09 Feb 2022, 13:27
Benjamin Wehrmann

German government party FDP calls for national negative emissions strategy

Tagesspiegel Background

The Free Democrats (FDP) are calling for progress on Germany’s strategy for achieving negative emissions and deploying carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Lukas Köhler, climate politician of the pro-business party, told energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background that the country needs a proper strategy “as soon as possible” to ensure that the potential for negative emissions is tapped on the path to climate neutrality by 2045. The FDP had pushed for including negative emissions and CCS in the coalition treaty, which acknowledges “the need” for a long-term strategy. Köhler said activities that make use of captured CO2 ought to be scaled up quickly to create a market for negative emissions technologies, which according to the FDP’s plans could be supported by issuing tradable certificates for each tonne of CO2 withdrawn from the atmosphere.

Köhler argued that Germany needs a novel CCS act after previous attempts to launch the technology had been abandoned after 2016 due to acceptance problems among the population, even though German companies like Linde or Siemens are leaders in the technology. “We must be careful not to lose this advantageous position because these technologies are not applied here. They will come in handy for us too at some point,” Köhler argued, trying to alleviate concerns that CO2 storage could be compared to nuclear waste storage. “CO2 per se is not harmful,” he said.

Years of protests against industry plans to use CCS as a lifeline for coal power made the technology a no-go issue for German politicians. But the new goal of climate neutrality by 2045 has given rise to a fresh debate about dealing with unavoidable CO2 emissions, for example in industry production or agriculture.

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