Climate protection

Further development of the climate target

We aim to be climate-neutral as early as 2040. This decision, which we made in the first half of 2021, means that we have brought the previous target forward by ten years. This puts our target year well ahead of the target year set by the Federal Government of 2045 for the climate neutrality of ­Germany.

In order to achieve this objective, we will be powering our plants, stations and office buildings in Germany with 100% eco-power from 2025. In addition, we will make our heating supply “green” and gradually replace fossil fuels such as heating oil and natural gas. Increased energy efficiency is also expected to reduce consumption.

We are also emitting fewer greenhouse gases thanks to much younger train fleets in long-distance, regional and freight transport, as well as capital expenditures in green technologies. We are continuing to advance our ongoing activities to develop and use alternative drive units and fuels. Technology-independent pilot projects, together with partners from industry, are also focusing on greener local transport on road and rail. Plans include changing DB Regional Bus’s bus fleet to one that uses more climate-friendly fuels, constructing new infrastructure for battery-powered trains, supplying hydrogen for fuel cell trains, and using alternative fuels on road and rail.

Digitalizing the rail industry and upgrading technical equipment, such as for maintenance, will also have a positive impact on our carbon footprint.

Further information on specific environmental measures can be found in the chapter Development of business units.

Climate resilience strategy

We are preparing for future extreme weather conditions with our climate resilience strategy. A key basis for the Group-wide package of measures is a study we commissioned to be conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung; PIK). For the study, the PIK analyzed weather data from 1961 to 2020, and using the results made projections on possible climate developments for the period 2031 to 2060.

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Implementation of the Climate Action Program 2030

On the basis of the Federal Governmentʼs Climate Action Program 2030, additional Federal funds totaling € 11 billion will be made available by 2030 to strengthen the rail system. At the end of January 2020, the Federal Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium der Finanzen; BMF) and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur; BMVI), as well as DB AG, DB Netz AG, DB Station&Service AG and DB Energie GmbH, had agreed on the inflow and use of the funds in a joint letter of intent. The funds will be used exclusively for infrastructure; half of it will be paid as equity and half as grants to DB Netz AG and DB Station&Service AG. In terms of content, the funds will be used in the categories of robust network, digital rail, attractive stations and economically self-­reliant infrastructure measures. The funds that are to be used to increase equity are subject to an agreement with the European Commission in line with state aid law, which was not concluded in 2020. Therefore the respective funds for 2020 were transferred to the Federal budget 2021.

Amendment to the German Federal Climate Protection Act

On April 28, 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court published a resolution on the Climate Protection Act, which confirms the admissibility of the fixing of targets for reducing greenhouse gas and emissions limits. At the same time, it calls for the targets to be made more ambitious and the requirements for the period after 2030 to be made more specific. In compliance with this requirement, the German Parliament has passed an amendment to the law. The targets for national greenhouse gas reduction for 2030 will be increased from –55% to –65%. At –88% a specific target for 2040 was set for the first time. Germany’s target year for climate neutrality is being brought forward from 2050 to 2045. For transport, the annual maximum amount of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced from its previous level of 95 million to 85 million tons of CO₂ equivalents in 2030. Emissions must therefore fall by 48% instead of the previous 42%. A year-by-year national reduction path to 2040 was included. The new targets will require additional climate protection measures, including those to strengthen rail transport.