RESCUE scenario GreenMe

GreenMe stands for “Germany – resource efficient and GHG neutral – Material efficiency”. Using GreenEe as a basis, this scenario focuses on technical options to increase materials efficiency across all sectors.

Scenario characteristics

The GreenMe scenario focuses on technical options to increase materials efficiency (i.e., the ratio between a certain benefit or result and the (raw) materials use required for this). Globally, it is assumed that other countries follow this trend at the same speed of technological development (no delay compared to the other Green-scenarios). Carbon leakage is thus avoided. Germany continues to be embedded in international trade in which imports and exports are balanced (similar to the GreenEe2 scenario).

The restructuring of the energy system and of sectors such as transport, industry, and building and housing develops in analogy to the GreenEe2 scenario. However, technologies with a smaller material footprint (measured by RMC) are favored. For example, for photovoltaic (PV) systems an increasing number of roof-top thin-film PV modules are installed, which have a smaller material footprint and land requirements than conventional ground-based PV systems. Similarly, foundations, elevations, and wind towers are designed with durability in mind, so that their service life can be significantly increased. A variety of additional material efficiency measures are implemented. These include, e.g., the light weighting of vehicles, use of alternative materials such as textile-reinforced concrete for construction, widespread use of wooden buildings, or the use of biotic materials as insulating materials in construction. Assumptions with regard to agriculture and healthy diets follow the two GreenEe scenarios. 

Scenario results

The scenario succeeds in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by almost 97 percent by 2050 compared to 1990. If natural sinks are taken into account through sustainable agriculture and forestry (LULUCF ), net zero emissions are achievable. This scenario thus also shows how GHG-neutrality can be achieved in Germany without nuclear energy and technical sinks such as CCS . On the way there, a GHG-reduction of 62.6 percent in 2030 and 81.7 percent in 2040 (calculated without LULUCF) compared to 1990 will be achieved.

The final energy demand (excluding the non-energy demand of the chemical industry) can be reduced from around 2,500 terawatt hours (TWh) (in 2015) to around 1,200 TWh by 2050. The share of renewable energies will rise to 74 percent by 2030 and to 94 percent by 2040. As in the GreenEe scenarios, around 22 TWh of electricity-based fuels (from renewable power) will be imported by 2030, half of which will be used in aviation and half in the chemical industry to produce durable products. The share of renewable energies in the fuel supply is around 7 percent in 2030 and 26 percent in 2040. By 2050, fossil fuels will no longer be used in all areas.

Measures to increase material efficiency and increased energy efficiency, supplemented by an increasing implementation of sustainable lifestyles, have the potential to reduce the use of primary raw materials in the GreenMe scenario by 68 percent by 2050 compared to 2010. This includes, e.g., exploiting the ecological-technical recycling potential, significantly greater material substitution compared to GreenLate and the use of innovative materials such as textile-reinforced concrete and increased timber construction. In addition, it is assumed that also at global level a transformation towards increased materials efficiency takes place (similar to Germany) and that this is reflected in the product imports to Germany.