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Robert Habeck (Greens) during a press conference to present the key points of the Carbon Management Strategy (CMS)

Photo: Monika Skolimowska / dpa

Helping the climate by storing carbon dioxide deep beneath the seabed: Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is encountering resistance in the SPD and Green factions with this proposal.

It's about CCS, the abbreviation stands for "Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage".

CO₂ should then be captured during industrial processes, brought to an underground storage facility and stored there.

This is considered expensive and is scientifically controversial.

Habeck wants to enable underground storage of CO₂ on the high seas for particularly climate-damaging industries.

"The technology is safe," he said.

According to Habeck, storage on land should remain ruled out for the time being.

Marine protected areas would also be excluded.

However, he is not able to convince all critics in the traffic light coalition.

"The traffic light coalition agreed in the coalition agreement to only allow CCS for unavoidable residual emissions," said SPD energy expert Nina Scheer to the newspapers of the Bavaria media group.

However, Habeck's submission goes well beyond this.

Scheer criticized the fact that Habeck also wants to allow CCS for gas power plants and biomass plants "in the sense of a technology-open transition to a climate-neutral electricity system."

Here, however, the SPD parliamentary group is “for the priority of CO₂ avoidance,” said Scheer.

In Berlin, Scheer also referred to a position paper from the SPD parliamentary group on CCS from last year.

»The capture of CO₂ must not compete with the energy transition.

That is why the SPD parliamentary group excludes the use of CCS in energy production after weighing up the consequential burdens and risks," the SPD politician quoted from the text.

For example, “I consider the possibility of using CCS for gas power plants to be very dangerous,” wrote Green Party member of the Bundestag Kathrin Henneberger on X, formerly Twitter.

This also applies if, as Habeck planned, this should not be funded by the state.

She referred to plans for new fossil energy projects in conjunction with CCS that already exist in other countries.

Green climate expert Lisa Badum made a similar statement.

“The Green parliamentary group rejects CCS in gas power plants,” she told the “T-Online” portal.

Apart from that, she agreed with Habeck's plans to enable carbon dioxide storage, especially under the seabed, if emissions in certain areas cannot be avoided.

Hamburg's Second Mayor and Senator for Science Katharina Fegebank (Greens), however, welcomed Habeck's plans.

“It is good and right that the Federal Ministry of Economics has now made concrete proposals for this,” she said.

However, the technology must be in line with Germany's climate goals and contribute to the goal of greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045.

The environmental association BUND spoke of a “dam burst”.

“Today, the Ministry of Economic Affairs opened Pandora’s box by deregulation of commercial CCS technology,” criticized chairman Olaf Bandt.

Habeck is thereby jeopardizing the move away from fossil fuels.

"This strategy allows the industry to 'business as usual' and slows down urgently needed drastic measures to avoid emissions," warned Greenpeace energy expert Karsten Smid.

Environmental and climate associations are primarily against allowing the use of CCS technology for gas power plants.

This was exactly what had previously been ruled out in consensus discussions.

Habeck's about-face on this point "threatens to destroy social acceptance of any kind of CCS in Germany," warned Germanwatch climate expert Simon Wolf.

He called on the minister to return to “the path of reason”.

The key points for the carbon management strategy and the draft law are currently being coordinated by departments.

This is followed by the state and association hearings.

The cabinet then discusses the draft.

Habeck said the papers were “united” between the partners of the traffic light coalition.