A socially responsible fossil fuel phase-out

Climate protection and the phase-out of coal: Political strategies and measures up to 2030 and beyond

In order to achieve the 2° C target with a reasonable probability, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 80 to 95 percent by the year 2050. Accordingly, a minimum target of up to 95 percent, compared to the base year of 1990, has been set in Germany. A significant part of these reductions must be achieved by lowering emissions during the generation of electricity. It is therefore essential that an end is brought to coal-based electricity generation. This shall be phased out in a socially responsible process, one designed in such a way that it opens up new economic prospects for the regions affected. The question of how such a structural change can be managed in the affected regions forms the central topic of this project.

The project shall provide concrete answers to the following questions:

  • How can the energy industry timeframes for the phasing out of brown coal and – to a limited extent – for hard coal be realised at a regional level?
  • What economic effects will the phasing out of brown coal and hard coal have for the region? What are the challenges that can be identified in terms of structural policy?
  • What options does the state have to design a socially responsible structural change? Can measures for the further implementation of the transition to renewable energies play a role in this?
  • What economic opportunities exist for the regions which are particularly affected by the phasing out of coal – particularly in the context of the transition to renewable energies?



  • DIW Berlin (Lead)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH)
  • Öko-Institut e.V.
  • Dr. Cornelia Ziehm






07/2016 to 02/2018