DIPOL- Deep Transformation Scenarios for Informing the Climate Policy Discourse

Start of Project 09/2018
End of Project 01/2022

The project aims to outline possible development paths for Europe and Germany that are consistent with limiting the rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C, as agreed in the Paris Agreement of 2015. Central to the project is a co-design of quantitative scenarios with key stakeholders from civil society, business and policy making. The exchange with stakeholders ensures both the societal relevance of the scenario building process and provides participating stakeholders with useful insights for their work and strategies by 2050. The pathways are primarily exploring:

  1. speed and depth of the transformation towards a low carbon society;
  2. sectoral bottlenecks of decarbonisation; and
  3. CO2 removal from the atmosphere to neutralize residual emissions.

The analysis of alternative climate change mitigation pathways is complemented by micro-simulations to explore distributional implications for households and possible regressive effects of climate change policies.

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Project results

Within the framework of the project, a series of scenario narratives was developed that linked the perspectives of the involved stakeholders in achieving the German and European climate targets, thus identifying a number of possible development pathways for Europe and Germany. The collaboration on scenario development resulted in five different scenario narratives (qualitative and quantitative), which are structured along a series of levers and hurdles on the one hand and three key dimensions of transformation on the other: "Technology and Innovation", "Policy Coordination" and "Behavior Change". These trans­for­mation scenarios and project findings can further contribute to the follow-up of initiatives launched in the context of the Paris Agreement and especially the formulation and im­ple­men­tation of long-term development strategies towards emission neutral economies in national, regional and global context.

Main Findings

  • If technologies are limited due to lack of acceptance (bio­energy, CCS, wind energy), CO2 prices of up to 450 €/tCO2 are already necessary in 2030 (S4). Without re­distribution, low-income house­holds will be dis­proportionately burdened by this.
  • Targeted sector policies to promote faster electrification (S1) or be­havioural changes, especially dietary changes and reduced energy demand (S2), can significantly reduce the required CO2 price and thus mitigate regressive effects.


J. Strefler et al. (2022):
Wege zur Treibhausgas-Neutralität bis 2050. Der Einfluss von Politik, Technologie und Verhalten auf eine erfolgreiche Transformation. Abschlussbericht des Projektes DIPOL.

Sommer, S., Vance, C. (2021):
Do more chargers mean more electric cars? Environ. Res. Lett. 1: 064092.

Frondel, M., Marggraf, C., Sommer, S.,Vance, C. (2021):
Reducing vehicle cold start emissions through carbon pricing: evidence from Germany. Environ. Res. Lett. 16: 034041.

Alberini, A., Horvath, M., Vance, C. (2021):
Drive Less, Drive Better, or Both? Behavioral Adjustments to Fuel Price Changes in Germany. USAEE Working Paper No. 21-487.

Kriegler, E. et al. (2020):
Ausstieg aus fossilen Energieträgern - wie gelingt eine faire Systemtransformation. Hintergrundpapier zum 7. Forum Klimaökonomie.