01 Oct 2020, 13:16
Kerstine Appunn

German energy ministry wants to launch talks about CCS

Tagesspiegel Background

Germany’s energy and economy ministry will launch a new round of debates on using carbon capture and storage (CCS), an idea that was deemed dead after a 2012 law allowed states to ban the use of underground caverns for storing CO2, Steven Hanke writes in Tagesspiegel Background. Now the government is starting a new attempt by initiating a “dialogue with relevant stakeholders” from NGOs, industry associations, businesses and researchers to find out more about acceptance issues of this potential carbon sink. The dialogue is to start before the next general election in autumn 2021, Hanke writes.

Germany has set itself the target of becoming climate neutral by 2050, which means that it will have to find ways of creating sinks for greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be prevented, e.g. from industrial processes or agriculture. Such sinks can be natural, e.g. forests, but the government also said in its 2019 Climate Action Programme that according to the majority of scientific studies and scenarios, using CCS technology would be inevitable. A possible location for large-scale CO2 storage would be underneath the North Sea, the Climate Action Programme states. Chancellor Angela Merkel herself said in May 2019 that CCS was back to be discussed and needed "a wide debate in society".

Implementing CCS in Germany is hampered by the fact that a first push to store CO2 underground, especially in northern Germany, led to citizen protests because of worries over drinking water contamination and leakages that resulted in several German states prohibiting CCS.

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