the two jurisdictions announced this week that they will begin soliciting proposals from interested entities in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah this summer.
The initial application will look for proposals “that make lasting and verifiable carbon removal solutions” that integrate the carbon they remove from greenhouse gas emissions into local concrete production, according to partners.
“Local governments can do a lot for their communities, to support climate resilience,” said Susie Strife, director of Sustainability, Climate Action and Resilience in Boulder County, at a webcast launch. Tuesday.
“This is very important to us because what we are doing locally is a drop in the amount of emission reductions,” Strife added. “But if we can unite and get more local governments involved, that’s when I think we can really make a bigger impact.”
Governments will work with OpenAir, a volunteer-led collective that aims to accelerate the development of carbon sequestration technologies.
At Tuesday’s webinar, OpenAir co-founder Chris Neidl described the removal of carbon dioxide as “a series of different activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it permanently in terrestrial or product geological oceanic deposits “.
Essentially, removing carbon dioxide means sucking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, either through natural methods such as trees or through technological approaches that are still emerging.
“In recent years it has become very clear that all the roads that really maintain a livable climate throughout this century, in addition to the dramatic decarbonisation and adaptation to inevitable climate change, will also require the elimination of emissions from the atmosphere. “Neidl said.
While Neidl acknowledged that these technologies will not be a “replacement” for decarbonization and adaptation, he stressed that the development of affordable carbon removal solutions should “start yesterday.”
Several companies and researchers around the world have begun to develop these technologies, but they have not yet been produced on a commercial scale.
In Neidl’s mind, the world needs “a portfolio of technically proven options that are also socially acceptable and tested” by the end of 2030.
Local governments, according to Neidl, are willing to push for this development, as they are “solely accountable to the public they serve.”
Boulder County identified carbon sequestration as part of its global climate strategy in 2018 and last year launched a Climate Innovation Fund to directly support initiatives that eliminate and sequester carbon, he said. explain.
Flagstaff City Council also last year declared its support for carbon sequestration as part of its carbon neutrality plan, Neidl added.
When OpenAir brought the two local entities together, he said the partners realized the benefit of aggregating their ideas with other local governments that have similar interests across the region.
The Four Corners Carbon Removal Coalition aims to bring local governments together to come up with “ways to directly support innovation in carbon sequestration and do it now,” Neidl said.
The coalition will take advantage of funding from both the public and private sectors, recognizing that while each local entity may not have enough support on its own, it can achieve more by pooling its resources.
Initial proposals will focus on projects that sequester carbon from concrete, which is capable of aspirating carbon and fixing it permanently through a process called “carbonation,” Neidl said.
Nicole Antonopoulos, Sustainability Director for the City of Flagstaff, said removing carbon dioxide dominates her city’s “toolkit” to achieve carbon neutrality over the next eight years. The prospects for these emerging technologies also offer “an incredible opportunity to align with business development,” he added at the webinar.
“It took billions of dollars to put these kinds of emissions into the atmosphere,” Antonopoulos added. “It will create a trillion-dollar industry to eliminate it.”