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Germany’s Federal Cabinet amends law to enable CO₂ storage under the seabed and on land, improves capacity for industrial decarbonisation

May 31, 2024 Work Area: Carbon Capture

Berlin – On Wednesday, Germany’s Federal Cabinet approved the key points for a Carbon Management Strategy (CMS) and the draft law to amend the Carbon Dioxide Storage Act (KSpG).  

The proposed changes to the legislation permit carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and utilization (CCU) by allowing the transport and offshore storage of CO2 in Germany, excluding marine protected areas.  

“The Carbon Management Strategy marks a significant advancement for Europe’s largest emitter and industrial leader. Without CO₂ storage, Germany’s hard-to-abate industries cannot effectively decarbonise. This strategy could lead to the prevention of millions of tonnes of carbon emissions thus potentially shielding German industries from rising ETS costs due to the phase-out of free allowances,” said Codie Rossi, Senior Policy Associate, Carbon Capture at CATF. 

Several important changes have been proposed in the draft law to amend the Carbon Dioxide Storage Act (KSpG), all of which will be integral to ensuring that carbon capture and storage is available at scale for German emitters, including: 

  • Updating the legal framework for CO₂ pipelines and streamlining the approval process. This will facilitate the rapid development of necessary infrastructure, removing uncertainties that are a barrier to the development of this critical climate infrastructure, which is critical for the timely implementation of needed projects. 
  • The proposed revisions to the storage law will enable the permanent storage of carbon dioxide in Germany’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone for commercial purposes, allowing Germany to make use of its considerable national CO2 storage resources. Importantly, the revisions are also accompanied by strong protections for marine environmental protection. 
  • Allowing individual states to opt-in for onshore CO₂ storage, which creates flexibility in the national strategy, and can enable CO2 storage for emitters not near export locations and lower the overall costs of decarbonisation. States that are ready to implement these solutions can proceed, contributing to a broader, more effective deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies across the country. 

“Germany joins a growing number of EU Member States that have moved to amend previously prohibitive restrictions on the geological storage of CO2. This shift will be essential in providing European industries with easier access to storage and lowering the overall cost of decarbonisation, as highlighted by CATF’s analysis last year,” said Toby Lockwood, Technology and Markets Director, Carbon Capture at CATF

Further background:

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identifies carbon capture as a key component in achieving economy-wide net-zero emissions by midcentury. The IPCC includes carbon capture, transport, and storage in nearly all its decarbonization pathways. 
  1. The International Energy Agency (IEA) asserts that reaching climate goals without carbon capture is “virtually impossible.” Moreover, carbon capture is included in many countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. 
  1. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is crucial for decarbonizing hard-to-electrify sectors like heavy industry. Carbon capture and storage, alongside upstream methane controls, is vital for reducing emissions from industries such as cement, iron and steel, waste-to-energy, and certain chemicals, which collectively account for about one-fifth of all CO2 emissions and have few or no alternative mitigation options ready to deploy at scale today.  
  1. Clean Air Force will soon release a report examining lessons from large-scale carbon capture and storage projects. The report examines the projects within the context of their respective industrial sectors, outlines the motivations behind their development, their technical performance, and how these factors all relate to their performance capturing carbon for climate goals.  

For more information, visit CATF’s carbon capture and storage in Europe FAQs.

Contacto con la prensa 

Julia Kislitsyna, Directora de Comunicación, Europa,[email protected],+49 151 16220453   

Acerca de Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalysing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With more than 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. Visit and follow @cleanaircatf 

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