26 Nov 2020, 14:03
Charlotte Nijhuis

Consensus on need for CCS to reach climate goals growing in Germany

Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

The capture and storage of CO2 has long been a controversial subject in Germany. But experts and politicians increasingly say carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be needed to deal with unavoidable emissions from agriculture and industrial processes, Klaus Stratmann writes in newspaper Handelsblatt. “In view of the advancing climate crisis, all options for avoiding process-related industrial emissions must be put on the table”, Dieter Janecek, industrial policy spokesman for the Green Party in the Bundestag, told the newspaper. The Greens' acceptance of the technology that has been ruled out for a whole decade in Germany illustrates that "a change has happened" towards a consensus that CCS would be needed at least for process emissions, Stratmann writes.

Although there are natural ways of creating sinks for greenhouse gas emissions, for example by replanting and conserving forests, the government said in its 2019 Climate Action Programme that the majority of scientific studies and scenarios find using CCS technology would be inevitable. The programme also points out that CCS is a “comparatively low-cost reduction possibility for unavoidable emissions from industrial processes in the mid-term”. The government said it wants to use both carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) and CCS: “The federal government sees the use and storage of CO2 emissions from industrial processes that cannot be avoided in any other way as an opportunity for contributions on the way to greenhouse gas neutrality in 2050”, the economy ministry (BMWi) states. When it comes to storing carbon, the German government envisions offshore projects. A possible location for large-scale CO2 storage is underneath the North Sea, which would require cooperation with the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The German cement industry has recently presented plans for the decarbonisation of cement and concrete in order to reach its self-imposed goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. In addition to improving efficiency and moving away from fossil fuels, the industry said they are “dependent on” techniques of CCU and CCS to reduce unavoidable emissions.

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