Transcript: Carbon Dioxide Removal: Science, Strategies, and Safeguards (CA Climate Policy Summit 2024)

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Ellie Cohen (06:14):
This is carbon dioxide removal science strategies and safeguards.

Ellie Cohen (06:20):
Hello. So welcome everybody to our carbon dioxide removal panel on science strategies and safeguards, and so glad to have our guest speakers here today. According to the latest reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all viable pathways to a climate safe, stable future, it requires the removal of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere on the scale of 100 to a thousand gigatons. It’s a huge amount of carbon dioxide that we have to cumulatively remove by the end of the century. As California begins to scale up, CDR policy makers have to center equity and.

Kimberley Mayfield (00:00:00):
And there have been so many reports, these are just a few of them. Don’t expect that. I’m going to request that you read them all. Consider this the TLDR version. For those that don’t do acronyms too long, didn’t read, okay? Sometimes people always ask, we haven’t decarbonized yet, so why bother with CO2 removal? That’s a very, very reasonable question. So here you’re looking at some results from the International Panel for Climate Change. Most recent report, and you’re looking at black is what we’ve been up to. So on the X axis you have 2000 till 2100, right? The next a hundred years. And then on the Y axis you have gigatons of CO2 emissions. Black is what we’ve been up to. The line is increasing, okay? I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody here. We need that line to decrease and we need it to decrease very, very, very quickly.

So the red line is what we’re looking at with policies implemented so far. It is not a steep decrease like we need. If we want to keep warming down to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need to follow that very steep blue line. If we want to keep it to two degrees Celsius, we need to follow that very steep green line. So please do not think during the course of this talk that I’m saying we do carbon dioxide removal instead of decarbonization because that is absolutely not the case. Now, 1.5 degrees C, if you were to just follow that blue line, you end up seeing that we do need carbon dioxide removal. And to take that concept a little bit farther and even more quantitatively, the International Energy Agency posted their net zero roadmap recently. And the good news is, is that 1.5 degrees Celsius is possible.

Please don’t think that if we really get focused and enact everything that we possibly can, it is still within reach. And yes, two degrees Celsius is more likely at this point. But every 0.1 degrees Celsius matters. But it is hard. This is not easy according to the IEA. These are all of the things that we need to do in order to reach that 1.5 degrees C target. We’re looking at tripling green energy supplied by 2030 doubling our fuel efficiency. No new unabated coal plants cutting methane by 75%. Transmission networks need to be increasing by 30% year over year till 2030. So get in love with transmission and we need to increase clean energy budget in developing countries, especially by about $3 trillion. And that’s a 200% increase compared to what it is now. And also what was very specifically included is that we need to include technology is to capture CO2 from smokestack and the atmosphere carbon dioxide removal at the global scale has no longer become a, if we do enough now we can avoid it. It’s now baked in and that’s a world that we’re living in right now. So after you remove CO2, you have to store it somewhere.

And one of the places that has been storing CO2 now is deep porous rock layers. Way, way, way below aquifers. We’re talking two miles down. This is not near your drinking water and only when there is a nice firm cap rock above it, something to really help hold it in. Think like how oil and gas sat down in these very deep reservoirs for millions of years. Now we’re looking at doing this essentially for CO2. So this is an example here where you’re looking at how far down a lake and then an aquifer could go. And then far much further you’re looking at porous rock. I have an example of one here with me. You’re welcome to touch it later. This is from a carbon safe site in Wyoming, and you can see that the CO2 essentially ends up filling the pores, the little teeny tiny empty spaces in the rock at the bottom.

Current projects globally have capacity to store about 40 million tons of CO2, I’m sorry to say, but we need a hundred billion tons of CO2 by 2060 to reach even just two degrees Celsius, not 1.5. And I just need to make this very clear when we’re beginning this panel is that this panel here is to talk about carbon dioxide removal, not carbon capture and storage. And so level setting, really quick carbon capture and storage is different than carbon dioxide removal. CCS is capturing the CO2 before it can go into the air. In the picture here you kind of see this visualized as a sponge cleaning up from a smokestack. So keeping it from going out and carbon dioxide removal is actually sucking it out of the air, right? So essentially cleaning up the mess that has already been made. So just want to be really clear with everybody that that’s what this panel here is focused on, taking it out of the air.

So let’s say that we succeed, let’s say that we all do this right? We all do everything that the IEA said, all the countries, including the United States, have to reach net zero. This is a common term that a lot of people hear about. And net zero at this point implies some amount of carbon removal. Here you’re looking at blue, a very aggressive emissions reduction. That’s the path we need to be following the yellow that is the carbon dioxide removal piece of it because there’s going to be a little bit of emissions that are really hard and I want everybody to be up for that challenge. But we also need carbon dioxide removal and we need it to happen in a way that’s realistic, that it actually will scale to the scale that we need. So nationally right here, we’ve been looking really at the globe nationally, what do we need for net zero?

So this is a recent report, the long-term strategy of the United States. And you can see the first many cool colored boxes are really focused on that deep, deep decarbonization that swift deep decarbonization. But then looking here, you’re looking at these warmer colors. That’s land sinks and CO2 removal technologies. So I’m going to be referring to these as ecological carbon dioxide removal and geological carbon dioxide removal. Sometimes they’re referred to though as nature-based solutions and industrial solutions. The verbiage that you use is up to you. But the moral of the story is that carbon dioxide removal is needed for the final 10 to 20%. In the case of the United States. This leaves us with about a billion tons of CO2 to be removed. Can we remove 1 billion tons? Do we even have that capacity? Can we do it as a nation? Well, that is what I have been working on with a very large team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in our recently published Roads to Removal report.

