Transformation to a fully greenhouse gas neutral Germany


In the course of the Paris Climate Agreement, Germany has committed itself to limiting global warming to well below 2 °C, and if possible to 1.5 °C. In the Climate Protection Plan 2050, Germany has committed itself to far-reaching greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 (-95%). With the Climate Protection Act, the existing 2030 targets (-55%) were translated into sectoral targets. Through the Climate Protection Programme 2030, the Federal Government is now aiming to achieve these targets with concrete policy measures.

However, model-based estimates to date suggest that the existing measures in the climate protection programme will not be sufficient to achieve the 2030 targets. In order to meet the long-term international climate protection commitments until 2050, a significant intensification of climate protection efforts is therefore required. In this respect, the question remains as to what political instruments and measures are necessary to comply with the the derived transformation path. Another question concerns the extent to which non-avoidable emissions – e.g. in agriculture or the cement industry – can be offset by negative emissions in the long term in order to achieve complete greenhouse gas neutrality.



The project is supposed to determine which paths are necessary to achieve the climate protection goals and which measures need to be underpinned from a political perspective in order to put these transformation paths into practice. Accordingly, the project will further differentiate the possible solutions for a greenhouse gas-neutral and sustainable society. In addition, this project will investigate the possible contributions of carbon sinks. This includes, on the one hand, natural sinks (e.g. forests or peatlands) and, on the other hand, technical solutions such as the capture of CO2 from the air or pyrolysis coal from biomass. Furthermore, a comparison of the scenarios with other studies is planned.

Within the framework of this research project, different scenarios will be modelled that describe paths to complete greenhouse gas neutrality. The modelling is based on an approach that uses systemic or system-dynamic analyses to consider interdependencies between and within the physical-geological and the economic-social systems in order to make the complexity of the systems tangible. Since a large number of individual instruments and measures in different sectors are mapped, detailed sector models are applied.



from February 2021 until June 2023


Federal Environment Agency (UBA)


  • Öko-Institut
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology IEE