Leading companies in Germany have urged Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to announce its strategy for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe’s largest economy — and largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter — by the end of this year amid weakened opposition to the new technology, Reuters reported Wednesday.
CCS has drawn criticism not only in Germany but worldwide as opposers have pointed out it has limited commercial viability and it effectively leads to prolonged use of fossil fuels.
With a law from 2012 Germany restricted CCS giving federal states power to veto its use. However, the government has now come to reconsider the technology as the leading industrial nation may miss its net-zero goal currently set at 2045.
General attitudes have also shifted as extreme weather events have become increasingly common making the threat of global warming seem more urgent.
According to a survey carried out in May by Civey, nearly half of Germans would accept a CCS project close to their homes, showing a big change in favor of the new technology compared to a different study from 2015, Reuters said.
Big industry players, such as building materials major Heidelberg Materials (ETR: HEI), may benefit from the shift of direction as they face high costs for their emissions under the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and could get financial support for investment in CCS.
“We are counting on the Federal Government to adopt a carbon management strategy this year,” a spokesperson for the cement giant told Reuters.
In July, Heidelberg Materials, as a representative of a carbon intensive sector, was selected to receive innovation funding from the European Union to build large-scale CCS projects in Germany.
Last December, Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action discussed the benefits of CCS in a report, according to which a total 34 million to 73 million tons of CO2 would need to be captured on an annual basis by 2045.
The government had promised to carry out consultations with stakeholders, including industry, sector experts, lawmakers, and environmental organizations, before any law change allowing CCS is passed, a process that was initiated in March.
According to a source involved in the talks, who spoke to Reuters and asked to remain unnamed, this may lead to a delay and the economy ministry may fail to publish its carbon management strategy by the end of the year.
When contacted by Reuters, the ministry said the dialogue was progressing as planned, but declined to specify when the strategy would be published.