Factor X pp 93-101 | Cite as

The Need for Decarbonising Our Economy

  • Guido KnocheEmail author
  • Kai Kuhnhenn
  • Carla Vollmer
  • Kathrin Werner
Part of the Eco-Efficiency in Industry and Science book series (ECOE, volume 29)


To avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, global temperatures must not rise by more than 2° C compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the IPCC, this target implies a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 50 % until the middle of this century compared to 1990 and a peaking of global greenhouse gas emissions the current decade. Germany is strongly committed to lead in the fight against climate change, so it has to reduce its emissions by 95 % until 2050. Due to Germany’s large share of total emissions and lack of mitigation options in other sectors, this requires a full decarbonisation of the energy sector and its subsector, electricity production. This can only be achieved by reduced energy consumption, by a more efficient electricity production, and by using energy from renewable sources. These measures require a well-established, long-term political will to push for the necessary instruments, which comprise inter alia strict energy efficiency standards, obligatory energy management systems, further development of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), efficient demand- and supply-side management and adaptation of the electricity grid. Furthermore, the potential negative environmental and social impacts of these changes have to be minimized. This possibility of the described change is not limited to Germany. On the contrary, by moving in this direction on a European level, significant synergy effects can be used.


Renewable Energy Grid Expansion Renewable Energy Supply Electricity Supply System Climate Summit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. BMU (2012) Erneuerbare Energien in Zahlen. Nationale und internationale Entwicklung. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  2. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit (BMU) (2009) Erneuerbare Energien – Innovationen für eine nachhaltige Energiezukunft. Berlin: Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und ReaktorsicherheitGoogle Scholar
  3. DLR, Fraunhofer IWES, IfnE (2012) Langfristszenarien und Strategien für den Ausbau der erneuerbaren Energien in Deutschland bei Berücksichtigung der Entwicklung in Europa und globalGoogle Scholar
  4. European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) (2009) Integrating wind: developing Europe’s power market for the large scale integration of wind powerGoogle Scholar
  5. Greenpeace (ed) (2009) Klimaschutz: plan B. Energiekonzept für DeutschlandGoogle Scholar
  6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) Fourth assessment report. Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  7. McKinsey & Company (2007) Kosten und Potenziale der Vermeidung von Treibhausgasemissionen in Deutschland. Study commissioned by BDIGoogle Scholar
  8. Parry M, Palutikof J, Hanson C, Lowe J (2008) Squaring up to reality. Nat Rep Climat Chang 2:68–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Prognos AG (2007) Potenziale für Energieeinsparung und Energieeffizienz im Lichte aktueller Preisentwicklungen. Study commissioned by the Federal Economics MinistryGoogle Scholar
  10. Prognos AG, Öko-Institut e.V. (2009) Modell Deutschland. Klimaschutz bis 2050: Vom Ziel her denken. Study commissioned by WWF DeutschlandGoogle Scholar
  11. Richardson K, Steffen W, Schellnhuber H-J, Alcamo J, Barker T, Kammen D, Leemans R, Liverman D, Munasinghe M, Osman-Elasha B, Stern N, Waever O (2009) Climate change. Global risks, challenges & decisions. Syntheses report. Climate Change Congress Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  12. Stern N (2007) The economics of climate change – the stern review. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Umweltbundesamt (2009a) Concept for a future climate policy – plotting a new course in 2009. Climate Change 15/2009Google Scholar
  14. Umweltbundesamt (UBA) (2009b) Climate change mitigation with a secure energy system. Developing a sustainable power supply. Executive SummaryGoogle Scholar
  15. Umweltbundesamt (2010) Energieziel 2050: 100% Strom aus erneuerbaren Quellen. Dessau-RoßlauGoogle Scholar
  16. Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie (2006) Optionen und Potenziale für Endenergieeffizienz und Energiedienstleistungen. Study commissioned by E.ON AGGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Knoche
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kai Kuhnhenn
    • 1
  • Carla Vollmer
    • 1
  • Kathrin Werner
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal Environment Agency (Germany)Dessau-RoßlauGermany

Personalised recommendations