And in this report, the answer is yes, we can. Different regions have different ways that they are more likely to have the capacity to do so, but we can specifically, if we’re going to look at how we can here, you have millions of tons of CO2 per year. So you’re looking at zero to that 1 billion ton number. And then on the Y axis, you’re looking at the cost, right? So little tiny bars is cheaper, taller bar is more expensive. So we have the ecological solutions there, forest management and soils, please remember, this is for the entire United States. And then in the middle of this purple is essentially leveraging biomass, which already captured the CO2 for us just through photosynthesis from living and then converting it and taking that carbon dioxide and putting it way far away where it will not interact at the atmosphere anymore.

And then essentially we have direct air capture. So this is, think of this as your more expensive option that has to take over when you’ve exhausted the more affordable ones. And so this is literally sucking air through taking the CO2 out of that air and then locking it away. So that is direct air capture. So we have kind of a few different end members here in terms of going from more of the nature to more of the engineered approaches. It’s going to cost about 130 billion per year, which sounds like a ton and it is, but it is at least less than 0.5% of the US GDP. Now, I did promise that we would get to California. So we’ve already level set it now for the globe, the nation, and now we’re at California. California has targeted 125 million tons of CO2 removal per year, once again, at least at l, l and L.

In this recently published report from 2020 getting to neutral, we once again looked at forests, agriculture, biomass, and direct air capture. The answer is yes, California can also meet its dioxide removal goals. You’re looking at about $65 per ton for reference. This is a little bit more than half the price of sand here. We’ve got nature-based solutions. Again, coming in right there is the most affordable immediate option that we could do today. Then we have biomass for carbon removal. They’re in the middle taking up a lion’s share, and then we have director capture coming in to clean up all the rest that we couldn’t do with the others. And this is going to take less than $10 billion, which is about 0.4% of California’s GDP.

So the roads to removal report, we really focused in road to removal and getting to neutral on these four colored things, right? So you’ve already heard about them, forest soils, biomass and direct air capture. I don’t want you to think that we are limited to only these. This is what we had data available for at the county resolution that we needed when we began these reports. However, there’s a lot of people very interested in things like biochar, enhanced weathering coastal and wetland restoration, blue carbon management, ocean alkalinity enhancement and ocean fertilization. There’s several different people looking into other methods, and I’m not here to say that those methods aren’t viable. I’m just saying that these are the ones that I focused on, but it’s an all approach. Okay, whatever you want to do, please, I welcome it. I’m looking forward to not being as nervous at night.

So in summary, state of the science we need to decarbonize now. We also need to start removing CO2. California can accomplish this. About 20% of the carbon dioxide removal needs can be met with ecological CO2 removal, and about 80% is going to be geologic carbon storage or CO2 removal Californians. I’m originally from Hawaii. I’m not going to tell you what to do because I don’t feel like I get to lay claim to this great state, but this is what the targets that California has set, this is what California can do. Whatever we don’t do, we’re essentially saying to other states, perhaps you could take over some of what we didn’t do. Thank you.

Ellie Cohen (00:11:07):
Thank you.

So please write down any questions that you have. If you have paper and a pen or on your phone, try to remember and then we’ll do a whole q and a with all of them together. So now I’m really pleased to introduce Dan Russ, who is senior attorney at the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment. Dan was an educator for nine years, including as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, a special education teacher and a head start center coordinator informed by their experiences with vulnerable communities. They embarked on a career in environmental law. Dan interned with Environmental Defense Funds, US Clean Air Team. They also worked with the nonprofit and local high school students to generate a no oil and gas leasing alternative resource management plan for federal land in Colorado. Very cool. I had to mention that because I think that’s really cool. And Dan played a lead role in helping the state to codify guardrails for carbon capture and storage. At least made a huge start on it, but he played a really key lead role. They did. Thank you, Dan.

Dan Ress (00:12:12):
Thank you. Let’s

Ellie Cohen (00:12:13):
Go ahead.

Dan Ress (00:12:19):
Before we get started, I just want to, on a personal note, in my personal capacity, just say that I stand here today in solidarity with the Palestinian people. I recognize that our struggle is a shared struggle and my liberation is bound up in theirs. As an American Jew, I feel more imperative to join the chorus of voices calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to apartheid, and I’ll jump into it. So talking about CDRs focused on the environmental justice, climate justice side here, looking at the risks, the harms and the opportunities.

So I know Kim already covered what is CDR? And y’all have probably came in with some understanding, but I think the details matter a lot and my framing is a little different and I think EJ maybe has a little different perspective on what this is. So we agree it is removing carbon from the atmosphere. You’ll hear that phrase, bikers biomass with carbon removal and storage. We don’t really use that term because that assumes that it is removing carbon. We do not agree with that premise. From our perspective, Becks is not CDR. It is exceptionally expensive and polluting. And to call it CDR, you have to make a whole bunch of assumptions that aren’t born out in the real world. So one thing that is CDR as healthy soils, especially composting, which a lot of folks don’t include, but we think is a very important part of the CDR puzzle, smokestack CCS generally isn’t CDR as Kim mentioned. And to be very clear, the IPCC does not recommend smokestack CCS. That’s often repeated, but it is not true. It’s included in the modeling, but it’s not recommended at any point.

