02 Dec 2022, 13:51
Julian Wettengel

Germany welcomes EU carbon removal certification proposal, calls for further development

Clean Energy Wire

German government officials have welcomed the EU proposal to certify carbon removals, but called for better clarification of the details. “In order to reach the 1.5-degree target, CO2 will have to be removed from the atmosphere in the EU,” said Sven Giegold, state secretary in the economy and climate ministryv (BMWK). This would have to be done according to strict and transparent criteria in order to set the right incentives for sustainable CO2 removal, for which the proposal had been an important contribution, he added. The government will now “take a close look” at the proposal. Stefan Tidow, state secretary within the environment ministry (BMVU), called for more details and further development of the proposal to ensure climate and biodiversity protection. The government said it remained open, for example, to whether and under which conditions certificates can be used to offset emissions. “In principle, high and robust standards for withdrawal must be maintained and the avoidance of double counting must be ensured.”

Most scenarios by research and government for climate neutrality by mid-century, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), say carbon removal measures like carbon farming or carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be necessary beyond just bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. In Germany, years of protests against industry plans to use CCS as a lifeline for coal power made the technology a no-go issue for most German politicians. But the new goal of climate neutrality by 2045 forces the country into a fresh debate on dealing with unavoidable CO2 emissions. The coalition agreement by the current government says that it will develop a strategy for “technical negative emissions” to deal with those unavoidable remaining emissions, such as those created through agriculture and some industry. 

The European Commission this week adopted its proposal which it said would “significantly improve the EU's capacity to quantify, monitor and verify carbon removals.” The institution aims to establish criteria to ensure the quality and comparability of carbon removals (quantification, additionality, long-term storage and sustainability), which it says are crucial to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, as laid out in the European Green Deal's sustainable growth strategy. “The proposal itself is very technical,” said Oliver Geden, researcher from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). “However, above all it will lead the governments of member states to develop policy positions on CO2 removal for the first time.” The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the member state governments.

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