Ending the fossil era and keeping climate change well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably even below 1.5 degrees Celsius – possible, but it will take many actors in countries, cities and companies, as well as equitable international climate policy and low-carbon lifestyles.

At the UN climate summit in Paris, the world agreed to limit global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to make best efforts to keep warming even below 1.5 degrees Celsius. If this goal is not achieved, we are facing changes in the earth system that will spiral beyond our control. To achieve this goal, the emission of climate gases into the atmosphere needs to be radically reduced, especially by those who are responsible for the highest amounts of emissions.

Climate change
Ending the fossil era, keeping climate change well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably even below 1.5 degrees Celsius, is possible.
Justice and Role Models

How can an effective and international climate regime be designed? States, regions and cities need to intensify their own efforts while at the same time supporting the least developed states, encouraging them to pursue post-carbon development. The Wuppertal Institute is researching which mechanisms and instruments are best fit for this purpose.

Decarbonising the Economy

Industrialised and emerging economy countries need to get on a trajectory towards near-zero overall CO2 emissions by 2050 and an almost complete decarbonisation of the energy system. By that time – at the latest – the era of coal, oil and gas as the foundation of our economy will need to be over. The world will be a different place mid-century. The transition has already started, but will need to pick up speed. The Wuppertal Institute can show how systemic change is possible.

The Benefits of Climate Protection

The transition will only be possible if everyone contributes. At all levels of governance there are countless active groups and individuals, setting ambitious climate targets and pushing for their realisation. The Wuppertal Institute provides essential support, especially to states/provinces, cities and municipalities, through concepts and strategies going beyond emissions reductions. Together with our partners we ensure that they are on a sustainable and resilient path in the right direction, that businesses and citizens are included and given the opportunity to benefit from the transition.

Adaptation and Lifestyles

Climate Change is already leaving its mark. Some parts of the world are seeing devastating extreme weather events, but even in central Europe climate damages are costing billions of Euros. The reconfiguration of infrastructure required for climate mitigation will need to consider these effects.

Ultimately, effective climate protection goes far beyond new sources of energy or innovative technologies. What we consume, and how much of it; how the things we use are produced; how we dispose of them after use: our every-day decisions affect the climate. Pursuing a sustainable lifestyle needs to be supported by easily available information and transparency, availability of Climate-friendly products and services, and in particular the creation of clear framework conditions and support by policy. This, too, is an important area of our research.


Wolfgang Obergassel

Co-Head of Research Unit Global Climate Governance

Tel.: +49 202 2492-149

Many of us will benefit from climate protection – because climate protection measures that are based on renewable energies and energy efficiency often come with added values. Examples for this are the improvement of air quality, an easier access to energy, generation of new jobs and business opportunities, as well as a lower dependency on fuel imports and thus a higher security of energy supply.

Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick
Scientific Managing Director


Read more on our research on climate protection:


Here you find up-to-date information about research findings and activities in the field of climate protection.


Climate protection research takes place on a national and international level. In the following you find selected sample projects. A complete list is available here.

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