So all CDR, no matter what type you’re doing, has a few risks. There’s this moral hazard or mitigation deterrence. The idea there is that you could be doing more to reduce your emissions and instead you’re doing CDR and there’s a lot of risk from that. There’s so much funding going into this that isn’t funding going into other things that have much more impact on climate actually, especially how much you’re buying per dollar. There’s also this opportunity cost. These are generally so expensive. So if you are spending all this money on one thing, you can’t spend it on another thing. If you’re using all of your power for one thing, you can’t use it for another thing. How are we getting here? I think there’s a lot of skepticism that I share that direct air capture and CCS can actually scale up. It’s possible that I’m wrong, but there’s no signs that they will.

A lot of climate technologies have benefited from economies of scale, looking at solar panels, wind, they’re getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper as we go. There haven’t been any signs. CCS has been around for decades and it hasn’t gotten any cheaper. So why would it start now? Now I will say healthy soils is very cheap. We’re talking about like $15 a ton compared to that 65 or much higher for direct air capture, right? So sorry for the text heavy slides. I wanted you all to be able to walk away with these slides as a resource. But so in terms of opportunities, I think we need to look for real co-benefits. Now, one that often is not is jobs. We hear that a lot and the jobs are very important. ej, we care a lot about economies in our communities, but they’re limited in most engineered capture and storage projects.

If you look at how much money we’re spending, they’re not an efficient jobs program. And furthermore, most of that money goes to investors who are not part of the community, who aren’t workers there and not to the people who need the money. So healthy soils as by contrast, is a place where there’s so many co-benefits. We don’t need as much fertilizer when we’re doing these programs. We don’t need as many pesticides. We can use less irrigation water. We have increased water retention in our soils, relatedly and our soil is more sustainable in California. We have the most agriculture in the nation by a lot, and our soil is going to die soon. We have a very unsustainable system of agriculture and it cannot maintain. It’s in the status quo. The same thing happened as you move west across the us you can track productive ag and then it’s demise because of our unsustainable practices. This is a way around that. This is a way to extend our soil’s lifetime.

So let’s talk specifically about Becks and direct air capture. Becks again, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, also referred to as bikers, but not by me. The main takeaway here is that these have a tendency to increase local air and water pollution. That is especially true for Becks. So in California we have a bunch of Becks proposed in the state and projects that are starting to get going and into permitting and so on. And most of them are firing up old facilities that when they were running were among the most polluting point sources in the nation’s worst air basin. And now we want to bring them back up where I live, the San Joaquin Valley, that air district has never met a single national ambient air quality standard for PM 2.5, find particulate matter ever. Not even the original 1997 standard. And now we’re going to bring in these new point sources of pollution that when they were running were the worst point sources, the nation in the region. And you’ll hear, well, it’s better than open ag burning, which is true in a lot of ways, but it concentrates the harm into certain communities instead of having it dispersed and open. Ag burning is being made illegal, so it’s not a good status quo to compare to.

There’s also potential for disasters, especially pipelines. So I have two pictures there. The first one is the Delano site, which is where I live. That is one that they want to refire an old biomass facility. Below that is the pipeline in Satar, Mississippi, that Missouri, Mississippi. Missouri a mess. Mississippi, thank you. Sorry. So tar Mississippi that ruptured. Luckily it was a tiny, tiny town and no one was killed, but a population center that could have been a lot, lot worse. And there’s a real risk with these pipelines. There’s currently a moratorium in California carbon pipelines, but that’s a really important bit of policy. Until we get the protections right for these pipelines, that moratorium is essential. I don’t think I can emphasize enough. I wake up in the middle of the night worried about these pipelines and we have a moratorium in place. I know it’s under threat at all times because there’s a lot of money in this, whether or not it’s a good idea.

So some more risks and harms here. Storage leaks have a tendency to ruin the water supply. There’s a few things here you’ll hear while it turns into rock after a few years, that’s true in certain rock formations, but not Californias in California as we expect it to stick around for years and years. And there’s this idea that it will just stay underground where we expect it to. I’m not convinced of that. I don’t think there’s much research to support that. Other research is done by the oil and gas industry and the people they paid to do research at public institutions and so on. I don’t think anyone has ever really looked at what if it leaks somewhere else that we’re not looking at. I think there’s a lot of likelihood for that. In fact, in Kern County where a lot of these projects are proposed, we have a hundred thousand holes in the ground from oil and gas extraction, perforating, the exact same storage formation that we’re expecting to hold this stuff and it’s going to stay in a gaseous state potentially for centuries.

So I think we need to be really concerned about what happens when all these sites start leaking. That includes the active and idle sites. Now it includes some of the sites that have been sealed up under the current permitting regime. The current regulations, which are pretty good, but are looking at like a hundred year permanence, maybe not like a thousand year. And then it also includes the wells that were sealed up before, current regulations, many of which aren’t on any map anywhere. No one knows where they are. They could be underground, they could be under my house. There’d be no way of knowing, and we are just hoping that they don’t bubble up as we increase pressure with carbon dioxide. I’m getting a two minute warning, I’ll go quick. It can also exacerbate climate change because we’re using this carbon for enhanced oil recovery in most of the state.

