Avoiding Stranded Assets

Climate Neutrality 2045 and the end of fossil fuel use

Climate Neutrality Foundation (2021): Avoiding Stranded Assets: Climate Neutrality 2045 and the End of Fossil Fuel Use. A regulatory proposal. (in German)

The new German climate targets require an almost complete reversal of Germany’s primary energy consumption, 80% of which is still based on fossil fuels.

Climate neutrality by 2045 means nothing other than that the use of petroleum, coal and natural gas in Germany must be ended by then.

This end date needs to be enshrined in law – and without delay, because many plants have depreciation periods that in some cases extend far beyond 2045. Otherwise, there is a risk that stranded assets will be made today and compensation claims will be asserted by private individuals against the taxpayer community tomorrow. This applies above all to the use of fossil fuels in power generation, industrial plants, transport and heating systems.

Becker Büttner Held (2021) Avoiding Stranded Assets - An Investigation into the Legal Possibilities and Limits for Defossilizing the German Economy by 2045, Legal Opinion commissioned by Climate Neutrality Foundation. (in German)

Climate Neutrality Foundation has therefore drawn up a proposal on how the use of fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy can be limited to the period up to January 1, 2045 (in German).

The proposal is based on a legal opinion by the law firm Becker Büttner Held (in German), which examined whether and how a legally sound time limit on the use of fossil fuels can be designed to achieve the goal of climate neutrality in 2045 without generating bad investments.