On February 15, the White House announced initiatives aimed at a “cleaner” industrial sector in the United States. A backgrounder detailing the announcement highlights actions by federal agencies related to what the White House describes as clean energy, efficiency improvements and other technologies to reduce emissions.
The fact sheet highlights initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS). A significant part of the announcement is new guidance from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on the deployment of CCUS technologies which builds on a June 2021 report on CCUS published by the CEQ . To support this effort, the Environmental Protection Agency will develop proposed rule revisions to strengthen the greenhouse gas reporting program as it relates to CCUS activities, and the Home Office will establish safeguards for sequestration. geologic on federal lands.
Additionally, the White House announcement focuses on what the fact sheet calls research on decarbonization, clean technologies, low-carbon materials and carbon-based trade policies. A number of initiatives announced by the White House relate to what the fact sheet describes as clean hydrogen. These initiatives include:
- $8 billion to develop regional hubs to advance the production, processing, delivery, storage and end use of clean hydrogen, including innovative uses in the industrial sector;
- $1 billion for a hydrogen electrolysis research, development, demonstration and commercialization program to support the production of hydrogen from electricity from solar, wind and nuclear energy sources; and
- $500 million for the manufacture of clean hydrogen equipment and the reuse and recycling of clean hydrogen technologies.
The fact sheet describes low-carbon materials as building materials that produce fewer emissions and pollutants throughout their life cycle. The White House announcement highlights efforts to encourage the use of these materials involving multiple federal agencies. These efforts are generally aimed at leveraging the purchasing power of the federal government. For example:
- the CEQ and the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy will launch a Buy Clean task force to promote the use of low-carbon materials;
- the General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation will encourage the use of low-carbon materials in federally funded construction projects; and
- the State Department and the President’s Special Climate Envoy will work with corporate buyers in sectors such as steel, shipping, trucking, aviation, aluminum, cement, chemicals and carbon removal with the aim of helping to secure purchase commitments and thus stimulate demand for low-carbon materials and technologies.
In addition to funding initiatives, the White House announcement outlines the advancement of carbon-based trade policies. This includes policies to reward U.S. makers of clean steel and aluminum and working with the European Union to align global trade with climate goals.
The White House and Department of Energy will also launch new research and advisory programs to help inform and guide the administration’s strategy to advance cleaner manufacturing.
The announcement also addresses some of the Biden-Harris administration’s other priorities, namely promoting environmental justice and creating fair, union-supported employment opportunities in manufacturing. The fact sheet highlights the anticipated environmental and public health benefits as well as job creation and other economic opportunities associated with the initiatives. The White House announcement highlights that the industrial sector is currently responsible for almost a third of national greenhouse gas emissions. The initiatives announced aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial and manufacturing sectors while growing the economy and creating new jobs in these sectors.