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20 May 2019, 13:08
Benjamin Wehrmann

Environment minister backs CCS as part of a German 2050 climate-neutrality bid

Frankfurter Rundschau

Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze has said the country should seriously consider carbon capture and storage (CSS) technology to deal with CO2 emissions that are difficult to avoid and reach climate-neutrality by 2050. “We need to have this debate,” Schulze said in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau with a view to Angela Merkel’s remarks at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue and in a newspaper interview, in which the German Chancellor put the contentious technology back on the country’s climate policy agenda. Schulze said earlier concerns that CCS would only serve to prolong the use of coal-fired power production were no longer valid since a government-appointed commission decided to end the use of coal no later than 2038. Schulze said there were also other ways to capture CO2 emissions, for instance by planting trees, but added: “I warn against any illusions. We cannot possibly plant as many trees as we’d need to offset our current CO2 output.” However, Schulze stressed that carbon storage must not be considered a substitute for saving carbon emissions.

The debate on CCS has long been considered finished in Germany due to widespread opposition against the procedure in which carbon dioxide is compressed in underground storages. “Now it’s back,” Merkel said about the discussion on the role that the technology can play in making Germany abide by its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, and reach “climate-neutrality” by 2050, as proposed by Merkel at the Peterseberg Dialogue. Partners from across Europe and marine research institutes from Germany are currently assessing the options for storing CO2 in offshore storages in the North Sea in the “ECO2-Project”. Unlike onshore CCS, which is often heavily opposed by nearby residents, CCS at sea is expected to cause less direct opposition.

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