No.: 1/2024Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Welcome to the new issue of “UBA aktuell”

It is now 50 years since the German Environment Agency was founded. Reason enough to look back on the successes achieved, but also on the challenges that still remain. In this issue of the newsletter, we start with the topic “50 years of noise protection”. We also look, among other things, at our energy supply. For the first time, more than half of the electricity in Germany is renewable! This is also good news for e-mobility. The climate benefits of e-cars are becoming ever greater, as current study results show. It is also interesting to analyse the impact of the trend that more and more people will no longer work in their employer's office building, but from home or in co-working spaces. And what impact will cryptocurrencies have on the environment? We would also like to present our latest analysis, which shows that climate protection is also possible without nuclear energy.

We hope you find it an interesting read,

The Press Office of the German Environment Agency

50 years of noise protection: Successes and challenges

A man covers his ears on a busy city street
Noise can have a physical and psychological impact on health.
Source: Martin Schmied / UBA

Noise is not only annoying – it can also make people permanently ill and, at worst, even lead to heart attacks and strokes. This is why the UBA has been dealing with noise since its foundation. It has always played a key role in the development and implementation of measures to protect against noise in Germany and Europe. On the occasion of our 50th anniversary in 2024, we are taking a look back.

Much has been achieved since 1974. Today, we know quite precisely the effects of noise and how much noise is acceptable in terms of health. The regularly conducted UBA Environmental Awareness Study, noise impact studies and the noise mapping of the EU Environmental Noise Directive show which noise sources affect people the most. Thanks to the efforts of the UBA, machines and equipment that repeatedly led to complaints in 1974, such as lawnmowers, construction machinery and municipal vehicles, are now much quieter. However, there is still a great need for action when it comes to road traffic. Around one in four people in Germany are exposed to more road traffic noise than what is acceptable from a health perspective. Car engines have become much quieter due to regulations, technical progress and better insulation. On the other hand, there are significantly more, larger, heavier, faster and more powerful cars on the roads today than there were 50 years ago.

The UBA's work on noise effects and noise reduction ranges from traffic, machinery and products to industrial plants. Since its foundation, the UBA has been researching and promoting innovative technologies and methods for noise reduction in order to create and further develop customised advices, guidelines and laws. In some cities, for example, there are now so-called “quiet areas” that are protected by law. The UBA also assesses the noise impact of each new flight route at airports in Germany to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on local residents.

The past 50 years have been characterised by significant milestones in noise protection. Nevertheless, there is still “a considerable need for action on a local, national and European level to significantly reduce the risk of people becoming ill from noise,” UBA President Dirk Messner points out. The anniversary of the German Environment Agency is therefore not only an occasion to celebrate, but above all a call to continue our joint efforts. In the future, the UBA will continue its work to make the environment more liveable and quieter for future generations.

Climate / energy

Installation of a Photovoltaic system on a roof

Climate protection is also possible without nuclear energy

A recent analysis of global climate scenarios commissioned by the German Environment Agency shows that nuclear energy is not necessary to achieve the climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Instead, it is the rapid and targeted expansion of renewable energies that is crucial to advancing climate protection and the energy transition. read more

Grafik mit der Aufschrift "Bundespreis Blauer Kompass – Jetzt mit Ihrem Projekt bewerben!" in weißen Buchstaben auf einem blau-grünen Hintergrund. Oben rechts sind die Logos des Bundesumweltministeriums und des Umweltbundesamtes zu sehen.

Federal “Blue Compass” award launches in new round of competition

As of today, projects can once again apply for the “Blue Compass” federal award – the highest state award in Germany for projects to adapt to the consequences of climate change. The award is aimed at local authorities, private and municipal companies, educational and research institutions as well as clubs, associations and foundations. The deadline for applications is March 22, 2024. read more

Cover des Fact Sheets "Tipping points and cascading tipping dynamics in the climate"

Tipping points and cascading tipping dynamics in the climate system


This factsheet summarizes the results and content of the background paper on the project "Tipping points and cascading tipping dynamics in the climate system - findings, risks and relevance for climate and security policy". It thus offers a compact overview of all relevant aspects of tipping elements, tipping points and possible cascading effects that need to be taken into account when discussi...read more

Series
fact sheet
Number of pages
4
Year of publication
Cover des Fact Sheets "Sustainability criteria for carbon dioxide removals"

Sustainability criteria for carbon dioxide removals

Requirements for sustainability criteria in the EU CRCF proposal and elements to be included in a delegated act


In November 2022, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation for a Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF). The principles laid out in the CRCF proposal of the European Commission and the proposed amendments by Council and European Parliament set minimum sustainability criteria. They are vague and require specification into executable criteria for certification. This ...read more

Series
fact sheet
Number of pages
11
Year of publication
Cover of report "Adapting CDM methodologies for use under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement"

Adapting CDM methodologies for use under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement


This study assesses whether existing international carbon market methodologies for determination of additionality and baselines and monitoring, particularly those from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), can be adjusted to transition to the Article 6.4 mechanism. CDM methodologies need to be modified to align with the more rigorous requirements of Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement. Differen...read more

Series
Climate Change
Number of pages
158
Year of publication
Cover of report "Lessons Learned from the Kyoto Mechanisms for the Article 6.4 Mechanism"

Lessons Learned from the Kyoto Mechanisms for the Article 6.4 Mechanism


The report summarizes key lessons learned from the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) for the new Article 6.4 mechanism of the Paris Agreement. The report first provides an overview of the issuance and use of carbon credits under these mechanisms. This is followed by an assessment of what elements of the existing mechanisms could be transferred to t...read more

Series
Climate Change
Number of pages
72
Year of publication
Cover of report "Analysis of the role of Article 6 in Parties’ NDCs"

