04 Jul 2023, 13:32
Edgar Meza

NGO warns against broad adoption of carbon capture and storage in Germany

Clean Energy Wire

NGO Germanwatch, which promotes sustainable development and climate protection, is warning against the country’s CO2 management policy opening the door to “a permanent extension of fossil fuel business models”. In a statement released ahead of the Bundestag's climate and energy committee hearing on Wednesday (05 July) on carbon capture use and storage (CCUS), Simon Wolf, Germanwatch’s head of German and European Climate Policy, said the government had yet to provide a promised definition of residual emissions that are difficult to avoid as part of its carbon management policy, and noted that the production of blue hydrogen was instead being encouraged. Blue hydrogen is made from fossil gas where the CO2 is captured and stored. As a result, the policy is thwarting the basis for a clear roadmap towards renewable energy, he added. “This is a prerequisite for limiting the use of CCUS in Germany to industries that have no other options for CO2 reduction. But we are still waiting for this definition. Instead, the scenarios now presented by the economy ministry even bring CCS into play for the domestic production of blue hydrogen. If this can be used for heating, as currently envisaged in the draft of the Building Energy Act, then the door would be wide open for a massive extension of fossil fuel business models.”

Germany should keep carbon infrastructure at a bare minimum, argued Wolf, reiterating the group’s position. “The use of blue hydrogen calls into question the fastest and most comprehensive transformation possible to renewable energy sources and is wrong in terms of climate policy because the CO2 emissions in the production of blue hydrogen are not comprehensively avoided.” He added, “The goal must be to build as little CO2 infrastructure as possible, but also to quickly get this necessary minimum on track.” 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.

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