National implementation of carbon capture and storage: The case of Germany

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Courtesy of Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH

As Germany is – and will remain for the immediate future – dependent on coal for generating power and ensuring energy supply, the German Government and various representatives from the private sector are currently assessing and promoting so called “Clean Coal” technologies, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Scientific research and industrial pilot projects for capturing and storing carbon have already been put into operation. Under current German law, these research and pilot projects have been permissible by applying, in particular, existing mining law provisions. However, under European and German environmental law, legal obstacles remain that would hinder a large-scale industrial use of CCS. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the proposal for a European Union directive on geological carbon sequestration and its implementation in Germany are eagerly anticipated. This article showcases how CCS technologies have been facilitated under current German law, what obstacles they have nevertheless encountered, and how these obstacles would be addressed under the proposed EU directive.

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