California policy does subsidize the use of captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery. Even though it’s illegal in the state. Becks is the shell game with unrealistic assumptions I already mentioned. And unless we do director capture with solar and wind with storage, it’s really most likely net positive. So this isn’t actually a good idea unless you do it a certain way. And that’s for gone. And other A has mentioned we have a whole platform of protections needed for director capture and Becks and other CCS. So this platform I have linked in the slides. I’ll go through a few quickly and see how much we get through and the rest of y’all can look through, but we don’t want to see this increasing local air and water pollution. We want to see strong setbacks. So this isn’t happening in neighborhoods. It needs to be powered by excess, clean and renewable energy.

We need strong financial assurances, not counting on a company to still be here in 500 years. We need to continuously reevaluate and look at the costs of these projects and potential harms. We need really strong government process. We can’t let this be used as offsets where we drag our heels on other stuff. We need additionality. These are actual new reductions. We need PLU or pays not from consumers, increasing utility rates, gas prices. We need informed consent and good process. We need really strong studies to make sure we’re doing the right way. We need stable geology, we need permanence. We need proper site characterization, monitoring, reporting, and verification, which I think frequent will probably talk about a little bit more. And we need to certify that it’s unlikely to hurt groundwater. We need this moratorium. We need the pipelines to be safe. That’s it. Thank you.

Ellie Cohen (00:22:55):
Thank you so much Dan. And I do believe that all the slides today will be available. Is that correct, Bonnie? Wherever you are, yes. Okay, great. Vikram, hello. It’s your turn. It’s okay. Vikram ar Vikram is head of global public policy at Heirloom Carbon, a direct air capture company working to remove billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere using limestone. Vikram was formerly a senior policy advisor in the Obama White House National Economic Council. He served as deputy director in the national A CLU political advocacy department. Vikram was also a communication advisor to now Senator Ed Markey, but when he was a congressman, he also served as head of policy at Postmates slash Uber. And Vikram is engaged on several in San Francisco where he lives. So welcome Vikram. Thank

Alright. First let me just say these are, but among Dr. Mayfield and Ellie and Dan, there are some of the most esteemed voices in this sector that I personally really respect. So even if there are points of disagreement, I just wanted to say it’s a pleasure to be up with all of you all today.

I just wanted to thank Dr. Mayfield for the setting that was laid out. Just to recast it one more time. And Ellie enforced this too. I just want to be perfectly clear about the science and there were some stats offered, but we should just double down on that science really quickly because we’re far too long. Too many of our neighboring states have tried to push our country into ignoring that science. The first is we’ve put 2.5 trillion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1850 half of that in the last 30 years. That’s one of the black lines that was laid out in Dr. Mayfield’s slides. For even us getting to the most aggressive emissions reductions posture, we’ll need at least six to 10 tons per year of carbon to be removed to hit the global warming target of 1.5 degrees. So even if we stop all of our emissions tomorrow, let’s just hypothetically game that out.

Even if we did that, it would not cool the world back down. It would actually just stop the planet from getting warmer. So unaided global cooling will actually take thousands of years for those lingering greenhouse gas emissions to dissipate. And that’s not Vikram Meyer saying it. That’s not a Silicon Valley corporation saying it. This is well papered National Lab Research, United Nations IPCC science. And that is really, really an important premise to start because we at heirloom, and I’m going to tell you a little bit about our technology and a little bit about guardrails for responsibly doing it. We do not disagree that we need emissions reductions today. We need it in mass and we need it frankly at the level that Dan had thoughtfully laid out. But we also know we need, the science suggests we need to do something with the existing CO2 in the air.

So I’d love to talk to you a little bit about how we define that. What is a good quality carbon removal? I’d love to talk to you about responsible standards for elevating it so we have a race to the top and not a race to the bottom where carbon capture companies like ExxonMobil get to capo two at the well and then sell it on TV as low carbon and good for the planet. And I want to talk to you about something that a representative of CVAC said earlier today, which was that the communities that we build have the right to say no and no to a certain approach or technical pathway. But also, and if you do it, what are the standards and responsibilities? I think we need to zoom in on that if we’re actually going to continue to be a leader that leads the pathway on this. So that’s my little roadmap for you. You might be able to tell ’em a high school debate nerd, so I needed to lay out those.

Alright, so how does heirloom define high quality removal? Some of these parameters we’ll dig in through throughout this, but first it needs to be additional. We heard Dan say this to make sure that we’re moving more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it takes to power the facility. It needs to be scalable, minimal land costs very fast deployment. This can’t take a long time and I know that Dan laid out that it could be expensive. We’ve got a path to reduce the cost curve on that through our technology. I’m going to tell you more about that. It has to be safe unequivocally. That is true and we need to share. Corporations need to share its data with local communities about that safety and not be the arbiters of whether it’s safe or not, but have third party citizen scientists weigh in on that safety. It needs to be verifiable.

