Carbon capture and storage in the UK and Germany: easier task, stronger commitment?

Environmental Politics, Vol 24, No 6, 2015, pp. 1014-1033.

A successful carbon capture and storage (CCS) policy and programme is widely considered essential to curbing carbon dioxide emissions. What explains the strikingly different policy outcomes in two key European Union political heavyweights and coal economies, the UK and Germany? The UK has decided to contract two specific CCS projects, with explicit timelines for realisation; Germany has made no such decisions. From scrutiny of official documents and in-depth high-level interviews, it was found that the UK has more favourable structural capacity, including offshore storage capacity (which evokes less conflict) and significant oil-industry expertise, and thus an easier task. Moreover, this structural capacity has interacted with a solid political commitment to bring CCS forward in the UK, including specific, multistage funding and a high-level drive to develop CCS, especially after 2009. In Germany, by contrast, CCS has encountered increasing local and central opposition since 2009, with the Energiewende and renewables being accorded priority.