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Future of Fossil Fuels in the wake of greenhouse gas neutrality (FFF)

Completed Project

Project Management

Dr. Wolf-Peter Schill (Head of the DIW part)

Project Period

October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2021

Funded by

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

In Cooperation With

Technische Universität Berlin,
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) e. V.

The objective of this project is to investigate previously under-researched aspects of decarbonizing the German electricity sector in the European context and to derive an assessment of concrete policy instruments for both the German and the European level. In doing so, we extend existing analyses that focus solely on a coal phase-out in Germany by considering a wider geographical scope including other major carbon emitters in Europe. We also examine the consequences of climate policies for all fossil fuels, particularly natural gas. Trans- and interdisciplinary elements of this research project allow to better understand the different economic, technical, social, and political hurdles of the upcoming transformation away from fossil fuels in Europe.

DIW Team

Project description

The project focuses on three aspects of the future of fossil fuels:

  1. identifying the drivers and hurdles for implementing a European fossil fuel phase-out by 2050;
  2. investigating how national pathways for phasing out fossil fuels interact with European climate policies; and
  3. analyzing the interactions between a fossil fuel phase-out and power system flexibility requirements, as well as the implications for sector coupling.

Methodologically, the project builds on model-based analyses of the European power sector and case studies of Germany and three neighboring states, namely the Unit-ed Kingdom (UK), Poland, and the Netherlands. The innovative character of the research approach consists in the combination of advanced methodology (numerical modeling, economic theory, econometrics, and political economy) with “hands-on” questions of current political decision making, considering many stakeholders in the German and the European context. Our products – scientific publications, regular stakeholder engage-ment formats, policy papers, and concrete policy advice – will stimulate the scientific and public debate on how to phase out fossil fuels while minimizing negative side-effects and societal costs.

FFF is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the funding priority "Economics of Climate Change". FFF also participates in the exchange between research and practice in the project "Dialogue on Climate Economics".