A safe return to a 1° world is not only necessary, but possible and economically sensible.

In order to bring Earth to safe Holocene levels below 350 ppm atmospheric CO2, and 1° C warming above pre-industrial levels, a plan for a concerted economic and social transformation towards a fossil-free future is needed.

We are proving this can be achieved with 100% affordable clean energy, clean materials and greener, more diverse landscapes acting as carbon sinks, all on time to avoid overshooting tipping points.

What is the Holocene?

The Holocene is a world with a CO2 concentration of less than 350 ppm, which corresponds to a temperature of less than 1°C above the reference period 1850-1900 before the industrial revolution.

This is necessary for human society to live safely on Earth (planetary boundary). Human civilization has flourished during the last 10,000 years in this very stable climate period - the Holocene.

Right now we are well off the mark. Current global policy is projected to result in about 2.7°C warming above pre-industrial levels.

"We are on the highway to climate hell" 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 2022 World Climate Conference

Figure is from A short history of the successes and failures of the international climate change negotiations by Mark Maslin, John Lang and Fiona Harvey under the CC-BY license. Figure has been modified by the Holocene Project team.

Negotiations failing big

In the last 30 years the amount of human-emitted CO2 has doubled, representing a collective failure of the world’s leaders to rise to Margaret Thatcher’s 1989 global call to action
- John Lang and Fiona Harvey

Current governmental plans to stop the Earth further heating up are by far insufficient. Humanity needs an effective plan which can be deployed on time.

The geographical distribution of global and regional tipping elements, color-coded according to the best estimate for their temperature thresholds, beyond which the element would likely be 'tipped'. Figure designed at PIK under the CC-BY license, based on Armstrong McKay et al., Science (2022), modified by EduClimate.org with the text in red.

On the way to 2.7° we risk irreversible change

Many tipping elements in the Earth‘s system are close to their temperature thresholds. Once surpassed, a further increase in the average temperature of the Earth will become irreversible, with catastrophic consequences. Climate scientists declare 1° as the planetary boundary. 

"Please help me, show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves."

COP28 president Ahmed al-Jaber at an online event on 21 November hosted by She Changes Climate

Cutting-edge models

The Holocene Project team has assembled world-leading scientists and institutions to develop cutting-edge energy and carbon-sink models, considering a wide array of proven technologies and addressing social needs

This Holocene Study will allow us to compute optimal collaborative paths to less than 350 ppm and 1 ° warming that are both economically and socially viable for 800 regions across the globe. We will propose these tailored strategies to key policymakers around the world, paving the way for comprehensive and effective social transition. 

This kind of work has not yet been done on such a granular and global scale, but is absolutely necessary to facilitate the timely phase-out of fossil fuels and reduction of CO2 concentration, preventing irreversible climate breakdown

The Holocene Study

The Holocene Study is a collaboration between some of the most capable researchers globally, with the objective to find a timely global, efficient, low investment pathway to

It is the only one of its kind pursuing a CO2 concentration in the atmosphere of 350 ppm, while minimising the risks of the tipping points. It is also unique in having global net-zero emission targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040, which increases the probability of staying under 1,5° global warming. 

The study will enable policy makers in all regions to implement accelerated zero emission roadmaps to 350 ppm incorporating: 

The solar energy potential (23,000 TW) alone is more than 1,000 times the current energy consumption worldwide (16 TW). The combination of wind, solar and storage energy is already the cheapest energy available!

"The door is still open for a safe landing of humanity"

Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström at Senckenberg Distinguished Lecture in November 2023

The Holocene Project strives to be a transformative force in international negotiations. 

By showcasing that global sustainable transformation is not only still possible but actually economically sensible, we aim to redefine the narrative and inspire positive action worldwide.

To achieve this, the Holocene Project needs an annual funding commitment of $2.1 million for 2024, and additionally $3,3 yearly for 2025-2029.

 Institutions of the Holocene Study

 Scientists of the Holocene Study

Prof. Dr. Ing. Christian Breyer

is leading the further development of LUT-ESTM to version 2.0, including carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.

Prof. Dr. Christian von Hirschhausen and
Dr. Konstantin Löffler

are leading the needed enhancements of GENeSYS-MOD, which is an application of OSeMOSYS.

Prof. Dr. David Chiaramonti

from the Politecnico di Torino University is leading the implementation of natural carbon sink modelling in cooperation with Purdue University.

Prof. Dr. Pao-Yu Oei

is leading the socioeconomic analysis in multiple dimensions, focusing on research and education on the transition from fossil energy towards 100% renewable energy.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dalheimer

is co-leading the global modeling of natural carbon sinks.

Dr. Christoph Gerhards

is co-leading the further development of LUT-ESTM to version 2.0, including carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.

 People and institutions backing up 

Prof. Dr. Claudia Kemfert

is the head of the Energy, Transport and Environment Department at the German Institute for Economic Research and Professor at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

Hans-Josef Fell

is a former member of the German Parliament and author of the first draft of the successful German Renewable Energy Act  (EEG), which has been replicated in many other countries and boosted the renewable technology worldwide. Nowadays renewable electricity is the cheapest.

Prof. Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson

is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program, senior fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment, senior fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy, and co-founder of The Solutions Project and the 100% Clean, Renewable Energy Movement.

People backing up

Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber

Prof. Dr. Andrew Blakers

is a Professor of Engineering at the Australian National University. He has published approximately 300 papers and patents in the areas of silicon photovoltaic solar cells and solar energy systems and led the team that developed PERC silicon solar cell technology, which currently has approximately 30% of the worldwide solar market and cumulative module sales of around $30 billion (mid-2018). 

Jochen Wermuth

is an economist and climate impact investor committed to investing in large-scale projects with positive impacts on reversing climate change. He is the managing partner of Wermuth Asset Management GmbH, co-founder of the $40 trillion DivestInvest investor organization, serves on the Investment Committee of Germany’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, KENFO, and is the Chair of Solar Foundry.