What the Paris Agreement means for Germany’s climate action

Translating the goals of the Paris Agreement into the German context.


The long-term global climate goals of the Paris Agreement adopted by nearly 200 countries in December 2015 imply the necessity for enhanced efforts for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Germany. The phrasing of the long term goals of the Paris Agreement goes beyond prior political consensus.

The objective is to limit the global increase in temperature to “well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels, to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”, as well as to lower the net GHG emissions to zero in the second half of the century. The aim of this brief analysis was to translate the goals of the international climate regime as determined by the Paris Agreement into the German context.

Firstly, emissions reduction scenarios on a sectoral level (electricity, buildings, transport, etc.) from existing literature sources were compared. Since the literature on this topic does not cover 1.5°C scenarios for Germany to a sufficient degree, global scenarios and the total CO2 budget available for 1.5°C were taken as a basis for a simplified analysis on what 1.5°C would mean for enhanced actions.

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