When we say we’re removing CO2, we have to be precise about that. As Dr. Mayfield laid out, there’s a lot of different technical pathways to do this and I share her belief we should encourage more r and d. We are California, we are the United States. We are the ones that pass the inflation reduction act and the largest infrastructure spending in green technology. We can do this, but if we’re going to promote other methods and other pathways, we have to make sure that those pathways can durably and verifiably tell you how much CO2 is being removed from the atmosphere because for far too long that’s been murky. It also needs to be permanent. We need to ensure that both the durability and the permanence of what we’re claiming we’re saying not only is measured and verified, but it can actually do what we’re claiming it can do. It also needs to be net negative and it needs to be community centered. That’s our definition of high quality carbon removal. And I want to be very clear, if you’ve heard another definition from an oil and gas company, if you’ve heard another definition from a low measurement and reporting and verified kind of company, hold them to account any future legislation. Hold us to account. We should be working to codify these standards, not simply saying, well, it hasn’t worked in the past, so therefore those standards can’t work in the future.

I also just want to talk a little bit more about how heirloom works. Now, heirloom is not science fiction or science future about an hour away in Tracy, California in the Central Valley home to my cherished partner. We have a facility that’s running right now and it has the capture capacity of removing up to 1000 tons of CO2 per year. And all of those values that I told you about that should inform a race to the top. I’m going to tell you how we’re baking that into the facility right now about how it’s up and running. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the technology. Direct air captures often as expensive that it’s nascent in terms of the supply chain, that there are toxic byproducts, valid arguments that have existed out in the ether. Mineralization is a different approach that we see in examples like enhanced rock weathering have had challenges, maybe a very unclear MRV.

And if that acronym means nothing to you, I want you to sear it into your brain and tell every lawmaker you talk to in the future about this. Because if there’s unclear MRV and we need to get to net zero, we should really be facilitating the growth of the industries that have certain monitoring, reporting and verification. And we see challenges in that on the mineralization side. And then sometimes there’s large land footprints and we want to be mindful about the communities that we’re building in and what we’re asking of them. So what heirloom does is blend the best of both worlds where we feel that we’re permanent, durable, additional, safe and verifiable. And how that works is actually a process that’s rooted in limestone’s natural ability to bind with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So what we do is that we’re able to use the process of limestone, which let’s go back to high school chemistry days and I was a terrible chemistry student, but even I’m able to understand the simplicity of this limestone is made out of a chemical compound ca CO three calcium carbonate, and that is made up of carbon dioxide and calcium oxide.

So what we are able to do is actually take a process that was based on PhD research published out of UPenn and Columbia just during the pandemic at 2020 and kickstart a process where why we remove a molecule of that carbon from that limestone. And in that high school chemistry class, what would that teacher tell you that we need to rebalance that chemical equation and put that carbon that we took out or that CO2 we took out back into it. And that’s exactly how our process works. What we do is, sorry, this is happening in Tracy, California right now. We remove a molecule of carbon from the actual limestone. We’re able to spread that out onto large trays. The trays have gotten a little bigger, but when we’ve started this out and tested it, it started with baking tray put cookies on at home. And then when we kickstart that process because it naturally wants to pull the carbon dioxide back in, it just starts binding to atmospheric CO2 that’s in the air around it.

If I ran that process and spread out that limestone right here on that podium, the same process would happen. And the beauty of this technology is that it’s not only directly absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere direct air capture, but it is not relying on a source of emissions to do so, which allows us to not only turn the page on shitty practices from CCS past, but it also means that we can locate these facilities all over places where the conditions are good and the land is available, which means right close to some of the geological storage wellheads. That’s really important because it minimizes our reliance on pipelines. Now we’re currently storing this in concrete in California, and this is the first commercial direct air capture facility as we speak. That is running right now. But I also just want to talk a little bit about what it means to responsibly do this.

We believe that in order to have high road carbon removal, we need to follow certain principles, several of which Dan laid out. The first is we have to make sure that it’s not used for enhanced oil recovery. We are not taking any money or capital from oil and gas companies. And I think we can codify that into statute number two. We have to be very clear about the monitoring, the reporting and the verification. And we should share data with communities not just on particulate matter release and its impact on air and water quality, but also in terms of any data that we’re collecting that we can put back into the community. Next, we need to make sure we build two types of CBAs. One, working with labor unions to ensure that we’re raising the standard and the bar on workers’ rights and wages and benefits.

The second, a community benefits agreement where we work very closely with communities to co-design benefits that invest in past harms that have impacted those communities. Next, if you build on native or tribal land, there should be a renue sharing agreement with those indigenous populations. And finally, we should make sure that the energy that we’re using is based on renewables. So we hit that additional component and that’s really important to us. That’s what we’re doing right now in partnership with Ava Energy locally. And what this is doing is that right now, big blue chip companies, Microsoft, JP Morgan, Amazon, they’re buying from us. But unless we actually have any additional intervention from the government, all of these buyers, they’re not going to sustain what Dr. Mayfield put out loud. So what we need to do is encourage the state of California to actually invest in compliance regimes that force polluters to pay their fair share and buy removals, not offsets, not the right to pollute more removals. And we need the state of California to also engage in direct procurement of CDR because it is after all one of the biggest polluters in the state. That’s how we build a high road to carbon removal. And frankly, that’s how I think we do dac, right and meet the targets that were laid out in the science. Thank you.

Ellie Cohen (00:35:00):
Thank you.

