German Advisory Council on the Environment

Type:Statement · date of issue 2022.09.26A justified ceiling to Germany's CO2 emissions - Questions and Answers on its CO2 budget

Is German climate policy on the right path? A CO2 budget approach allows a transparent comparison between national and international climate targets. The SRU has recently updated its work on a national CO2 budget for Germany. It shows that rapid emission reductions are crucial. The short report in Q&A format has now been published in English language.

In 2020, the SRU recommended aligning Germany's climate targets with a CO2 budget. This budget was transparently derived from the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The analysis was widely received in Germany and also an important scientific basis of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court's historic decision on climate policy in 2021.

The current paper updates the SRU's CO2 budget calculations on the basis of the latest scientific knowledge. It also answers a number of questions that came up in public discussion. 

Germany's remaining fair CO2 budget for a 1.5°C path expires in 2031, that for 1.75°C in 2040 (assuming linear reduction). According to the SRU's calculation, the current German Climate Change Act corresponds to a pathway which limits global warming to less than 2°C, but significantly more than 1.5°C.


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