Last Friday, the Biden administration released their high-level budget request to Congress, which details the administration’s high-level priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Unsurprisingly, they went big on climate, requesting $8 billion at DOE for climate solutions alongside a suite of other climate-driven requests across agencies. But what stood out to us was that carbon removal — for the first time ever — was featured in a major way. These requests come on the heels of the American Jobs Plan and a series of legislative wins that together highlight carbon removal’s rise as a growing priority for federal investment. Tactical near-term investments in carbon removal, like the ones outlined in this budget, can drive transformational change and scale these much-needed solutions.

Here are the key requests on carbon removal that the administration will flesh out over the coming month, as we wait for the full budget request:

Center carbon management within DOE.

The president’s budget requests for DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) to be renamed to the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, with increased funding and an expanded mandate to focus on deep decarbonization. Funding would specifically go to direct air capture and industrial decarbonization, moving away from the Office’s historic focus on coal and building upon the new authorizations in the Energy Act of 2020.

Invest in agriculture RD&D around soil carbon.

The budget request emphasizes the importance of soil health and conservation practices, and increases funding for multi-agency efforts around conservation planning and soil carbon monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) by $161 million. It also increases funding for the USDA’s climate hubs by $40M, serving as a key tool to support farmers in adapting to climate change. Stronger scientific grounding is critical to realizing the full agricultural and climate benefits of soil carbon storage — without it, efforts to incentivize practice adoption will continue to fall short.

Bolster conservation through the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Today, natural and working lands in the US store around 11% of the country’s emissions. By protecting and expanding conservation on the nation’s forests, farms, and ranches, we can not only store more carbon but drive economic opportunity and healthy communities.

We’re excited to see the Biden administration adopt many of the recommendations in Carbon180’s transition book and build on the leadership Congress has taken over the past few years to increase funding for carbon removal. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working with Congress throughout the annual appropriations process to fund these priorities alongside other requests. Now is the time for Congress and the administration to work together to take advantage of this historic window of opportunity to scale carbon removal and address climate change.

Image: Micheile Henderson