Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the world’s most authoritative body on climate science — agree that in addition to rapid and deep emissions reductions, we will need to pull carbon dioxide directly from the air through a process known as carbon dioxide removal (CDR). CDR includes a range of approaches and technologies which will be necessary — likely at a multi-billion-ton scale globally by midcentury — to meet climate goals. With this growing recognition, carbon removal has gained attention and investment from both the public and private sector over the last several years as a viable and necessary tool to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

In order to reach the expected scale of carbon removal needed to meet national and global climate goals, increased investment in research, development and demonstration is needed to develop a robust portfolio of natural and technological approaches. A broad and diversified portfolio of carbon removal approaches will help reduce cost and risk and balance tradeoffs associated with each approach. Successful policy implementation will require a multi-year, whole-of-government approach.

The Carbon Dioxide Removal Research and Development Act of 2023 — introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the U.S. Senate and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) in the U.S. House of Representatives — would take significant steps toward reaching this vision. It would:

  • Support cross-agency research and development on carbon removal, with more than $12 billion in funding over ten years. This includes a $2 billion program for competitive carbon removal demonstration projects, with a carve-out of $500 million for smaller-scale projects.
  • Provide funding to nine government agencies, reflecting the wide range of carbon removal pathways that require research and development — from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to advance research on ocean-based carbon removal pathways, to the National Science Foundation to conduct research on governance frameworks for large-scale carbon removal, to the Federal Highway Administration to develop carbon mineralizing cement and concrete for transportation infrastructure.


Total funding, 10 years ($ Million)


Areas of research, development, and demonstration activity (not comprehensive)

Department of Energy


  • Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Office of Science
  • Research and development on direct air capture contactor design; advanced biomass supply, logistics and pre-treatment; assessments of alkaline resources for mineralization; cross-cutting analyses of technology and cost performance
  • Carbon removal competitive demonstration awards: $1.5 billion for large-scale projects (>$100 million) and $500 million for smaller scale projects ($10-$100 million).

Department of Agriculture


  • Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA)
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Agricultural Research Service
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Addition of advancement of terrestrial and biological carbon removal technologies and methods to the focus areas for the AgARDA
  • Research on biomass supply, logistics and pre-treatment; soil carbon; high-carbon-input crop phenotypes, agroforestry; perennial plants on marginal lands; enhanced soil monitoring; enhanced forest stock monitoring; integrated assessment modeling and grassland and forest impacts modeling; social science research and extension programs; preservation of harvested wood; conservation practices data collection

Department of Commerce


  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Institute for Standards and Technology
  • Addition of carbon dioxide removal scientific objectives into NOAA’s mission responsibilities for ocean and coastal programs
  • Research on coastal ecosystem carbon sequestration; mapping of coastal ecosystems for carbon removal potential; ocean modeling; establishment of national coastal wetland data center; research on aquatic biomass cultivation, alkalinity modification and seawater carbon extraction; research on carbon dioxide impact and fate in the oceans; enhanced monitoring
  • Development of materials testing and standards for technologies and processes related to carbon removal; develop, test and establish standards for carbon-sequestering construction materials

National Science Foundation


  • Directorate for Biological Sciences
  • Directorate for Engineering
  • Directorate for Geosciences
  • Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Genetic modeling and tools to increase carbon uptake and conversion in biological materials
  • Research and development on the integration of carbonation with CO2 capture processes
  • Soil carbon research; research to improve existing soil carbon storage modeling tools; research on mineralization kinetics; pilot studies for mineralization; research on ocean alkalinity enhancement and coastal marine carbon
  • Research on direct air capture solvents, sorbents, membranes and catalysts; new materials development for carbon capture and utilization

Department of Transportation


  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Research on durability, strength and stability of carbon sequestering materials for transportation infrastructure; support development of new standards; research on lifecycle assessments of these new materials
  • Establishment of a grant program for public procurement of carbon sequestering new materials

Department of Defense


  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Field trials of coastal wetlands restoration optimized for carbon sequestration

Environmental Protection Agency


  • Office of Research and Development
  • Research on environmental impacts of direct air capture; research on environmental and social impacts of mineralization; research on decision science; research on environmental and social impacts of biomass use in carbon removal technologies; lifecycle assessment for mineralization

Department of Interior


  • United States Geological Survey
  • Land and Minerals Management
  • Mapping and technical assessments of geological resources for mineralization; field experiments on carbon sequestering mine tailings; research on environmental and social impacts of mineralization and expanded mining; development of new mineralization pathways
  • Assessment of ability use federal land and abandoned mine land for carbon removal including forest restoration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • Earth Science Division Program
  • Aboveground carbon monitoring; mapping and evaluation of coastal marine ecosystem resources for carbon removal potential

TOTAL: $12,014


Why This Legislation Is Important

The Carbon Dioxide Removal Research and Development Act of 2023 builds on annual appropriations for carbon removal research and other federal funding for carbon removal that has grown significantly in the past few years but remains lower than what is needed. The level of funding authorized by this bill is aligned with levels recommended by major reports on carbon dioxide removal research agendas from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and the Energy Futures Initiative, which both recommend ten-year federal carbon removal research, development and demonstration programs on the order of $10 billion.

In addition to supporting research, development and demonstration across a wide range of carbon removal approaches and technologies on land and in the ocean, the bill includes an emphasis on better understanding environmental impacts as well as social and community impacts of scaling up different CDR pathways. These types of research are critical to making sure that carbon removal is not only beneficial in terms of the global climate, but also that it is minimizing local risks to people and the environment.

The bill also includes a short but important section on developing a plan to increase international coordination on carbon removal research, development and demonstration, which will be beneficial to accelerating learning and progress in this area.

Overall, this bill provides holistic accounting of the level of resources needed to seriously support carbon dioxide removal and ensure it can play an important role in a future climate action portfolio.