The 2015 Paris Climate Treaty is binding under international law. Germany wants and must be greenhouse gas-neutral by around 2050. Despite the considerable progress made, a look at climate and energy policy shows, however, that the path to environmentally friendly energy provision and processing entails major challenges; the necessary changes are being accompanied by socially conflicting objectives and interests.

Although there is broad consensus about converting to greenhouse gas-neutral energy sources in Germany, there is no consensus on the right way to achieve this. Until now government policy has focused on reducing greenhouse gases in the power sector. Tough regional and structural policy issues need to be addressed in this context, for example for the regions directly affected by the phasing out of coal power. A rapid transport transition is essential in the mobility sector, as our transport system is increasingly reaching its limits and causing considerable ecological and health impacts. The transformation of energy also needs to be advanced in agriculture, the heating sector and industry – including through sector coupling.

The energy transition in society as a whole must therefore be accelerated in all parts of the economy. Social justice and innovation must become core principles of the transformation through smart financing and management instruments. The debate about reshaping measures is also overdue because the current mixture of regulatory law, subsidies and exemptions has not yet led to any satisfactory success with regard to climate protection.

The IG BCE Foundation for Labour and the Environment focuses on the interface between the energy transition and the transformation of other economic sectors such as transport and industry. Structural, employment and justice policy issues play a key role here. Specific questions include:

  1. What sort of energy and transport transition could secure and expand social justice and future vocational opportunities? How will the upcoming transformation affect regional value creation structures and labour markets?
  2. Which steering and financing models for the necessary transformations are fair and effective in terms of social and employment policy?