Well, very interesting. I have some questions and I’d like to hear some very, wait one second. I actually would like to ask each of you first, you’re each experts and come from very different perspectives. I’d like to ask each of you what your response is to the other two on the panel. So I give you a couple minutes each to really say what you think they were saying that you agree with or you completely disagree with and why. And I know that two minutes isn’t enough time, but maybe a couple highlights. So Dr. Mayfield, would you like to go first?

Kimberley Mayfield (00:35:37):
Yeah. Okay. Microphone’s still on. I feel like my honest response is yes and to both of my colleagues here. Yeah, because I definitely echo exactly what Dan said about important guardrails when it comes to projects. You cannot worsen things and expect that to be the right path forward. That’s just not an option for me personally. But I don’t think that that’s what the science shows that we need to do because we’ve got a lot of capacity. I only showed you guys up to a billion where the federal government told us to stop counting, but I mean we’ve got way more than that too. We have options. And then in response to Vikram’s presentation, I’ve actually personally toured their facility and seen it and it is very close to where I live. I think that it is just, I was very impressed by their above and beyond approach. And for the state of California it’s impressive because California has the opportunity to set a very high standard. Yeah, that’s all I’m going to say. Thank you. That’s very helpful. Thank you. Dan. Please.

Dan Ress (00:36:56):
I think really appreciate both presentations and definitely both experts in what they do. As I mentioned, we disagree with calling Beck Spikers and the notion that it is carbon negative ever. In theory it could be, but it never has been and I think it’s unlikely to become, so that’d be my main disagreement with Dr. Mayfield. And then I’m not sure that I disagree with anything Vikram said. I think we maybe just have a different orientation around what are the key levers in terms of climate is director capture where we should be throwing billions and billions of dollars. I’m a little skeptical. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that this is the path forward. We’re not opposed to director capture. We just think it’s something of a boondoggle, maybe not the best use of money. And it needs all these really strong community protections which are absolutely not in place right now. We are opposed very much so to Becks, however. So just to be clear about that and yeah,

Kimberley Mayfield (00:37:56):
Thank you Dan.

Vikrum Aiyer (00:38:01):
Yeah, I see a lot of alignment actually. I think that we’re all aligned that we need to scale technologies that will get there and that we do it with these guardrails. It needs to be real, it needs to be verifiable. I guess my two macro reactions, one is there is a very expensive dynamic to direct air capture. There’s no doubt about that. And I think there’s a reason why the Biden administration enacted provisions to pay 180 bucks a ton to completely capture and store CO2. But already, I can say as just one company, we’ve seen massive efficiency gains in our technology from lab scale to our first commercial pilot. And while already going to be bending down that cost curve for facilities two and three and four, which we already have line of sight into. So I do think that this is going to get cheaper faster.

But the second takeaway, and this is where I’d love to work with anyone in this room, including Dan, is that the only way that we’re able to do that is by having more capital flow into the system. And right now a little bit money from i a and the IRA from the feds, which heaven forbid a Trump administration could stall, get stalled, and a little bit of money from the CEC is not sufficient to get to the urgency of what we need right now. And I think there’s really important enabling legislation out there like Senator Becker’s, SB 3 0 8 and others that attempt to contemplate, okay, how do we do this? What is good quality CDR? And I think we need to move from these panel room conversations to legislative amendment conversations about how we actually codify that in statute because there’s a lot that Dan laid out as guardrails that we agree with as industry.

Ellie Cohen (00:39:36):
Thank you. Very thoughtful answers. Thanks everybody. So let’s open it up please.

Speaker 7 (00:39:41):
Yeah, I’d like to, this is the representative over here.

Ellie Cohen (00:39:44):
Can you just say your name and what organization you’re from if you’re from an organization?

Speaker 7 (00:39:49):
My name is Marsha and I’m with three 50 Bay Area Action and three 50 Contra Costa County. I’d like to know the track record of Heirloom so far and how much you’ve been able to remove and the costs that it took to remove that and how you monitor any leakage back into the air and what makes you think that you’re going to find some economies of scale down the road?

Vikrum Aiyer (00:40:15):
Very good question. I’ll start in order. Track record, first facility, first commercial facility. It’s actually the United States’ first ever fully commercial facility, which means that we’re the first to both capture the CO2 permanently, store it in concrete as I mentioned earlier, and then sell each of those credits. So right now our track record is just buttressed by the fact that we have something up and running and we have a lot of household brand names like Microsoft, Stripe, Shopify, that have purchased those records or sorry, purchase those removal credits. Number two, on the economies of scale, we feel that because we just need to crush up more limestone and put it on more trays, that’s how we get from just a few thousand tons of CO2 per year to many, many more. So our future facilities that we’re planning will quickly go from 1000 tons, which we’re doing out here in Tracy of CO2 pull down per year to 50,000 tons and a hundred thousand tons. And all we need to do is build up. And so what that allows us to do is have very limited land footprint, and as long as we’re able to access renewable energy, we can scale pretty quickly. And in just three years we’ve become the first in the country to be able to claim that. So I think we’re pretty confident. There was one other aspect that you asked. I think it was on pricing.

Speaker 7 (00:41:31):
Well, I think you’ve sort of answered pricing, but also leakage.

