Accompanying Climate Action Plan 2050

Scientific support for the project on developing and accompanying the Climate Action Plan 2050 in the industrial sector

Client Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Reactor Safety (BMUB)

Duration April 2019 – April 2020


In recent years, Germany has set very far-reaching targets in the area of climate and energy policy and developed corresponding implementation strategies for the time horizon up to the middle of the century. The long-term objectives set out in the Energy Concept 2011/2012 and also supported by the present federal government for the reduction of emissions (80–90% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050 in comparison to 1990) are an enormous challenge for all areas. To achieve these objectives, extensive decarbonisation is necessary in the various sectors, e.g. industry, transport, private households and the trades/commerce/services (GHD) sector.

Long lead times and development times must be taken into consideration in the design of such comprehensive transformation processes. Many of the emission-relevant sectors are characterised by very long life cycles of the fixed assets (buildings, power stations, plant and equipment in the basic materials industries, rail vehicles and aircraft) and corresponding innovation cycles. The definition of ambitious intermediate objectives or the review and revision of existing ones is therefore of crucial importance if the long-term objectives are to be achieved in an efficient and cost-effective way. Furthermore, objectives that are based primarily on climate policy must also be harmonised with other energy policy objectives (security of supply etc.) or those connected with industrial or social policy (innovative impetus for the economy, limitation of the cost burden etc.).

Against this backdrop, the German Federal Government passed the Climate Action Programme 2020 with additional measures in December 2014 in order to achieve the target set for 2020 as the next step. However, the climate protection measures defined in the Climate Action Programme 2020 will not be sufficient to achieve the Federal Government’s long-term climate protection objectives. Moreover, the achievement of the targets of the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE) is currently not guaranteed as some of the instruments have not yet been specifically formulated or can probably not be implemented in the way originally planned.

Hence, a ‘Climate Action Plan 2050’ is to be developed to secure the achievement of the targets, which describes the further reduction steps up to 2050 in the light of the European targets and the results of the climate change conference in Paris in 2015. The general public is to be closely involved in this process within the scope of a broad dialogue process on suitable measures for climate protection and thus the acceptance of the developed measures increased.
Study objectives in the industrial sector.

Today energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing industry are still determined to more than 50% by a few energy intensive basic materials. The final energy demand of industry in Germany has stagnated at roughly 2,600 PJ since 2007 and its greenhouse gas emissions are stagnating at 190 million tonnes CO2 equiv.

At the same time, as already mentioned, there is some uncertainty as to the effectiveness of the additional measures set out in NAPE and in the Climate Action Programme 2020. It is foreseeable that further measures will have to be adopted or decided on and existing ones ‘sharpened’ or expanded to ensure an adequate contribution by the industrial sector to the achievement of the total target for 2020 – but also for further target years. Here additional measures concerning non-energy, process-specific greenhouse gas emissions can also contribute. In most cases, this is done through the limitation of specific greenhouse gas emissions or through bans.

Tasks of IREES

  • First, the participation process should be scientifically monitored. For the successful design and subsequent implementation of the Climate Protection Plan 2050, it is of great importance to involve all relevant actors, including citizens, in the design process at an early stage. Here, the complex cause-effect relationships and scientific background were prepared and fed into the discussion process.
    In addition, the content of the Climate Protection Plan 2050 will be scientifically monitored and evaluated both technically and quantitatively. To this end, current studies on climate protection and greenhouse gas emission trends in Germany up to 2050 were evaluated and the plausibility of the corresponding emission trends for the various sectors was assessed separately. In addition, IREES provided scientific support for the active dialogue process between the public and the industrial sector in a series of dialogue events with associations, citizens and delegates with specialist expertise.

Project partner

  • Öko-Institut

  • Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)


Oliver Lösch
Oliver Lösch
Prof. Dr. Eberhard Jochem
Prof. Dr. Eberhard Jochem