Bilateral agreements with CO2-receiving countries should also be signed.

By Joseph Murphy

German gas supplier Wintershall Dea is urging authorities in the country to do away with the barriers preventing the development of CO2 transport in order to eliminate unavoidable emissions from certain industries.

The German government is currently working on legislation that would enable the use of CO2 storage, vice chancellor Robert Habeck said earlier this month. A member of the environmentalist Green party, Habeck said that Germany was "no longer in a situation [where] we can pick and choose."

"Putting CO2 under the ground is quite simply better than releasing it into the atmosphere," he said. "For this reason, Germany is now working on a carbon management strategy in order to create the legislation for the use of such technologies in this year, by mid-2023."

In an evaluation report on Germany's Carbon Dioxide Storage Act, Germany's ministry for economic affairs and climate action estimated that the country would need to store up to 73mn metric tons of CO2 each year in order to achieve net zero by 2045. Meanwhile, environmental think tank Agora Energiewende warned in a report this month that the country likely missed its target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions last year, putting pressure on authorities to take greater action on climate change.

"In addition to expanding renewable energies and rapidly establishing a hydrogen market, the early capture of CO2 emissions in production processes and their subsequent storage will also be able to make an important contribution to achieving our climate targets while safeguarding jobs in energy-intensive industries at the same time," Wintershall's vice president for carbon management and hydrogen, Klaus Langemann, warned on January 16. 

Unavoidable residual emissions in Germany currently amount to more than 40mn mt/year, originating particularly from industries such as chemicals, cement and agriculture. But legal hurdles to the transport of this CO2 in Germany to storage sites in other countries must be removed, Langemann said.

"Words must be backed up by action. Germany should ratify the amended Article 6 of the London Protocol as soon as possible so as to allow CO2 to be transported to neighbouring countries," he said. "On top of that, bilateral agreements must be concluded with CO2-receiving countries.

Denmark and Belgium signed such an agreement in October last year, and Germany should do likewise, Wintershall stated.

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