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The 1.5 ° C study - a summary

We have been on strike every Friday for almost two years - for a future worth living, for climate justice and for compliance with the 1.5 ° C limit. Since then we've been loud, made demands, and gone on strike with millions of people around the world. For almost two years, the climate has been one of the biggest issues in society and politics. At the same time, there is still not a single party in Germany that has a plan to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement. Worse still: five years after the Paris Agreement was signed, neither a government, nor any party, or any institution even had an investigation into what would be necessary in order to comply with the agreement.

Why the study?

This makes a serious social discussion about the necessary measures impossible. This knowledge gap therefore had to be closed. And since the government consistently ignored this task, we had to do its job once more:

We have commissioned the renowned “Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy” to conduct a study to find out what the 1.5 ° C limit means for Germany and what possibilities exist from today's perspective of complying with it. And the results are amazing!

Because the study shows: We can still keep 1.5 ° C! But getting there will be an enormous challenge.

The study shows that the current federal government's climate targets would result in CO2 emissions that are more than twice as high as a 1.5-degree path.

The Wuppertal Institute explains: That Compliance with the 1.5 ° C limit mark is only possible if Germany becomes CO2 neutral by around 2035 and only if emissions are already falling dramatically in the years immediately ahead of us. Achieving CO2 neutrality would be "Until 2035, from a technical and economic point of view, it is extremely demanding [...], but basically possible”According to the study.

So it is crucially up to the next federal government whether the 1.5 degree target can still be met. Shortly after the end of the next legislative period, in 2026, the German CO2 budget would be completely used up without emission reductions.

Based on these findings, the study examined what is necessary to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2035 in the energy, industry, transport and building sectors.

Energy industry

In the sector Energy industry the institute found out, among other things, that renewable energies and explicitly wind and solar energy in the coming years 4-5 times as strong need to be expanded as in recent years. The import of foreign climate-neutral energy sources will also be necessary.

Of course, in order to be CO2 neutral by 2035, we also have to phase out natural gas by then. The study states that hydrogen is needed for security of supply in the power supply and for climate-friendly industrial processes, at least part of which should be generated in Germany by renewable energies. For this you need so-called electrolysers. By 2035, electrolysers with a capacity 7-9 times as large as planned by the GroKo will be necessary.


In the next few years, many industrial systems will reach the end of their intended service life and will have to be replaced. New industrial plants run for decades. Therefore, in the Industry sector the need for all new systems to be climate-neutral. In addition, all remaining fossil fuel plants would either have to be shut down or converted to non-fossil technologies. Here too, according to the study, hydrogen will play a major role. Because of the current high energy demand in industry, which is difficult to meet with renewables, a consistent one is needed Circular economy: Through re-use, re-manufacturing and recycling of products, the energy requirements of industry can be reduced considerably and their defossilization easier. In the industrial sector, the study also supports significantly higher CO2 pricing in the order of magnitude of the perspective 180 euros per ton CO2 This must be supplemented by other instruments. It is also made clear: the construction of the infrastructure for a climate-neutral industry must begin before the demand for it exists. Otherwise there will not be enough time for the renovation. So decisions have to be made now and implemented with great speed and determination.


Also the traffic in Germany has a high energy requirement. According to the study, this must be reduced significantly by 2035 in order to switch to CO2 neutrality. The high energy demand is mainly caused by cars and trucks with internal combustion engines, which use five times as much energy as trains. The study therefore sees the following steps as necessary: ​​avoiding and shifting traffic, significantly higher CO2 prices on fossil fuels and the Abolition of the numerous climate-damaging subsidies in the traffic. In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2035, the following concrete steps are required in the various areas of the transport sector: halving car traffic as well as the doubling of public transport, the replacement of most of the remaining combustion cars with electric cars, an imminent ban on the approval of new combustion cars, the shift of 30% of truck traffic to rail, the end of domestic German air traffic and the use of exclusively synthetic ones Fuels for the - also heavily reduced - remaining air traffic from 2035.


The study found that im Building sector a massive increase in the energetic renovation rate is extremely important. Refurbishing energetically means significantly reducing the energy consumption of a house, for example by insulating it.

This is currently happening with less than 1% of the houses per year, but would have to be carried out on 4% of the houses every year! A comprehensive mix of measures is necessary to enable this increase. Among other things, there is also a need for a training and qualification offensive in the skilled trades, as not even enough skilled tradesmen are trained to carry out the energy-efficient renovations.

As a second important point, the installation of fossil-fueled heating systems must be completed in the shortest possible time. For comparison: Today almost 80% of all new heating systems are still fossil! Instead, most newly installed heaters should be heat pumps.

What does that mean?

The study results show: A 1.5 ° C policy can only be guaranteed by the German side if the federal government immediately and comprehensively focuses on reducing CO2 emissions and prioritizes climate issues in all policy areas.

That requires unprecedented political effort."If [the social and political will] is given, there are no insurmountable obstacles to the achievement of goals.", write the scientists at the Wuppertal Institute. The social will is there, the support for our demands is enormous - now it is up to politicians of all parties to finally speak and act on the basis of facts about the climate.

The study creates a basis for an honest society-wide debate about necessary measures to combat the climate crisis.

The fact that so many of our demands are reflected in the study - including the demand for net zero in 2035 or for CO2 pricing of € 180 - shows how justified they were and will continue to be. When working out our demands, in the Corona crisis and with the publication of this study, we say: Listen to science. Act now!

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