In a Nutshell
- Slovakia’s long-term climate strategy foresees that by 2050, between 7 to 14MtCO2e of emissions will remain. Given the limited removal capacities of Slovakia’s land-use, land-use change and forestry sector, the country will need to rely on novel CDR methods.
- Slovakia has yet to adopt its Climate Act. The country also needs to develop a more integrated legal framework around geological CO2 storage.
- Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan secured EUR 1 billion from the EU Modernisation Fund for the decarbonisation of the industrial sector. Given that the eligibility criteria are quite broad, some CDR projects could be funded.
- A new government came into power in October 2023, for which climate policy does not seem to be a priority.
Role for carbon removal in national climate policy
Slovakia’s draft updated National and Energy Climate Plan (NECP) states that the country aims to reach climate neutrality by 2050. By 2030, the country must reduce its emissions from sectors covered by the Effort Sharing Regulation by at least 22.7% compared to 2005 levels. The country also has a net removal target of 0.5MtCO2e by 2030, as per its obligations under the Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation.
The draft NECP outlines several measures targeted towards maintaining and increasing carbon sinks in the LULUCF sector including:
- incentives for forest managers to plant “future-proof” trees,
- an expansion of natural areas under strict protection,
- the increasing use of biomaterial – e.g. wood as a building material,
- measures to increase carbon sequestration in agricultural soils,
- the maintenance and restoration of grasslands.
The Slovak Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan 2023-2027 and the National Forest Programme 2022-2030 outline other measures, such as creating a more resilient agroforestry system, the afforestation of agricultural land, and support for integrated projects incorporating good practices.
The draft updated NECP briefly mentions carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the context of producing blue hydrogen. It also states that CO2 could be stored in depleted natural gas deposits or in neighbouring countries.
The country’s long-term climate policy, the Low-Carbon Development Strategy until 2030 with a view to 2050, sees CCS as a last resort option for decarbonising the energy sector, yet still supports more research and development funding for it. The strategy also points out that a projected emissions gap of 7-14MtCO2e will remain in 2050. The difference will likely be offset by removals from the LULUCF sector, which come mainly from the country’s forests. The projections in the draft updated NECP, however, present a different outlook, forecasting no more than 4.4MtCO2 net removals from the LULUCF sector in 2050. This projection implicitly means that Slovakia will need to rely on removals from novel CDR methods.
Relevant legal frameworks
Slovakia still does not have a climate law. On 30 January 2023, the Slovak Ministry of Environment released the first draft of what might become Slovakia’s Climate Act. It would enshrine a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, along with sectoral targets and set financial sanctions if targets are not met. However, the recent elections held in September 2023 and the accession to power of the new government might delay or halt the development of the law.
Slovakia’s Act No 356/2019 on the Protection of Nature and Landscape sets out some legal provisions for the protection of natural habitats and wetlands. The Law on Forests sets out the legal framework around forest lands and their protection, as well as around the use of forests.
The Law on Permanent Storage of Carbon Dioxide in the Geological Environment provides elements for a legal framework regarding geological CO2 storage by setting out its liability provisions, permitting processes and monitoring procedure. However, this law does not provide a functional framework, and is still missing an implementing act to provide the necessary financial security to develop storage sites.
Internationally, Slovakia is not a party to either the London Convention or the London Protocol, which means it would need to adopt at least the same standards set by the Protocol, and sign bilateral agreements with receiving countries, if it were to export its CO2 for under-seabed geological storage.
Support for R&D and Innovation
As part of Slovakia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, a scheme for the decarbonisation of the industrial sector has secured more than EUR 1 billion for its transition from the EU Modernisation Fund. The eligibility criteria are quite broad, and thus some CDR pathways could be eligible for funding.
At the national level, there are currently no planned CO2 storage or infrastructure projects. Theoretical CO2 storage capacities range from 1.7-13.7GtCO2. Having an extensive existing gas pipeline network, Slovakia could potentially repurpose this network for CO2 transport. The country is starting to reflect on this possibility, as highlighted in the draft updated NECP. However, it seems priority access to the existing pipeline will be given to natural gas and hydrogen.
On the horizon
It remains unclear whether the development of the Climate Act will continue under the new Slovak government. The new Prime Minister, who came into office in October 2023, has openly questioned the scientific consensus on climate change.
Additional legislation is needed to fully enable the geological storage of CO2. The timeline remains unclear.
- Net zero target: 2050
- Net Negative Target:
- First interim target: 2030
- Type of interim target: Emissions reduction target
- GHGs covered: Not Specified
- Separate target for emission reduction and removals: No
- Comprehensive CDR Target: no
- CDR Target for Conventional Removals: yes
- CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
- Historical emissions: No
- Annual reporting mechanism: Annual reporting
- Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Not Specified
- Planning to use external carbon credits: Not Specified
- Conditions on use of carbon credits:
- Ministry of the Environment – Responsible for a broad portfolio, including nature and landscape protection, forestry in national parks, and geological works. It heads the Department of Geology, which is responsible for allocating permits for any storage within the country’s geological formations.
- Ministry of Economy – Responsible for a broad portfolio, including industry, support for small and medium companies, and heat and gas production.
- Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – Responsible for a broad range of areas, including the protection and use of agricultural and forest land.
- State Geological Institute of Dionýz Štúr – Main institution in Slovakia undertaking research on the country’s CO2 storage potential