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Climate protection

Climate protection target

We refined our climate protection target as early as 2021: we will be climate-neutral by 2040. Our target year is therefore five years ahead of the Federal Government’s target year for Germany becoming climate-neutral.

To achieve this target, we rely on three strong levers:

  • expanding eco-power,
  • phasing out fossil fuels and introducing alternative drives, and
  • entering the heat transition.

From 2025, all of our depots, office buildings and stations no. 147 n Germany will be fully eco-powered. By 2030, we will more than halve our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared with 2006 and increase the share of renewable energies in the traction current mix to 80%. And by 2038 at the latest, we will switch our traction current to 100% eco-power. As we move toward a climate-neutral DB Group, we no longer want to use fossil fuels. Around 90% of our volume sold in rail passenger and freight transport is operated on electricity already. We also focus on an approach that includes being open to new technologies, using alternative drives and fuels. Pilot projects, together with partners from industry, are also focusing on green local transport on road and rail. Plans include changing the bus fleet to one that uses more climate-friendly fuels, constructing new infrastructure for battery.powere trains no. 45 supplying hydrogen no. 53 for fuel cell trains, and using alternative fuels on road and rail. From summer 2022, the Sylt Shuttle will be fueled with the climate-friendly Biofuel HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil)no. 164. The continuous roll-out of driver assitance systems no. 8 

at DB Regional, for example, or the use of longer trains at DB Cargo are helping us to further reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency. 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 sustainable technologies. In addition, we will make the heat supply greener by gradually replacing heating systems operated with fossil energy sources with climate-neutral alternatives after the end of their life cycle.

The Digitalization of the rail system no. 145 and trains and capital expenditures in our infrastructure are also having a positive impact on our climate footprint and our contribution to climate protection. In this way we can lay the foundations for the shift in the mode of transport toward climate-friendly rail services.

Further information on individual climate protection measures can be found in the chapter Development of the business units.

Climate resilience

As an infrastructure operator, we are more heavily impacted than any other major company in Germany by the effects of cli­­­­mate change in our core business area, the railway in Germany. We are therefore preparing for the increasingly extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. We are using this scientific data from the studies we commissioned with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to strategically refine our climate resilience management and, above all, to prepare our infrastructure, vehicles and stations to an even greater extent so that they can withstand the impact of climate change more effectively.

Relief Package

In view of the sharp rise in energy prices, the Federal Govern­ment has decided to ease the burden. This eliminates the surcharge under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-­Energien-Gesetz; EEG) of July 1, 2022, which previously served to promote electricity generation from renewable energies. Funding to promote renewable energies under the EEG will be financed from the Federal budget from July 1, 2022, onwards.

In order to take the burden off German citizens, energy taxes on mineral oil were reduced for the months of June, July and August 2022, and a 9-Euro-Ticket was introduced for use on all regional passenger transport services. In order to finance the 9-Euro-Ticket, the German Regionalization Act was amended and the funds topped up by a one-off amount of € 2.5 billion.

In a further package of relief measures, the Federal Government is providing credit and guarantee schemes for companies affected by the war in Ukraine. Equity support can also be provided for “large companies in the real economy across all sectors.” Energy-intensive companies are to receive temporary grants due to the rise in energy prices. In this case, the price differential in excess of a doubling of the natural gas and electricity price is subsidized on a pro rata basis. This is based on the Temporary Crisis Framework of the Euro­pean Commission. Energy companies trading on commodity futures exchanges are to receive liquidity support in order to be able to meet the security requirements of the energy exchanges.

New Immediate Climate Action Program 

The coalition agreement of the Federal Government states that the Climate Change Act is to be consistently refined in 2022 and a new immediate climate action program is to be launched with all the necessary laws, regulations and measures.

As part of the Immediate Climate Action Program, a first amendment was passed to amend the EEG and other laws. The aims included:

  • the massive expansion of renewable energies with a target proportion of 80% of electricity consumption by 2030,
  • accelerated planning and approval procedures by giving priority to renewable energies in the assessment of protected goods, and
  • the EEG surcharge is to be financed by the Federal budget and no longer by a surcharge in addition to the electricity price.

On July 13, 2022, the BMDV presented an Immediate Action Program for the Transport Sector in accordance with the requirements of the German Federal Climate Change Act. This was necessary as the transport sector exceeded the permitted annual emissions volume in 2021. The development and expansion of the refueling and charging infrastructure for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the expansion of the promotion of efficient truck trailers, an expansion initiative for cycle infrastructure, an expansion and quality initiative in local public transport, the expansion of digital forms of work and the adjustment of the national greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction rate should ensure compliance with the climate targets in the transport sector in future.

The Federal Government is continuing to work on the cross-sectoral Immediate Climate Action Program. The aforementioned measures are to be integrated into this program.

Natural gas supply crisis

Against the backdrop of greatly reduced exports of Russian natural gas to the EU, the BMWK raised the alert level (second warning level) of the Gas Emergency Plan on June 23, 2022. In addition, numerous legislative changes have already been enacted to secure the energy supply. Under Germany’s Energy Industry Law, coal-fired power plants that had already been shut down, or that are planned to do so shortly, may now return to the electricity market. In addition, the consumption of natural gas for electricity may be limited. However, due to their great importance to the system as a whole, power plants for producing traction current are to be excluded from this. On the basis of the amended Energy Protection Act, natural gas suppliers may make extraordinary price adjustments in the event of a limited import situation. Finally, the Federal Government is authorized to introduce a new surcharge for the general financing of high gas costs. In order to avoid a crisis, the Federal Government is authorized to draw up a regulation on the rail-based transport of energy sources. This is intended to facilitate prioritized use of such transport services and to ensure that this is done in a legally compliant manner. The aim of the LNG Acceleration Act (LNG-­Beschleunigungsgesetz) is to significantly accelerate the construction and operation of new terminals and lines for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany.




2022 (Mar
2022 (Jul
Specific greenhouse gas emissions
compared to 2006 1) (%)




1) Excluding DB Arriva

  • Our expectations for the reduction of specific greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2006 have increased significantly due to more positive developments in land transport, particularly at DB Schenker, as well as in air and ocean freight.

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