Vikrum Aiyer (00:41:34):
Leakage. Great question, sorry. But for missing that, I think what Dan mentions on safety is really important. I think that the geology of storage and the geological formations is pretty well understood and has been understood for 40 years. But where the actual concern often comes is on the pipeline deployment. And so in California, heirloom doesn’t use any pipelines. We firmly believe and have been working with Congress on F imsa, reauthorizations specifically the PIPES Act, which mandates that Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the DOT through F IMSA established stronger safety standards. And until that happens, I think Dan’s right. It’s a nerve wracking component for California to embrace. What I do think is helpful and more scalable for heirloom is because we’re not having to locate these facilities next to a pollution source. We can put them right next to a well or another storage site so we can shrink the overall need for pipelines. So leakage hasn’t been a concern yet, God willing. But I do think it’s something that we need to pay attention to. And you can’t just take my word for it. We need to release some of this data publicly and you need to review it yourself.

Ellie Cohen (00:42:39):
Thank you. Other questions? Yes.

Speaker 8 (00:42:43):
Three 50 also. Three 50 Sacramento. Katie McCannon. I am curious because you’re a young company, it’s kind of easy for you to say, hold you accountable. We’re not going to take oil money. But you also said we want to codify into statutes, so what’s stopping you?

Speaker 5 (00:43:00):
Great question. I think just sufficient votes in the assembly and the Senate right now. We had, and I don’t mean that too facetiously, right? These are relatively what’s different about heirloom and there are other companies in this room who are doing this type of technology and are thriving. I don’t want to name check them and have them yell at me, but they exist throughout California and a lot of them are investing in or have created massive breakthroughs in the tech. It is truly a step function of being able to confirm how much you’re doing and to do it without a point source of emission. But what’s new, also new in addition to the tech, is that the political power is young, right? This is a relatively young industry, and I think it’s not lost on us that we came in just, or certainly I came in starting to advocate for stronger protections shortly after the massive news of climate package was signed for 54 billion or so, of which Dan and several others in this room established a communicated very strong guardrails.

I think it is time, and I say this with all due respect to go from what I think it was CVAC said this morning, which was say your and right, your and is clearly papered on the record. And then let’s go. Sorry. Sorry, say your no if you don’t want this deployment, that’s papered on the record, but how do we go to the and do go to the enumeration of the specific standards that you want in legislation? And going back to SB 3 0 8, we had a really strong performance in the Senate EQ and Senate Appropriations Committee last session that tried to enable more carbon with certain guardrails in there. It stalled in the assembly. And I think right now what we’re trying to do is educate more members about it, but I think we need to break through the log jam of being hard line. Don’t take the meeting and educate because there’s an environmental justice concern from one position versus go all in and embrace all of the oil and gas interest in the state. I think there’s a more balanced way to get there, and I’m really grateful for members like Senator Becker and his team, but I think it’s going to take more than just one company to do that. And hopefully we can all do that together.

Ellie Cohen (00:45:03):
Thank you. Yes. Somebody had their hand raised over there, please.

Speaker 8 (00:45:08):
I’m Linda Brown. I’m both Napa Planet now, which is a three 50 group, but also my company SCS Global Services is a 40 year company involved with certification, third party certification and standards development. And I was very curious and appreciated your outlining enumerating more than one person really bringing up the topics of what is responsible, what’s involved in responsibility. But I was curious if the legislature is not there yet. Another vehicle is multi-stakeholder standard setting, which involves government as well as stakeholders, as well as academia, as well as other groups. And is there a current standards effort underway within your industry?

Dan Ress (00:45:58):
So under SB 9 0 5, which is a 22 20 22 bill from Senator Kabira that we negotiated very heavily, the California Air Resources Board is required to do a rulemaking to establish a series of protections, including that operators must minimize the maximum extent technologically feasible, all colu emissions for any carbon capture, carbon removal or storage project. That said, I haven’t seen anything about that moving. We keep asking, there’s no signs that it’s happening, but that should be kind of what you’re talking about. It should be a really rich stakeholder process to develop that rulemaking and make sure that environmental justice concerns are really fully accounted for. But also understanding that we aren’t the only ones at the table, and I would never pretend that I know very much so that we are not. So CARB has a job to balance all of those concerns and try and make this program the best it can be for climate and for communities. I would love to see CARB actually start doing that.

Ellie Cohen (00:47:02):
Thank you. Dan, did you want to respond also or? Okay. Can add to that question? Yeah, go ahead please.

Speaker 8 (00:47:10):
Ilanka with Oil and Gas Action Network. And because 9 0 5 is specifically about pipelines, right? No. Okay. So it is about way more than that.

Dan Ress (00:47:20):
Okay. Yeah, pipelines is one small part of it. The pipeline moratorium came through that negotiation as well.

Speaker 8 (00:47:26):
Okay, thank you.

Ellie Cohen (00:47:27):
Yeah. So yeah, please,

Speaker 8 (00:47:30):
On a slightly related note, I’m curious if you can talk more about concerns or even best practices with the storage. I know it seems like a really efficient method, but thinking long term, are there any concerns that you have about that?

