In 2013, Germany’s newly elected government decided to define an emissions reduction pathway with a final target of 80 to 95 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 1990 baseline by 2050 and, to that end, develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP). Because of the envisioned societal consequences, the new government decided to develop the CAP in a participatory manner. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment set up a comprehensive public dialogue process to underpin the plan with concrete measures and secure broad legitimacy.
The scope of the dialogue process was unprecedented in Germany. It involved not only “traditional” stakeholders from the German policy making context (federal states and municipalities, industry and civil society) but also “ordinary” citizens. From June 2015 until March 2016, representatives from federal states, municipalities, associations and citizens came together to compile a joint catalogue of proposals for the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. The catalogue was subsequently used to inform the drafting process of the Climate Action Plan, alongside other technical reports and recommendations. The final Climate Action Plan 2015 was adopted in November 2016.