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Climate | Energy

Climate change brought about by the sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial era is a global challenge that the community of nations is hoping can be mastered via an effective international climate protection treaty that is slated to take effect in 2020. The top priority in this regard is greenhouse gas emission reductions. The goal of German energy policy is to reduce such emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. The measures in this regard aim to increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

If we are to have any hope of reducing greenhouse gases, we will need to substantially roll back energy use, improve energy efficiency and at the same time ramp up renewable energy production and use. To leverage this potential, we need to institute efficiency measures and optimize renewable energy technologies. But to do this, it is crucial that economic, infrastructure and political obstacles be overcome.

What is the key to the success of climate protection measures? Timely, sustainable infrastructure investments worldwide that will create conditions early on and in a timely manner that will be conducive to adherence to the two degree ceiling. Hence transformation of our economic systems and their underlying socioeconomic structures (energy systems, urbanization and land use) will need to begin at the national level, and then continue based on an across the board sustainable-development paradigm on the global level. As a society, we need to be very clear about the fact that climate protection cannot and will not be achieved through technical solutions alone, and will instead necessitate fundamental transformation of our lifestyles, "mentalités", and values.

In the interest of moving toward achieving these goals, in 2010 the German government adopted an ambitious energy infrastructure transformation program that sets a long term strategy for German energy and climate policy. We at the UBA are supporting this process through our own investigations of long term scenarios aimed at energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy, and energy-infrastructure transformation monitoring. To this end, we are implementing instruments such as carbon trading, the guarantee of origin register, and the "Blauer Engel" seal of environmental quality.

Accelerating the Resource Revolution – World Resources Forum 2017

Menschen tauschen sich auf einer Konferenz aus.

Two years after two historic global agreements – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – the World Resources Forum Association invites leaders from government, business, research and NGOs to Geneva to talk about how to accelerate the Resource Revolution. How should we manage, coordinate, finance, track progress, and communicate about it? read more

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Federal employees continue to travel climate-friendly

business travellers in an airport

Emission reduction credits (ERCs) from high-quality international climate change mitigation projects will continue to compensate the official travel by German federal employees. The Federal Government plans to purchase more than 235,000 ERCs which will then be cancelled. ERCs for emissions in 2015 were purchased earlier this year. The next compensation procedure for 2016 emissions will now follow. read more

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Public health in the course of climate change: Master plan for heat waves

Heruntergelassene Jalousien

High temperatures and heat waves are adding up to public health problems – and the impact of climate change is becoming more noticeable also in Germany. The federal states and local authorities can draft and implement heat wave action plans to protect public health. The German Environment Agency (UBA) has developed a master plan in collaboration with many experts from various disciplines.  read more

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Emissions trading: Emissions reductions in Germany only minimal

furnace

The roughly 1,900 fixed installations participating in emissions trading in 2016 had emissions worth 453 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents, or 0.6 per cent less than in 2015. The lower emissions in the emissions trading sector thus did not offset the 3.8-per cent increase over 2015 in Germany’s transport sector emissions which the UBA had calculated in its short-term forecast. read more

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"Wounds" have healed – Water quality of mine lakes has good status

landscape with mine lake

Many mine lakes have the potential to develop very good water quality and they are often cleaner than natural lakes. However, lignite remains the dirtiest of all sources of energy. In 2014 alone lignite caused environmental damage in the amount of 16.8 billion euros. A phase-out of lignite-fired electricity is urgently needed. read more

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2015 greenhouse gas emissions indicate a slight decrease for second year in a row

Eine Solaranlage auf freien Feld, im Hintergrund drehen sich Windkrafträder

Germany recorded total emissions of 901.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents for 2015, which is 2.3 million tonnes (0.3%) less than in 2014 and 27.9% less than in 1990. This data is based on calculations which the German Environment Agency (UBA) has reported to the European Commission. The greatest reductions were achieved in the energy industries (11.8 million tonnes). read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment