Thuringia - Decision-making supported by science

Assessment of the territories’ climate action


Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)

Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all the non-State actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies, and actions undertaken by the actors of the territory. In 2019, in order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes 13 new case studies of cities and regions. Here, the case of Thüringen, whose ambitious GHG reduction target is -80 to -95% CO2E in 2050.

To download : climate-chance-2019.pdf (1.5 MiB)

Governance and vertical integration of public policy climate

Thüringen has enshrined its 2030 and 2050 targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the ThürKlimaG, its climate protection law on adaptation to the effects of climate change passed in 2018. The law is to be reviewed every five years, based on indicators such as the leadership of the state government, the number of municipalities with climate and energy plans, and the feasibility of projects. The Integrated Strategy for Energy and Climate Protection has also been developed to support direct sectoral policies with the greatest potential for reducing emissions : energy supply, transport and land use.

Following expert consultation, Thüringen has established an Advisory Council for Climate Protection and Adaptation to Climate Change, which advises the Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation. Legally enshrined in §14 of the ThÜrKlimaG, this council is composed of scientists - appointed for 5 years - from a wide range of specialist fields (hydrogeology, meteorology, biogeochemistry, bioenergy). The Klima-Pavilion is a platform for exchange and discussion on issues related to climate change (adaptation, nutrition, mobility, energy, etc.) on the occasion of exhibitions, conferences and actions that it hosts.

The Land of Thuringia has also set up Klima Invest to subsidise climate measures in municipalities up to €7,500 each initially for the modernisation of street lighting, technical efficiency measures, energy management, renewable energies and skills development.

Monitoring and evaluation of climate policy

Thuringia has clearly reduced its emissions : by 2013, the state had reduced its GHG emissions by 61% (compared to 1990) and by 23% between 2000 and 2015 (Fig. 1). These emissions reductions are largely due to two key sectors : residential and road transport, by -1.21 and -1.27 MtCO2/year respectively from 2000 to 2015.

Energy - 2nd highest rate of renewables in gross energy production in Germany

Although Thuringia accounts for only 1,4 % of total energy production in Germany, 56,9 % of its total energy production is generated from renewables (wind power 22,4 % and biomass 20 %). Renewables account for 24 % of Thuringia’s energy consumption - the second highest share among the Länder. Even though one third of its electricity is imported, Thuringia’s energy production is limited due to its limited fossil fuel resources. But as a signatory to the Under2MoU, Thuringia aims to cover 100 percent of its demand from its own renewable sources from 2040 onwards.

According to Thuringia’s law, the state devotes 1 percent of its total area to the use of wind energy. More than 30,000 photovoltaic systems in households, businesses and municipalities supply around 12 % of Thuringia’s electricity. It is also the Land with the second largest number of energy cooperatives. The Solar Energy Service Centre of ThEGA, the regional energy agency, offers independent advice on such installations and provides access to its Solar Calculator.

366 energy companies in Thuringia have created 60,000 jobs, focusing their work on energy efficiency (26%), solar energy and bioenergy. ThEGA also presents its annual Energy Efficiency Awards : in 2019, the podiums in the categories « Climate Protection in Cities » and « Climate Protection in the City » will be awarded.

«  Energy Efficiency in Companies  » received a total of €30,000. One of the Land’s priorities is to develop a centre of excellence for solar energy production technologies.

Nevertheless, Thüringen has been the scene of opposition to the construction of the SuedLink power line, a major high-voltage line to bring wind power from the north, on the grounds that it refuses to sacrifice natural and cultural landscapes. Several right-wing citizens’ initiatives have also opposed new wind turbines, in a move to oppose the energy transition. In response, the federal government assured that grid extension would be limited to a « necessary level ».

Mobility - Intermodality and Electrification

Thüringen’s climate law is accompanied by an action plan that sets out seven measures to achieve emission reduction targets in the transport sector. The main features of the plan include : bicycle transport on public transport to strengthen intermodal services ; electrification of the railway infrastructure with electric and hydrogen batteries ; optimisation of the frequency and coordination of public transport services ; attractive group fares ; standardisation of billing and access to charging facilities ; trial periods for electric bicycles and cars for commuters.

Thüringen is allocating 20.2% of the ERDF funds available for the project « Optimisation of Public Transport Policies for Green Mobility », which promotes low-carbon mobility, among other things, to reduce CO2 emissions. The project aims to meet all the mobility needs of residents and tourists through intermodal chains, integrating rail travel and electric mobility (including car-sharing).

To reduce its dependence on imports of batteries from outside Europe for vehicles, Thüringen recently signed an agreement with the Chinese company CATL, the world’s largest producer of batteries for electric cars, to build a new made-in-Europe battery manufacturing plant.

Land use - Satellite control for decision-making

Founded in 2011, the Thuringia Climate Agency informs a wide range of interested parties, from administrative offices to education specialists and decision-makers. COKAP, one of the Agency’s projects, uses satellite data from Copernicus and others to produce climate assessments for use in Thuringia’s regional and municipal plans. Satellite measurements of surface temperatures - freely available through Copernicus - provide four datasets helping to aggregate indicators such as «  city heat loads  » or «  summer heat island effects ". Another indicator assessing urban climates on the basis of the same data will soon be made available to future urban plans across the state.

GIS data are discovering further environmental applications for remote sensing, e.g. for monitoring and controlling afforestation to assess forest cover density and project type, in order to map land use across the whole of the state of Thuringia.


IMPAKT II (continuation of IMPAKT, launched in 2013), is an integrated programme detailing 47 actions in all fields affected by climate change requiring adaptation measures. These actions focus on improving databases and models (through research, monitoring and evaluation), developing activity specific measures such as encouraging the agricultural use of adapted varieties, or developing monitoring indicators.

Between 2015 and 2018, ThEGA led the KlimAdapTIT project «  Development of Climate Adaptation Strategies and Technologies in Thuringia , » which helps municipalities to identify necessary measures based on a catalogue of measures designed for urban and rural areas and involving local and regional actors; workshops on health, conservation, construction and civil protection have led to the development of some of these adaptation measures.}


To go further