15 Apr 2024, 12:33
Julian Wettengel

Reaching climate neutrality by 2045 “unrealistic” for Germany without CCS – research academies

Clean Energy Wire

Germany cannot realistically reach climate neutrality by 2045 without using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, several research academies have said in a joint paper. "Achieving climate neutrality or for that matter net-negative emissions without CCS would be impossible - or only with unrealistically far-reaching changes in the behaviour of the population and progress in industry that seems almost impossible to achieve by 2045," said the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. The institutions acknowledged the fact that the government is currently working on a carbon management strategy and a strategy on negative emissions. However, they cautioned that the strategy's known details so far fail to clearly define in which cases using CCS should be allowed, arguing that this lead to problems regarding public acceptance.

Overall, the focus must remain on mitigation rather than CCS, as it is a much bigger climate action lever, the researchers argued. Expanding renewable energies and hydrogen infrastructure and switching to lower-emission production methods in industry therefore remains essential for the path to climate neutrality, they said.

Years of protest against industry plans to use CCS as a lifeline for coal power long had made the technology a no-go issue for many politicians in Germany and beyond. But setting international goals for climate neutrality around 2050 reopened the debate on the issue of combatting CO2 emissions that are difficult to avoid, for example in cement production. Parties, including the German Greens, are realigning their official stance, and the country's governing coalition has presented the first crucial elements of its upcoming carbon management strategy, which is set to define guidelines for dealing with CCS.

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