Greens urge caution when it comes to storing CO2

Construction of the CCS infrastructure in Kollsnes, Norway

Norway creates the possibility for foreign companies to store CO2.

(Photo: Klaus Stratmann, Handelsblatt)

Berlin The Greens have considerable reservations about the separation and storage of CO2 (Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS for short). “Union and FDP sense a convenient way out in CCS that will allow us to hold on to fossil energies longer than absolutely necessary. That is backward-looking,” said Lisa Badum, climate policy spokeswoman for the Greens parliamentary group, the Handelsblatt.

In addition, CCS is energy-intensive, expensive and involves environmental risks. “It is not a suitable instrument for combating the climate crisis.” Badum is campaigning in her group with a position paper for a critical attitude towards the technology.

The debate about CCS has picked up speed in recent weeks. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to develop a carbon management strategy this year in which CCS is likely to play a central role.

Where the journey will go can be concluded from the “Evaluation report on the carbon dioxide storage law” of the Federal Ministry of Economics, which the Federal Cabinet passed at the end of December last year.

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It states that by 2030, the storage and use of captured CO2 (Carbon Capture and Utilization, CCU for short) must be used “on a megaton scale”, especially for industry.

Discussion on purpose of CO2 storage

Within the traffic light coalition, there are different views as to the purpose of CO2 storage. The Greens are convinced that the technology may only be used to store CO2 emissions that cannot be avoided using the current state of the art.

Such unavoidable emissions occur, for example, in the cement, steel or chemical industries. Their volume is estimated by the Federal Environment Agency at 43 million tons per year. To put this in context: a total of 739 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were released in Germany in 2020.

Lisa Badum (Bündnis 90 Die Grünen)

Green MP Lisa Badum considers CO2 storage to be “not a suitable tool to combat the climate crisis.”

(Photo: IMAGO/Christian Spicker)

The Liberals, on the other hand, have a much broader scope for CO2 storage. FDP politicians are calling for storage to also be used in power plants that run on coal or gas: Thanks to CCS, “the conventional power plants that are still necessary to stabilize power grids in the energy transition can be used without them damaging the climate,” he said energy policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Michael Kruse.

Green politician Badum wants to prevent that: “CCS may only be permitted for unavoidable residual emissions.” “No infrastructure of any kind should be built that extends the fossil fuel economy”.

>> Read here: Researchers see no climate neutrality without removing CO2 from the air

Badum is also critical of storing CO2 emitted in Germany in other European countries. “Norway has already offered to dump our CO2 under the North Sea. But the North Sea is already being overexploited,” says their position paper. CO2 dumping would exacerbate conflicts of use and endanger biodiversity even more.

Your party colleague Habeck, however, wants to enable German companies to use the storage facilities in Norway. Just a few days ago, the Federal Minister of Economics visited Norway together with representatives of German companies to get an idea of ​​the possibilities.

The country is one of the pioneers of CCS technology. It has been used there since 1996. Norway is currently building a CCS infrastructure that will be open to all of Europe. The country has large storage capacities.

In Germany, the Carbon Dioxide Storage Act (KSpG) came into force in 2012. However, it restricts the technology to demonstration and pilot projects and significantly limits the permissible storage volume. The deadline for registering projects has now expired, meaning that CCS is effectively prohibited.

In addition, the federal states have the option of excluding CO2 storage on their territory. The bottom line is that the law prevents CCS technology in Germany.

More: Federal government creates space for more wind turbines in the North Sea and Baltic Sea

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