Ending the fossil era and keeping climate change well below 2 or even 1.5 degrees Celsius is possible, but it will take many actors, equitable climate policy, and low-carbon lifestyles.

At the UN climate summit in Paris, the world agreed to limit global warming to 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 the 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 and keeping climate change well below 2 or even 1.5 is possible.
Justice and Role Models

How should an effective, 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 researches which mechanisms and instruments are best suited for this purpose.

Decarbonising the Economy

Industrialised and emerging developing economies need to be 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 by the middle of the 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. Countless active groups and individuals are setting ambitious climate targets and pushing for their realisation at all levels of governance. The Wuppertal Institute provides essential support, especially to states, provinces, cities, and municipalities, through concepts and strategies going beyond emissions reductions. Together with partners, it ensures that they are on a sustainable and resilient path and 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 and even in central Europe climate damage is costing billions of euros. The reconfiguration of infrastructure required for climate mitigation will need to take these effects into account.

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 everyday decisions affect the climate. Pursuing living 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 by policy. This, too, is an important area of the Institute's 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 of this include improved air quality, an easier access to energy, the creation of new jobs and business opportunities as well as less dependency on fuel imports and thus greater energy supply security.

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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