Clean Air Task Force

Clean Air Task Force Logo
Clean Air Task Force Logo
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Political and technological change

The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit climate protection organization that campaigns for political and technological change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in power generation, oil and gas production, industry and transport.

CATF often plays a pioneering role and focuses on issues that are still neglected by other environmental and climate protection organizations. In the 1990s, one of CATF campaigns led to a reduction of more than 70% in emissions from coal-fired power plants in the USA. Later CATF successfully campaigned for additional regulation of oil and gas production to limit methane emissions, launched a campaign for clean diesel vehicles in 2005, and most recently introduced the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 in the USA, the most comprehensive investment plan ever adopted by the US Congress. 

Founders Pledge, a leading provider of evaluations of climate protection organizations, estimates that every euro donated to CATF will lead to a reduction of more than one ton of CO2 .

The problem

Fossil fuels still account for over 85% of primary energy consumption worldwide.[1] At the same time, humanity's energy requirements continue to rise.[2] In order to achieve the climate targets of the Paris Agreement and limit the damage caused by climate change, global energy systems must be largely decarbonized. To achieve this, it is necessary to replace fossil fuels with low CO2forms of energy generation.

In all likelihood, the massive expansion of renewable energies, to which Germany has made an important contribution through the energy transition, will not be enough. The risk of such a strategy of relying exclusively on wind and solar worldwide is simply too high for humanity.

Further measures are therefore necessary, although their promotion is still being neglected. These include, for example, keeping methane emissions from oil and natural gas production as low as possible. However, this also includes the development and use of low-carbon or carbon-free energy technologies that can reduce or even completely eliminate emissions from the energy, industrial and transport sectors, such as CO2capture and storage (CCS) or next-generation renewable energies, such as advanced geothermal energy, modern nuclear power plants of the so-called IV. generation, and carbon-free fuels.

The solution

CATF focuses on developing additional, pragmatic options for low-carbon or carbon-free energy and fuel production and improving the political framework conditions for this. Through studies, initiatives and opinion leadership CATF is advancing its concerns with a combination of research, communication and policy advice. In doing so CATF considers itself to be non-partisan and open to technology and is globally oriented.

The work of CATF includes, for example, the following objectives:

  • Stringent CO2-limits for gas and coal-fired power plants in the USA;
  • Enabling the commercial development and deployment of novel low- and zero-carbon energy technologies in power generation, industry and transportation; and 
  • The drastic reduction of climate-damaging super pollutants such as methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and soot from diesel vehicles, shipping and biomass combustion.

CATF has already achieved great success in the past. In the USA CATF for example, played a significant role in the introduction of tax credits for the storage of CO2which in the Inflation Reduction Act 2022 were expanded once again. CATF was also part of the preparation of the Global Methane Pledge which for the first time created a global effort to combat methane emissions. Building on these successes CATF is working to create further innovation-promoting framework conditions for carbon-free technologies. 

The industrial processing of oil and gas also results in high methane emissions, which are particularly harmful to the climate. The CATF has successfully fought for stricter regulation in this area.
Armond Cohen - President and founder of the Clean Air Task Force

The effect

According to calculations of the initiative Founders Pledge the previous work of CATF contributed to the fact that approx. 116 million tons of CO2-equivalents (CO2e) could be avoided. In addition, the measures have also led to a reduction in emissions of other pollutants, which has prevented an estimated 26,000 premature deaths from air pollution.

Founders Pledge expects that the future work of CATF will be cost-effective.[3] On the basis of CATF's contribution to the introduction of the tax credit 45Q in the USA Founders Pledge calculated, under conservative assumptions, costs of $1.63 per ton of CO2e for the work of CATF purely for the USA. Due to the effect that the tax credits have internationally, these fall to well below $1 per ton of CO2e in a global context. 

Assuming that the work of CATF is only one tenth as effective as the project at 45Q, then this results in costs of approximately $1 per ton of CO2e. So everyone contributes CATF donated contributes approximately 1 ton of CO2e to be saved.

The organization

The Clean Air Task Force was founded in 1996 as a charitable non-profit organization based in Boston with the aim of working to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Since its foundation CATF has supported legislators and regulatory authorities in the USA, as well as Canada and Mexico, to create the political framework for a CO2-and clean energy generation. In recent years CATF has developed into a global organization and now employs more than 100 people at various locations worldwide. 

The experts from highly effective climate protection organizations Founders Pledge , Giving Green both recommend CATF as a top organization.


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Sources

[1] ↑ Global direct primary energy consumption. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/global-primary-energy?stack Mode=relative.

[2] ↑ International Energy Outlook 2023, U.S. Energy Information Administration. https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/. October 2023.

[3] ↑ Conservative impact analysis example of innovation in neglected tech, in: A guide to the changing landscape of high-impact climate philanthropy, p. 116. Founders Pledge. https://assets.ctfassets.net/x5sq5djrgbwu/7eEpX4UcKNEy6LUDhf2B05/735518c277987ad5ad91f096b1fdc2a7/A_guide_to_the_changing_landscape_of_high-impact_climate_philanthropy.pdf. 2021. In addition, for the original calculations also Climate Change Cause Area ReportFounders Pledge, 2018 and the accompanying Calculation model.