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According to the study, investing in sustainable measures will have a force multiplier effect

Stuttgart’s bid for Net Zero – the benefits will be seen by the mid-2040s

Stuttgart’s bid for Net Zero – the benefits will be seen by the mid-2040s

According to a new municipal study, Stuttgart can reach carbon neutrality by 2035, but it will cost around 1.5% of its GDP. And the sooner they start investing, the better.

Last week, experts presented the ‘Net-Zero Stuttgart’ study before the city’s council. The study outlines 13 packages of measures for the rapid expansion of sustainable practices and technology, claiming that Stuttgart can reach climate neutrality by 2035.

The study, however, advocates for the combined effort of public institutions, urban society and local businesses to achieve rapid and massive carbon reduction. Despite the large upfront cost, researchers estimate that the investments would more than pay for themselves by the mid-2040s.

The holy trinity of emissions: heat, electricity and transport

The main point of the study is to implement measures to tackle the biggest sources of emissions in the city – electricity, accounting for 47%, heating at 37% and transport at 14%. According to the study, curbing CO2 would take no less than 13 packages of measures, including a push for solar, district heating and heat pumps, as well as a shift in traffic behaviour.

Mayor Frank Nopper explained that the 2035 benchmark is very ambitious and it would take massive efforts from public institutions, private businesses and individual households. At the same time, he explained that expanding sustainability practices should be in tune with social policies and should have an economic incentive.

In a sense, Mayor Nopper said that achieving a just and rapid transition would be the most profitable route, regardless of the environmental benefits.

An investment of 11 billion euros

Of course, ambitious goals cost money and a lot of it. The study estimates that reaching net zero by 2035 requires an additional investment of 11 billion euros. In other words, during the period from 2022 to 2035, the city needs to invest 1.5% of its GDP every year.

According to experts, the investments could be offset by energy savings already in the mid-2040s, while the savings could then cover additional investments in the future, creating a cascading effect.

The study calls for a few central measures to shore up the backbone of the push towards net-zero. One of them calls for quickly involving central actors and the other for sponsoring and stimulating the development of the necessary skills to achieve the expansion. This means organisational transparency, cross-departmental cooperation and finding skilled labour.

According to a statement by the city, while at first reaching climate neutrality would progress slowly, rapid implementation of measures would push it further along. This, in turn, would create a multiplier effect and accelerate the sustainability expansion.

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