Mitchell Foundation, Rice's Baker Institute seek collaborative pathways to increase carbon capture and storage in Texas

HOUSTON—The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation is funding a project at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy to identify policies and actions that will facilitate the capture and storage or use of carbon dioxide.

The project, led by the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies, is bringing together representatives of industry, environmental groups, academia and other stakeholders in what organizers describe as “collaborative action to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the Texas Gulf Coast region.”

Ken Medlock, senior director of the Center for Energy Studies, is coordinating the effort, which will examine various region-specific policy pathways that can be used by state and local officials to develop the most effective carbon-capture policy.

As outlined by Medlock and Center for Energy Studies research associate Keily Miller in “Carbon Capture in Texas: Comparative Advantage in a Low Carbon Portfolio,” published in June, energy transition strategies must leverage regional comparative advantages for success.

In regional economies such as Texas, options available to address CO2 emissions include those under the umbrella of technologies collectively referred to as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), Medlock said. “Texas has a unique opportunity to lead in this space, given its tremendous geologic endowment, industrial footprint, and engineering and subsurface knowledge,” he said. “Identifying pathways to facilitate leadership and communicating those with policymakers and industry leaders has been the goal of this effort for the past year.”

Ed Emmett, fellow in energy and transportation policy at the Baker Institute, is working with Medlock to draw the various interests together and convene strategy sessions.

“With so many controversies and divisions in public policy these days, the effort to remove CO2 emissions is, hopefully, an opportunity to form a consensus around a key issue,” Emmett said. “We hope to provide policymakers with the facts needed to reach an agreement.”

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