Pathways toClimate Neutrality

The European Union aims to achieve climate neutrality by the middle of the century. Germany is striving to reach climate neutrality as early as 2045. To do so, greenhouse gas emissions will have to decrease much faster over the coming years. The Wuppertal Institute and partners showed how Germany could become climate-neutral by 2045 in a scenario study published in 2021.

The Wuppertal Institute also uses its long-standing expertise in performing meta-analyses of energy system scenarios in various projects. In one of these meta-analyses on behalf of Fridays for Future Germany, it investigated the accelerated changes that would be realised in the energy industry and in the buildings, industry and transport sectors to achieve a climate-neutral German energy system already by 2035. In a study on behalf of the nature conservation organisation NABU, the Wuppertal Institute used a scenario meta-analysis to derive various strategies for how the energy transition can be implemented in a way that minimises negative impacts on nature.

Pathways to Decarbonisation
The Wuppertal Institute develops pathways that show how energy-intensive industries can become climate-neutral.

Three levels play a key role in the phase-out of a fossil energy system: Companies face the task of switching to climate-neutral production processes and developing new, climate-friendly business areas. The Wuppertal Institute shows how the industry can transform, what a sustainable power plant might look like, and how the energy-intensive basic materials sector can be transformed towards climate neutrality.

The climate protection policies of cities and municipalities should also be strategically oriented towards the long-term objective of a climate-neutral society. The Wuppertal Institute has shown what this might look like, for example, in the "Integrated Energy Framework Concept Mannheim – Pathways to Climate Neutrality" study commissioned by Mannheim's energy supply company MVV. The study suggests that the city of Mannheim can reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 99 per cent by the middle of the century. At the same time, the scientists explain that transforming a major city into a virtually climate-neutral urban environment will be a major challenge – one that can only be accomplished if all stakeholders pursue this goal as a high priority.

However, energy systems are also shaped at the national and international level. In this context, the Wuppertal Institute contributes to supporting the respective political discourses regarding the sustainable transformation of energy systems. It is developing climate protection scenarios for Germany with special regard to the heavily industrialised state of North Rhine-Westphalia, often involving stakeholders from industry and society in the scenario development process. The Wuppertal Institute also develops pathways towards a sustainable energy supply for other countries, such as the MENA SELECT project for Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia.


Here you find publications on decarbonisation.

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Here you find research activities in the field of decarbonisation.

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