Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are the cause of anthropogenic climate change. These gases are emitted into the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil and lead to global warming. The consequences: melting glaciers in the Alps, rising sea levels, more frequent heat waves, and devastation caused by storms and floods. The goal of German climate policy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Furthermore, it aims to achieve, to the greatest possible extent, a greenhouse gas neutral society by 2050 in which we can live good lives both in Germany and worldwide. In the context of international climate action, Germany advocates the ambitious and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In the Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in 1997, the participating industrialised countries committed themselves to a 5 percent reduction in emissions of climate-damaging gases - such as carbon dioxide - by the period 2008-2012 as compared with 1990. The European Union has agreed to cut its emissions by 8 percent during the years 2008 to 2012 as compared to the level of 1990.
Demand for energy is increasing worldwide. The situation on the energy markets is escalating and energy prices are soaring. Fossil fuel burning is on the increase and is speeding up climate change. Improving energy efficiency, on the other hand, has a dampening effect on energy prices, reduces energy import dependency, cuts emissions of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2), increases security of supply and counteracts energy distribution conflicts.