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In a pioneering move to clean up climate pollution, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a capital budget that allocates funding for greenhouse gas removal (GGR). This marks the first time any US state has approved investment in technologies to actively remove the full range of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. 

Olympia, WA – May 23, 2023 – In a pioneering move to clean up climate pollution, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a capital budget that allocates funding for greenhouse gas removal (GGR). This marks the first time any US state has approved investment in technologies to actively remove the full range of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. 

In the Washington state capital budget signed on May 16, 2023, $12 million in grant funding within the state’s existing Clean Energy Fund will be made available for research, development, and demonstration projects that remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere and accelerate the state’s progress toward net negative greenhouse gas emissions. Companies, academic institutions and non-profits pursuing a broad range of innovative projects will have the opportunity to apply for these grants.

Greenhouse gas removal is a key element of the fight against climate change, alongside a strong prioritization on rapid emissions reduction and adaptation. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the deployment of greenhouse gas removals to counterbalance hard-to-abate residual emissions is unavoidable if net zero emissions are to be achieved. Public sector support is required to accelerate greenhouse gas removal, which must rapidly grow to a trillion-dollar scale industry this century.

The state’s Clean Energy Fund, overseen by the Department of Commerce, will administer the grant program. Projects across all stages of development will be considered, from early-stage research and pilot projects to dual-use projects that concurrently produce clean energy and other benefits. In addition to the critical climate benefits of supporting new techniques of greenhouse gas removal, this investment will also help to position Washington State in this emerging new industry.

In a historic first, Washington State defines greenhouse gases broadly, extending support beyond the removal of carbon dioxide to include methane and other harmful gases. Greenhouse gas removal describes a diverse set of methods and technologies that durably remove “legacy” emissions already in the atmosphere. GGR takes many different forms, ranging from land-based methods rooted in forests and agriculture; to engineered solutions on both land and sea. Unlike carbon capture and storage (CCS), which captures emissions from a point source, greenhouse gas removal directly reduces concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas removal is the only approach that can actually clean up legacy climate pollution and restore Earth’s climate to the pre-industrial conditions that enabled human civilization to flourish.

“Washington is well-positioned to lead the nation and the world in developing and growing greenhouse gas removal methods. We don’t have to choose between good jobs and protecting our climate – with programs like this, we can do both. The state is already home to dozens of new ventures in this area, and our natural and human resources make Washington a logical home for this fast-growing industry,” said State Senator Mark Mullet, who serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and leader of the Senate’s capital budget team. 

“This funding is a testament to Washington’s commitment to lead the fight against climate change. By becoming the first state to invest in greenhouse gas removal, we’re charting a path that we hope other states will soon follow,” said State House Majority Leader Joe Fitzgibbon, who has previously helped to pass an ambitious suite of legislation to fight climate change, including the Clean Fuel Standard, the Climate Commitment Act, and the Clean Energy Transformation Act. 

“I am excited about funding more research and development for greenhouse gas removal in Washington State, particularly in the Columbia River basalts located in my district,” said Senator Matt Boehnke, who serves on the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee and the Budget Committee. “Our state’s geology, agriculture, maritime and forestry present huge opportunities for growing this new industry.”

The measure was promoted by The OpenAir Collective and PacCLEAN.org.

“Washington State legislators have broken new ground by expanding the focus of carbon dioxide removal to include methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute significantly to climate changes,” said Chris Neidl, head of The OpenAir Collective.

For further information, please contact The OpenAir Collective:

  • Chris Neidl, +1 (917) 676-1153, openair@theopenaircollective.org

About The OpenAir Collective:

The OpenAir Collective is an all volunteer, global action network advancing carbon dioxide removal (CDR) through collaborative member-led policy advocacy, activist business development and citizen science initiatives. With 1,600 members across five continents, OpenAir brings together the skills, talents and energies of people from diverse professional and interest backgrounds to accelerate change in this essential new domain for climate action and restoration. The collective’s signature initiatives include the Four Corners Carbon Coalition; the Carbon Removal Challenge; This Is CDR, a weekly webinar series; and numerous legislative campaigns operating on the local, state, and national levels.

About PacCLEAN.org

PacCLEAN – the Pacific Coast Legacy Emissions Action Network – is an all volunteer coalition of greenhouse gas removal (GGR) advocates, including representatives from The OpenAIr Collective, AirMiners, The Foundation for Climate Restoration, Spark Climate Solutions, Global Ocean Health, and more. PacCLEAN develops and promotes public policies to accelerate the development of GGR capacity up and down the Pacific coast of North America.

About greenhouse gas removal (GGR):

Carbon dioxide removal is currently the most active area of investment in greenhouse gas removal. Learn more via the Department of Energy’s Fact Sheet or OpenAir’s Resources Page. Learn more about removing methane from our atmosphere at Spark Climate Solutions.

Christopher Neidl Co-Founder, OpenAir Chris Neidl is the co-founder of OpenAir. He comes to CDR with 15 years of international experience in the solar industry as a policy advocate, researcher, and business development specialist. Chris is an upstate New York native and long-time Brooklyn resident currently calling Puntarenas, Costa Rica home.