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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.

German diet is a strain on the climate

Eine Vielzahl von abgepacktem und rohem Fleisch

Meat and non-seasonal produce with long hauling distances in particular continue to be a strain on the environment and the climate, according to data in the Umwelt, Haushalte und Konsum brochure by the German Environment Agency (UBA). UBA's President Maria Krautzberger said, "We will only be able to achieve our climate protection goals if we reconsider our consumer habits in earnest." read more

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Efficient space and water heaters

a cat is sleeping on a radiator

New EU regulations make heating units and water heaters more sustainable and provide guidelines for new purchases. The regulations specify a gradual establishment of limit values for energy efficiency and emissions and introduce energy labelling requirements. read more

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Who is doing what in the Energiewende?

eine Frau und ein Mann mit blauen Bau-Schutzhelmen stehen mit einem Tablet und Papierunterlagen in der Hand auf einer Wiese und zeigen auf eine Windkraftanlage

Germany's Energiewende is a complex, large-scale project. The tasks and measures by which to achieve it are manifold and diverse, as reflected by the many active players in Germany. The publication "Who is who of the Energiewende in Germany – Contact Partners in Politics, Industry and Society", published by the Foreign Office in German and English, provides an overview. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment