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About Net-Zero-2050

Limiting the increase in the global mean temperature to well below 2 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level is fundamentally possible - this is shown by the IPCC in its special report on 1.5 °C global warming.

Important measures are rapid and far reaching reductions of all greenhouse gas emissions, above all carbon dioxide. In addition, carbon dioxide must be extracted from the atmosphere. It can be stored in natural sinks such as soils and forests, for example. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere can be converted back into energy sources through chemical processes. In Net-Zero-2050, Cluster I of the Helmholtz Climate Initiative, respective strategies and new approaches are scientifically examined and evaluated in four projects with regard to the German framework. In addition, two case studies are carried out with external stakeholders from the field. The project is organised as follows (see figure 1):

Figure 1: Structure of Net-Zero-2050 (© GERICS)

Figure 1: Structure of Net-Zero-2050 (© GERICS)

  • Project 1 (P1) is the governing project and hosts the coordination. It combines work carried out by assessing mitigation and CO2 removal options towards a national roadmap net-zero (P1.1) and by integrated scenario development and analyses (P1.2), both of which inform each other and iteratively single out the most promising scenarios and roadmap. Moreover, both subprojects integrate scientific findings from the other three projects to underpin their efforts.
  • Projects 2 to 4 (P2, P3, P4) represent the cluster’s technological level. Thus, bottom-up evaluations are performed, regarding technological, economic, systemic and ecological constraints of CO2 removal and CO2 conversion into products such as synthetic fuels (P2), the storage of various forms of energy and substrates required for CO2-neutral cycles (P3) and the removal of CO2 by nature-based solutions (P4).
  • Case Study I represents Net-Zero-2050’s main bridge to society. In Karlsruhe, one of Germany’s pioneering cities in climate neutrality, two workshops are planned in which members from different sectors will discuss the technologies and approaches of P2-P4 concerning their social acceptance and expected political feasibility.
  • Case Study II aims at the development of a transparent strategy towards a climate-neutral Helmholtz Association.

By assessing the currently most promising contributions towards a national net-zero roadmap and by transparently displaying results of research, Net-Zero-2050 aims to inform and move forward the debate about CO2-neutrality at various levels. It is expected that this can initiate a quest for the best ideas, which then could be tested and offer opportunities to society and industry while helping Germany to deliver climate action adequately.

Helmholtz Climate Initiative

Project Workshop 10 September, 2020