Dan Ress (00:47:46):
So the question was about concerns from storage, carbon storage from carbon storage. And I’ll say yes, I think we have some very serious concerns. Vira mentioned that this has been well studied, but it’s been well studied by the oil and gas industry and by universities that they’ve paid to study it. But they’re asking very specific questions. So if you look at, there’s two very heavily studied carbon storage projects in Norway called Sleep Near and svi. And if you look at those, I think they’re really good indications of both how this can be done. Well, they haven’t had big leaks, but how each project is unique and how everything that can go wrong will go wrong. They’ve had to adapt so much, they’ve had to do so much, they’ve been so very carefully monitored and it’s gone very counterintuitively and different from each of them, even though in the same basic area. And so there’s a whole bunch of leak pathways that can be followed. One of my slides has a graphic from U-S-C-P-A, so I would say that while this has been studied, it hasn’t been studied the right way. And there are some very serious concerns and we need to make sure we’re doing this in the right place in the right way. And I am definitely not convinced by the science so far personally.

Kimberley Mayfield (00:49:01):
Thank you. Yes, sir. Oh, do you mind if I answer that as well? Yes, please. I’m sorry. Yeah, so I’ve worked with two people that worked on the EPA Class six permitting, and I have the fortunate opportunity to be able to think about geologic carbon storage every single day at work. Not everybody has that incredibly fortunate opportunity, and I absolutely recognize that. And so it puts me in a great place of privilege to understand different projects in different places around the world, such as the North C one, such as the DECAT project here in the United States. I absolutely agree with what Dan said, that in the end, you can have so many incredible guardrails and you need that responsible. You need a responsible engineer. Nobody wants hir a hat bid again, nobody wants that. And if anybody wants that, that’s not who you want responsible and in charge of things.

And when it comes to geologic carbon storage, I speak for myself personally in saying that I would actually live on top of somebody storing CO2 under my feet. It is if done in the correct reservoirs where there are not punctures within your area of review, exactly like Dan mentioned, it can be done safely and durably. And there are examples in different rock types with different engineers and different project developers. And so once again, it’s that difference between things that can absolutely be done and done safely, and you’re just putting up those guardrails to make sure that the people in charge of them are doing them safely.

Ellie Cohen (00:50:59):
Very good. Yes, please. So I have to say we’re almost done. It’s almost two 30, and this is such an incredible conversation. So I want to go against my staff and say we’re going to meet for another half hour, but I would get in trouble. So we’re going to take one more question and I apologize for everybody else. And gentlemen in the back there, please

Speaker 9 (00:51:21):
Clean energy for a community choice aggregator for county annual funds. I was kind of curious thinking about the economics of this and the abatement curves, and it sounds like right now the low hanging fruit is decarbonization of emissions getting S and so forth, and those come in at lower per ton costs, but there’s a certain pace for that, right? We can’t do it overnight. So I’m kind of curious, thinking about the timing of when do you see the cost per ton for direct air capture starting to be the lowest cost abatement? And also how do you envision, how are we going to pay for this? Is this a public, well, I mean it could theoretically be public budget items in federal budget, just like the public pay for it. Or is it some way to monetize this for heirloom? What do you think those futures look like both in terms of when it’s going to pencil out and

Ellie Cohen (00:52:22):
So you have to keep it brief? Sorry, that’s a big question.

Vikrum Aiyer (00:52:26):
Big question, but top line answer, we see a line of sight to about $150 per ton to $200 per ton by 20 28, 20 29. That is based off of a few things. It is expensive for us to have these huge capital expenditures to start. Think about the first iPhone. The first iPhone that wasn’t in your pocket, wasn’t the one that they shipped back to Cupertino. There were some bells and whistles. And so we are certainly right now, attaching bells and whistles unique, the facility type to the region based off of community feedback. We think by facility three or four will be much more at a steady state. And not only will the capital expenditures go down, but there’ll be a lot more buying. And I’ll just end by this. To honor Ellie’s timeline here, there’s only one category of purchasers in the United States that are buying carbon removals right now.

We need two more. Right now it’s a lot of tech companies that want to do good, right? It’s Microsoft, it’s Google. They’re trying to draw down the user emissions reduction, sorry. They’re trying to use carbon removals to count down their overall footprint. But if we’re really going to get to gigaton scale, we need the government to stand up to new customer categories. The first is a compliance-based market where places like California, through the legislation I mentioned earlier, as well as Europe, are looking about how polluters can pay their fair share and have to purchase removals. And this is very different than allowances. And then allowances are 39, 40 bucks a ton, or sorry, 40 bucks in California to allow you to pollute more. That’s not what we’re talking about. We need a new category and we think California can lead that way. And the other category is government directly procuring the carbon removal Uncle Sam’s among the biggest polluter with our Pentagon and other holdings.

And right now the US Department of Energy is toying with about a 35 million program of, Hey, what if we buy from some of these companies? That’s how we get the cost down. But I’ll end with this. The cost being high is not the worst thing in the world right now for the emitters in the world. If we pass certain legislation, if the cost is prohibitive and we mandate that removals need to be purchased, knowing that the bend down won’t only phase in a few years down the road, that is going to be one more carrot and stick function to bend down their desire to emit more. But if we allow allowances these shitty low MRV cap and trade credits to permeate the market and be the only way California moves forward, then they’re going to continue trading on that 39 to $40 offset market. We have a chance to change that, but let’s recognize what the true cost of carbon removal really is and work to bend it down.

Ellie Cohen (00:55:05):
Thank you. So thank you re Thank you, Dan. Thank you, Kim. This is excellent. I hope that one day in the not too distant future that perhaps The Climate Center could host all three of you in a webinar and we can ask a lot more questions. Thank you all so much.