Germany's carbon neutrality goal

Germany has set a long-term target of extensive greenhouse gas neutrality in its long-term strategy from 2016 – the Climate Action Plan 2050. Time horizon is the middle of the century.

Germany’s pathway

The pathway to GHG neutrality is described in the Climate Action Plan 2050. Key elements of the strategy are – besides the long-term mitigation target – an overall 2030 target as well as sectoral targets for 2030. Additional elements are transformative pathways for all sectors by 2050 as well as a first set of measures. The Climate Action Plan helps to identify robust transformation pathways for all areas of action and, and thus create investment certainty for all actors. The addition of the various sector goals results in a greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 55 percent compared to 1990. In-depth impact assessments accompany the process of developing the first programme of action to implement the Climate Action Plan. IAs aim to analyse the impacts of measures in the ecological, social and economic area.
The climate Action Plan represents a paradigm shift. In future, renvewable energies and energy efficiency will be the standarf for investments. This framework is supposed to create the necessary conditions to get Germany on track towards its GHG neutrality target by 2050.

The establishment of a commission on structural change is another crucial part of Germany´s pathway to GHG neutrality. The commission’s primary concern is the development of a socially acceptable coal phase-out plan. Results are expected for the end of 2018. As the German coal power plants are mainly concentrated in two regions, a phase-out plan will extensively consider regional opportunities and challenges.

As a leading industrialised national and the EU member state with the strongest economy Germany sees its responsibility to achieve extensive GHG neutrality by 2050 in order to deliver its fair share in implementing and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The German climate long-term strategy for 2050 was developed in the light of the Paris Agreement. At the same time Germany sees opportunities for the German economy in the necessary structural change of the industry. The Energiewende (energy transition) laid important groundwork in the German energy sector in this regard. The government believes that an open competition for the best ideas and technologies will help the country to achieve carbon neutrality. The transformation that is needed to achieve GHG neutrality has to be organised in a fair manner taking into account the concept of just transition.

Germany’s story so far

  • 2005 – Establishment of the first Emissions Trading Scheme ETS in the European Union
  • 2007 – 2020 climate and energy package with climate and energy targets (climate action, renewable energies and energy efficiency) or the first time to be achieved by 2020
  • 2013 – Government decided to develop a long-term strategy
  • 2014 – EU heads of state and government agreed on the 2030 climate and energy framework as a follow-up on the 2020 targets
  • 2014 – Climate Action Program 2020
  • 2016 – Development and adoption of the first German Climate long-term strategy
  • 2018 – The new government announce the full implementation of the Climate Action Program 2050

Germany’s action from 2018

The new German Government confirmed in March 2016 the full implementation of the Climate Action Plan 2050. Key milestones will be:

  • 2019 – First Climate Action Program that will comprise measures that ensure achieving the 2030 target of the Climate Action Plan 2050
  • 2019 – First overarching German Climate Change Law fixing the 2050 and 2030 targets as well as other key features of the Climate Change Plan including the principle of sectoral targets and a compliance regime

Germany’s key policies and actions