Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Feasibility study - climate neutral Karlsruhe in 2050

Project description

Framework conditions

Karlsruhe is situated in one of the warmest areas in Germany and is therefore particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In Karlsruhe, the rise in temperature is approximately 1.3 degrees Celsius, whilst in Germany it is up to 1 degree C. Climate modeling has calculated that by the end of this century the temperature will rise by an average of 3.6 degrees in the south of Germany. This would lead to high adaptation costs (e.g. air conditioning of buildings) and the environment of Karlsruhe would be incomparable to that of today. To keep the impacts of climate change under control, industrialized nations have to improve their climate protection on a national as well as on a municipal level. CO2emissions will have to be reduced by 80% until 2050.

In 2009, the city council of Karlsruhe defined climate protection targets in the Integrated Concept of Climate Protection. According to this concept, the consumption of energy and the emission of CO2should be reduced by 2% annually and the part of renewable energies in the energy use be doubled. These aims and measures - defined as the 2-2-2-formula - are to be realized until 2020.

Contents and aims of the feasibility study

The state of Baden-Württemberg´s ministry of environment has given a wider time frame, until 2050, to develop a climate neutral commune within the framework of a competition.

It develops strategies and recommendations for actions for Karlsruhe, leading to a radical reduction of CO2emissions and therefore to the target of a climate neutral city of Karlsruhe. Climate neutral is equivalent to an emission of CO2 of maximally 2 tons per person per year. If we apply this limit to the global population, there is a high probability that the global rise in temperature will not exceed 2 degrees C, - if this aim is realized significantly before 2050.

The strategies and recommendations for actions incorporate technical and organizational measures that are cost effective and acceptable to all. The study addresses the needs of transportation, private households, trade/commerce/services, manufacturing/industry, energy production and energy supply.

Strategies and measures are studied on the basis of 3 scenarios, depending on how the climate policies and societal development progress in the industrial nations as well as the emerging countries.


The council of KA appointed KEK (“Karlsruher Energie- und Klimaschutzagentur”) with the study. KEK consulted well-known scientists and experts. Apart from a scientific analysis, stakeholders and practicioners will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas. Thus, the fields of action and possible projects will be discussed and evaluated in 5 workshops, so the highest possible consensus for a climate-neutral future for Karlsruhe can be found.

Task of ITAS

ITAS develop the framework scenarios. Starting point is a reference scenario showing the present status of the use of energy as well as energy and climate policies - on a world-wide scale, in the EC, in the Federal Republic of Germany, in the (German) Federal State of Baden-Württemberg and in Karlsruhe. Two further possible developments of the framework conditions will be shown. In the scenarios, the development of the availability of energy resources and of energy prices are taken into consideration as well as technological developments of energy use and conversion of energy. The 3 scenarios will show a large range of possible developments.

Furthermore, ITAS is taking part in the development of strategies for the reduction of the CO2emission of the city of Karlsruhe.

The final document and other information are available for download on


Stelzer, V.
Ist Klimaneutralität für deutsche Großstädte bis 2050 möglich? Das Beispiel Karlsruhe.
2015. Vortr.: Essener Gesellschaft für Geographie und Geologie e.V. (EGGG), Essen, 19. März 2015 
Stelzer, V.
Kann die Stadt Karlsruhe bis 2050 klimaneutral werden? Szenarienbasierte Analyse.
2013. Geografischen Institut zum Thema “Sozial-ökologische Transformation und Geographien des Energiesystems” (2013), Berlin, Germany, April 20, 2013 
Journal Articles
Braun, S.; Arndt, W. H.; Aumayer, R.; Dörsam, B.; Dahmann, A.; Illigmann, K.; Koziol, M.; Krumme, K.; Maerten, M.; Mörschel, I.; Pfenning, U.; Pietsch, J.; Kruhl, J.; Stryi-Hipp, G.; Seelig, S.; Stelzer, V.; Weinhold, M.; Wischermann, S.; Witte, A.
Morgenstadt - unser Leben in der Zukunft.
2011. Forum Nachhaltig Wirtschaften, 2011 (4), 11–52 
Vogeley, D.; Groh, B.; Wand, S.; Kühlen, A.; Stengel, J.; Schultmann, F.; Stelzer, V.; Wolpensinger, H.; Reitze, F.; Toro, F.; Herbst, A.; Jochem, E.; Hedel, R.; Kunze, J.
Klimaneutrales Karlsruhe 2050. Machbarkeitsstudie zur Klimaneutralität im Stadtkreis Karlsruhe im Rahmen des Wettbewerbs Klimaneutrale Kommune des Ministeriums für Umwelt, Klima und Energiewirtschaft Baden-Württemberg.
2011. Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). doi:10.5445/IR/1000045132Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Stelzer, V.
Designinig sustainable low carbon cities.
2011. Low Carbon Earth Summit (LCES 2011), Dalian, China, October 19-26, 2011 Book of Abstracts 


Dr. Volker Stelzer
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-23474