Low carbon transitions have been predominantly analysed using quantitative methods, mostly building on present and forecasted data of social metabolism. This paper addresses both the economic and social dimensions of low carbon emissions by analysing the presence of socio-environmental conflicts in Germany. These conflicts appear to be a consequence of unsustainable policies targeting firms' planning and behaviour, mainly based on neoclassical economic thinking and various stakeholder groups that oppose carbon intensive businesses. By applying a Delphi Method with 18 experts, the authors analyse 117 socio-environmental conflicts (e.g. derived from extractive activity, energy production, and infrastructure projects) in Germany. Most of these conflicts include the struggle of various society groups to achieve a low carbon economy but also a more equitable society. The analyses presented in this paper shows that Germany provides both the best and the worse of achieving low carbon paths: a significant investment into renewable energy, but also a strong dependency on lignite which supplies the most polluting power stations of Europe. By addressing the problem from a historical perspective, the authors demonstrate how carbon intensive extractive activity has been one of the major causes for environmental activism and protest in both socialist and capitalist societies.