Joint press release by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment

Professor Dirk Messner is new President of the German Environment Agency

Environment minister Schulze: “Strong environmental policy requires independent scientific expertise with vision”

On 1st January, Professor Dirk Messner succeeded Maria Krautzberger, who had held the office for five years and retired at the end of last year. Federal Environment Minister Schulze congratulated the internationally renowned sustainability researcher at his inauguration today, attended by staff of the German Environment Agency in Dessau.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said, “With Dirk Messner as its new President, the German Environment Agency carries on the tradition of entrusting independent experts with vision to serve as President. His global expertise and connections are without parallel in terms of combining sustainable development, environment and policy advice on sustainability research. Dirk Messner is the right man at the right time to act as President of the German Environment Agency because the solutions to the greatest challenges of our age – climate change and the extinction of species – must be developed and networked at global level. He has already provided crucial stimulus for German and international environmental policy with the idea of a “great transformation” – of our economy and society, in social and ecological terms – and in the area of sustainable digitalisation. I believe it is important to see that the transformation to a greenhouse gas-neutral society is a chance to link economy, ecology and the social dimension. We must take advantage of this chance."

Minister Schulze emphasised, "Environmental protection requires majorities and support from society. I look forward to winning that support with Dirk Messner at the helm of the German Environment Agency and to jointly promote the great transformation of our economy and society. The heated debates of recent years have proven that facts and education about environmental protection are needed now more than ever – whether about the climate crisis, air, soil or water pollution, or sustainable chemistry. Strong environmental policy needs the independent scientific expertise of the German Environment Agency – especially in times of polarizing environmental policy debate.”

Dirk Messner said, “All the issues that the German Environment Agency works on are now at the very top of the political agenda – climate action, the future of mobility, plastics in the environment, to name a few. We are embarking on a decade to set the course for these issues. We must put the Agency in the best possible position for the upcoming years because time is running out in many areas, not least of all with regard to climate action. As Europe’s largest environmental authority, the German Environment Agency can and must provide the stimulus and take the lead in national and European environmental policy. We are in a good position to do so, and my aim is to grow these networks. As a scientific sustainability institution, we bear a responsibility to society, something that was already laid down in the Establishment Act of the German Environment Agency. We want to exercise our roles as providers of early warning, caution, and problem solving. We also want to provide more effective advice to policy-makers and society so that they can go beyond what is immediately feasible and take on what is necessary to avoid the onset of irreversible environmental crises. Together with the excellent staff at the German Environment Agency, I am convinced that we will be successful. I look forward to this task."

Environment Minister Schulze thanked the past President, Maria Krautzberger, for her solution-oriented approach and for the concrete proposals which were the trademarks of her environmental policy advice on key issues for the Federal Environment Ministry. Her milestones include: proposals for environmentally friendly mobility for liveable cities; clean air campaigns; information about nitrogen emissions during the diesel debate; sustainable agriculture and the contributions made to the insect protection action programme and the campaign to stop the use of plant protection products harmful to biodiversity; nitrogen balancing and the resulting costs of excessive nitrate levels in drinking water; and the internationalization drive at the German Environment Agency.

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau
Germany