The investigation of Annika Joeres and Susanne Götze illuminates a neglected subject of climate policy. They show what a powerful player the Lobby for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has become for the European Climate Policy.
The idea of CCS is to store green house gases produced by industrial sides in the under the ground. They travelled to different CCS projects in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway and could describe that the progress of these controversial projects are far more advanced than the public can imagine. Although ignored, they will take a big part in future climate policy discussion.
Starting with the funding of six european CCS-Projects which altogether failed, the European Commission since then never gave up the idea of storing CO2 in the underground - despite civil protests and massive financial deficits. The report shows that the oil- and gas-companies in Norway and the Netherlands are giving the CCS-Technology another try and that these new promises are only possible with massive public support from European taxpayers. Joeres and Götze also showed how tough the CCS-Lobby is working on the European Commission: only very few independent studies about CCS are existing and major decisions of funding are based on research paid by the industries. The investigation makes impressively clear that the new players of CCS are exactly the industry which has a big interest in continuing their business as usual with fossil fuels in the second half of the 21st century.
The two journalists could investigate with numerous interviews and background conversations so that they were able to draw the whole picture. For steel and cement factories CCS is seen as one of the main hopes for reducing their CO2 footprint. But without massive support from the taxpayers money CCS is still not feasible. The investigation also found out an important lack of legal framework: In case of an accident with the stored CO2, nobody knows yet who is accountable.
Photo: Marco Seifert / Der Spiegel