Collage: Berlin und Paris mit Fernsehturm und Eiffelturm

Credit: Adam Vradenburg/Unsplash (left), Margarida Louro/Unsplash (right)

Feasibility Study Published: Making Berlin Paris-compliant

How can Berlin become carbon-neutral before 2050 – and thus contribute to implementing the Paris Agreement? A feasibility study that was commissioned by the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection in December 2019 and has now been published provides the answer to that question. 

The “Making Berlin Paris-compliant” [“Berlin Paris-konform machen”] feasibility study uses detailed scenarios to show how ambitious the Berlin targets really are, in relation to various key data, thus providing an update to the “Climate-neutral Berlin 2050” („Klimaneutrales Berlin 2050“, Geman only, publihed in 2014.)

Key results

  • The state’s great climate protection efforts, particularly in the building sector (energy-efficient improvements; climate-friendly heat and energy generation) and the traffic sector (expanding ecomobility; reducing private transport; electrification), need to be accompanied by much more ambitious climate protection policies at federal level. 
  • To achieve the interim targets in 2030 and 2040, further efforts need to be made. 
  • It appears that Berlin could become carbon-neutral (meaning a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 95 percent compared to 1990) in the 2040s. With this, the study confirms the 2045 carbon-neutral target in the amended Berlin Energy Transition Act (Berliner Energiewendegesetz, EWG Berlin, link only available in German).

The authors of the study also propose 50 measures that can help Berlin meet its climate protection targets. These supplement the Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Programme 2030 (BEK 2030, link only available in German)) and aim to support the capital on its path to ensuring that all fields of activity are carbon-neutral. The study furthermore recommends implementing new structures to manage climate protection (known as climate governance), as this ensures that all senate departments share responsibility for becoming carbon-neutral  – for example by determining concrete targets for individual sectors. 

The Making Berlin Paris-compliant feasibility study is the last open item to arise from the Decision of the Berlin Senate in Recognition of a Climate Emergency issued in December 2019 (link only available in German). The decision prescribed the amendment of the Berlin Energy Transition Act, which was passed in August 2021, as well as the climate check for senate bills introduced in April 2021 and the set of measures to counter the climate emergency resolved in June 2021. An examination to find out how Berlin can reduce its climate-damaging CO2 emissions as quickly as possible was another central item. 

As a next step, the Senate Department for the Environment, Traffic and Climate Protection will review the proposals provided in the Making Berlin Paris-compliant feasibility study. These will then be integrated into the process to update the BEK 2030, which is scheduled to launch in mid-September 2021 with broad public participation. The study was developed by a consortium headed by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW).

Click here for more information and to download the long and short versions of the final report (German only).