CCS in Germany – Game Over?

The government’s presentation of the actual new draft law to the federal parliament, the Bundestag, was postponed a number of times due to continuing resistance within the ruling parties. The proposal was adopted in a parliamentary vote on 7th July 2011. The vote however brought no joy to those of us who believe CCS must make up a crucial part of Germany’s contribution to the fight against climate change.

Not the fact that it was presented as a “research law”, but rather a clause in the law known as the ‘Länderklausul, the state clause, is what could have made the law an effective block to German (onshore) CCS deployment. This clause would admit to the (Bundes)Länder the sovereign right to regulate which areas in their territories are eligible for CO2 storage, in end effect allowing them, at the very least, to create enough uncertainty to scare off any sane investor.

In short – Niedersachsen and Schleswig-Holstein want to avoid any CO2 storage within their territories. Brandenburg wants to see the EU-funded demo project Jänschwalde happen, yet fears its voters’ vengeance in the case that it, as the sole Bundesland, opens for deployment (effectively becoming the “CO2-loo” of Germany, to use a favoured slogan of the state’s CCS opponents). Brandenburg, in face of this pressure, has presented the federal government with an ultimatum: either all Länder must be forced to accept CO2 storage, or none will. Giving in to an ultimatum from a left-wing regional government while ignoring the strong opposition from two Länder ruled by its own party turned out politically impossible for Ms Merkel.

The situation is quite complex. To have a full overview, read the full article.