Climate Justice Alliance Decries Energy Department’s “Direct Air Capture” Announcement; Says Policy Allows Polluting Industries to Thrive at Expense of Real Solutions - Climate Justice Alliance

Frontline Communities Will Continue to Bear the Brunt of Environment Pollution Under New Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 11, 2023
CONTACT: Anya Silverman-Stoloff | [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC — This morning, the US Department of Energy announced it is awarding up to $1.2 billion to two projects on an untested technology to directly remove carbon dioxide from the air in what officials are calling the largest investment in “engineered carbon removal” in history.

In reaction to the announcement Marion Gee, co-executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance, a national grassroots alliance of more than 90 frontline and community groups, issued the following statement:

“Recently in a press conference, John Podesta, President Biden’s Senior Advisor stated. ‘Right now we’re in the midst of a climate crisis. One that demands that we build, build, build, clean energy. We can do it in a way that protects ecosystems and communities, creates good paying jobs, makes our nation more competitive and saves our planet. Here’s the bottom line. If we can’t build some new things in a few backyards, the climate crisis will destroy everyone’s backyards, along with the livelihoods, communities, wildlife and biodiversity that we all want to protect.’
Direct air capture runs contrary to the Justice40 goals and values touted by the Biden administration. We know that engineering-based removal activities are technologically and economically unproven, especially at scale, and pose unknown environmental and social risks. Direct air capture allows polluting industries to live on when we should be focusing on a just transition to renewables. Frontline communities that have borne the brunt of environmental racism and climate change for generations say, ‘enough!’ In an effort to move quickly and carelessly to balance a ‘carbon budget,’ the backyards that he’s talking about building in won’t be Mr. Podesta’s, President Biden’s or their neighbors. It’ll be Black folks, Indigenous communities and poor BIPOC neighbors – sacrificed, yet again in the name of protecting corporate interests.”

Basav Sen, Climate Justice Policy Director at the Institute for Policy Studies added:

“Direct air capture, along with all other geoengineering schemes such as carbon capture and storage and solar radiation management, is a distraction being pushed by the fossil fuel industry and its political backers to avoid the only real solution – to phase out the production and use of fossil fuels, with a just transition for communities and workers. Anything else is just smoke and mirrors. The Biden administration should stop their cynical political game of squandering public funds on unproven, expensive, and potentially dangerous schemes such as direct air capture, purportedly to gain credibility for backing climate solutions, while doubling down on expanding fossil fuels.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Latest News and Events