Joint press release by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Federal Governments offsetting emissions of all official travel and during Germany's EU Council Presidency

business travellers in an airportClick to enlarge
The German Government offsets its business travel to make it climate neutral
Source: Rawpixel.com / Fotolia.de

As in recent years, the German Federal Government and the federal administration once again offset the entirety of its greenhouse gas emissions incurred through official travel in 2019. The Federal Government will acquire and then surrender emission reduction credits, known as CERs, on the basis of international climate action projects. The climate action projects are reviewed and certified according to the UN rules under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The German Environment Agency (UBA) has issued a call to national and international suppliers of climate change projects in order to acquire these credits. The current call for tenders also prepares for the offset of all greenhouse gas emissions that will be produced during the German EU Council Presidency.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said: "We are offsetting the emissions of unavoidable trips by the federal government by investing in internationally exemplary projects in terms of their climate protection. On the way to achieving a climate-neutral federal administration in 2030, we will build on the experiences gained in the current crisis and in future focus even more on virtual meetings. The necessary technology is available, operational, saves time, money and protects the climate. It is particularly important to me that we go a step further from this year onwards and compensate for all emissions from my ministry, not just those incurred by business trips. This is the aim for achieving climate neutrality for the Federal Environment Ministry. In addition, we will offset all emissions generated during Germany's EU Council Presidency by purchasing CERs."

The current purchase of credits offsets emissions amounting to over 347,507 tonnes from motor vehicle journeys and air travel by the Federal Government and the Federal Administration. One credit certifies one avoided tonne of CO2 eq in a climate change project. UBA uses only CDM climate change projects for offsetting purposes, thus guaranteeing their certification under the umbrella of UN rules. CDM projects are checked in particular for their so-called additionality. This means that without CDM support, the project would not have been approved to begin with. It is only then that the emission savings are verifiably 'additional'. Furthermore, the emission reductions are only determined after the project has actually been carried out on the basis of reviews by independent experts and approved by the UN CDM Executive Board.

UBA President Dirk Messner said: "We are focusing in particular on ambitious, sustainable projects that go beyond mere CO2 reduction and offer additional added value for the project countries. These co-benefits serve among others things to improve local air quality, to protect health or to ensure participation in energy and drinking water supply. Quite often, new green jobs are also created in this way."

In addition to calculating and offsetting travel emissions, UBA will offset emissions from the Federal Environment Ministry's operations and from this year's German EU Council Presidency (1 July to 31 December 2020).

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