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To achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2050, the European Union has so far largely focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, as reducing emissions alone will not be sufficient for this purpose, it is important to capture unavoidable greenhouse gases (e.g., from energy-intensive industries) and utilize them as sustainably as possible. To achieve this, the EU Commission presented a concept on 6 February 2024, which is intended to provide funding for carbon storage technologies and map out the necessary infrastructure. In Germany, the underground storage of carbon dioxide is prohibited. However, this is to be made possible in future on the high seas – outside of marine protected areas.

The measures are aimed at creating a single European market for carbon dioxide in the coming decades. As a first step, the Commission wants to create a framework for the transport and storage of CO², which should regulate the market and cost structure, quality standards and investment incentives for new infrastructures, among other things. Other key points of the official communication include:

  • Establishment and expansion of a CO² transport network within the EU
  • Create a register of potential CO² storage sites
  • Development of an aggregation tool for CO² suppliers, transport companies, storage operators and CO² off-takers
  • Determining the amount of CO² that would have to be removed from the atmosphere (to realize the 2040 and 2050 climate targets)
  • Research and innovation: development of a platform for the exchange of knowledge on the capture, use and storage of CO² (Carbon Capture Use and Storage; CCUS)
  • Public information

Sources: EU Commission, DIHK (German)