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Santa Fe, Salt Lake City join regional coalition that's funding carbon dioxide removal

The coal-fired Huntington Power Plant in central Utah.
Gary Whitton
Adobe Stock
The coal-fired Huntington Power Plant in central Utah.

News brief

As the U.S. pushes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it's also looking for ways to remove it from the atmosphere. A few local governments in the Mountain West are coming together to achieve that goal.

In 2021, Flagstaff, Ariz., and Boulder County, Colo., launched the 4 Corners Carbon Coalition to help spur innovation in carbon dioxide removal around the region. Last week, Santa Fe, N.M., and Salt Lake City also joined the group.

Ramón D.C. Alatorre, Flagstaff's climate analyst, helped launch the coalition based on the idea that they can amplify their impacts by working together and pooling resources.

“There's just more power in numbers,” Alatorre said. “There is hope that perhaps rather than having an underwhelming response, we will get an overwhelming response going forward by working together rather than in isolation.”

Using seed funding Alatorre said will amount to as much as $250,000, the coalition will award grants to fund local, replicable projects that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The first round of funding will target concrete production. He explained that CO2 can be sprayed or incorporated back into the mixture via a solid.

“Think of it as an ingredient in the recipe for the concrete,” said Nicole Antonopoulos, Flagstaff's director of sustainability.

Alatorre referenced reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stating that carbon removals like these are needed to help limit the effects of climate change.

“Reductions alone will not be sufficient,” he said. “Removal is going to need to be a part of our portfolio of strategies in order to achieve climate stabilization at these global consensus levels that we have agreed to.”

The coalition plans to open the grant application process next week with a webinar on Oct. 19th and accept proposals over the next two months.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2022 KUNC. To see more, visit KUNC.

Emma VandenEinde

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