24 Mar 2023, 13:47
Julian Wettengel

Govt carbon management strategy must set clear restrictions on CCS use – NGOs

Clean Energy Wire

A German strategy on carbon capture and use (CCU) or storage (CCS) – the carbon management strategy which is currently being developed by the government with stakeholder input – should stipulate that CCS can only be used when there are no sufficient decarbonisation alternatives available, said several NGOs. The strategy must establish a binding definition for “not otherwise avoidable” emissions and ensure that CCS can only be applied here, the organisations Germanwatch, E3G, WWF and Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) wrote in a joint paper ahead of a stakeholder meeting with the government today (24 March). They also emphasised:

  • A need for a climate-neutrality industry strategy as basis for the new strategy
  • CCS must not be used to extract fossil fuels or produce fossil electricity or heat
  • CCS use as “transitional solutions” for industry with clear end date possible, if powered with renewables
  • Need for strict measurement, reporting and verification guidelines for CCS

The carbon management strategy would lay out how CCU/S could be part of a portfolio of measures designed to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality in Germany by 2045. The strategy would decide areas of application and measures, including what is likely going to be the most controversial issue: whether to store carbon in Germany. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has already decided on such a strategy. Years of protest against industry plans to use CCS as a lifeline for coal power made the technology a no-go issue for German politicians. Yet Germany’s goal of climate neutrality by 2045 reopened debate on the issue of combatting unavoidable CO2 emissions, for example, in cement production. Parties, including the Greens, are realigning their official stance. One year after the government took office, the economy ministry published the country’s second CCS law evaluation report, which according to researcher Felix Schenuit of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) showed a “proactive approach towards CCU/S, in significant contrast to CCS policy until now.”

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