Analysis of the role of Article 6 in Parties’ NDCs


This fact sheet surveys the role of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (PA) in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that Parties have submitted to the UNFCCC. The findings indicate that there is in general considerable openness towards Article 6, with the intention to buy ITMOs or A6.4ERs being much more limited than to sell such units. The distribution between sellers vs. buyers largel...read more

Series
Climate Change
Number of pages
17
Year of publication
Cover des Berichts "Supply and demand in the ETS 2 - Assessment of the new EU ETS for road transport, buildings and other sectors"

Supply and demand in the ETS 2

Assessment of the new EU ETS for road transport, buildings and other sectors


The study looks at the functioning of the new emission trading system for road transport, buildings, and small installations (ETS 2) in the EU. It explains the rules governing the supply of allowances including the functioning of the market stability reserve (MSR) and the price containment mechanisms. Furthermore, it assesses the balance of supply and demand as well as auctioning revenues under...read more

Series
Climate Change
Number of pages
46
Year of publication

For the first time, more than half of Germany's electricity is renewable

More electricity from solar and wind energy mean that the share of renewable energies in electricity consumption in Germany rose to over 50 per cent for the first time in 2023. There were also some positive developments in heating and transport in 2023. read more (in German)

Energy consumption in 2022 at second-lowest level since 1990

The latest data from the Working Group on Energy Balances (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen e.V.) show that energy consumption in Germany fell to a new low in 2022. Since 1990, only 2020, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, has seen lower energy consumption. Saving energy pays off and makes a significant contribution to climate protection. Effective policy instruments will also be needed in the future to maintain this success. read more (in German)

Health

The picture shows a room with an open-plan kitchen.

Assessment of construction products emissions EU-wide possible

Construction products for interior work can be a significant source of pollutants in indoor air. In order to better protect human health, UBA has been working with a group of experts since 2011 to develop common assessment standards across Europe. The first complete list of substances and associated evaluations (EU LCI values) was published in November 2023. read more

Discovery of a plasticiser in urine samples – Questions & Answers

In its press release of 31 January 2024, the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia (LANUV) reported the discovery of mono-n-hexyl phthalate (MnHexP) in urine samples from children. Since then, the German Environment Agency (UBA) has also received an increasing number of enquiries on the subject. The most frequently asked questions and our answers are therefore summarised below. read more (in German)

UMID 02/2023: No risk from radioactivity in drinking water

The cover topic of the new issue is drinking water as a common good with regard to the occurrence of radioactive substances and their effects on human health. Also in the current issue: New version of DIN 19643: Treatment of swimming and bathing pool water, SRU report: Cities as centres of action for health-related environmental protection, concepts for synergised noise protection. read more (in German)

Symposium “Indoor air 2024”

From 6 to 8 May 2024, the symposium “Innenraumluft 2024 - Messen, Bewerten und Gesundes Wohnen” (“Indoor Air 2024 – Measuring, Evaluating and Healthy Living”) will take place at the German Environment Agency in Dessau-Roßlau. Among other things, the symposium will present the latest scientific developments in indoor air hygiene, results on toxicological issues, case studies from expert practice and recommendations from the Indoor Air Hygiene Commission. read more (in German)

Chemicals

Cover of the brochure "Pollutants of the PRTR - Situation in Germany - Reporting years 2007 - 2022" of the Umweltbundesamt

Pollutants of the PRTR - Situation in Germany - Reporting years 2007 - 2022


This publication provides an overview about data of the German PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register). For each pollutant, the number of reported facilities and their releases to air, water and land and their off-site transfer in waste water are clearly displayed. Data for industrial sectors of the current reporting year 2022 are summarized in tables while their developments since 2007 ...read more

Series
brochure / flyer
Number of pages
110
Year of publication
Cover des Berichts "Trifluoroacetate (TFA): Laying the foundations for effective mitigation"

Trifluoroacetate (TFA): Laying the foundations for effective mitigation

Spatial analysis of the input pathways into the water cycle


Trifluoroacetate (TFA) is a very persistent and highly mobile substance that can accumulate in certain environmental compartments. TFA cannot be removed using conventional water treatment methods. Although, according to current knowledge, the acute toxicity of TFA is low, inputs of TFA into water bodies should be avoided as far as possible. In this project Germany-wide TFA pollution and its sou...read more

Series
Texte
Number of pages
75
Year of publication
Cover des Berichts "Understanding of ‘negligible exposure’ in international science, policy and law, and qualification of the term in relation to the exposure of endocrine substances to the environment"

Understanding of ‘negligible exposure’ in international science, policy and law, and qualification of the term in relation to the exposure of endocrine substances to the environment

To support the interpretation of 3.8.2 of Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009


The term “negligible exposure” to endocrine disruptors has been clarified in context of European plant protection product regulations. For this purpose, a research of scientific, policy and legal literature was performed. Definitions of “negligible exposure” were extracted from publications related to (chemical) substances in the environment. Findings were grouped into narrative, qualitative, a...read more

Series
Umwelt & Gesundheit
Number of pages
96
Year of publication
Cover des Berichts "Intermediate uses of petroleum and coal substances - a regulatory issue?"

Intermediate uses of petroleum and coal substances - a regulatory issue?

Environmental emission assessment of substances of very high concern from petroleum and coal fractions in intermediates


This study explores the intermediate uses of 53 petroleum and coal stream (PetCo) substances, focusing on 15 marker constituents with properties of concern such as carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, reprotoxicity, persistence, bioaccumulation, and endocrine disruption. It investigates the potential for these constituents to transfer during intermediate use into the new substance or product and into...read more

Series
Texte
Number of pages
99
Year of publication

Transport

Electric cars registered in 2020 are around 40 per cent more climate-friendly than cars with petrol engines.

Climate benefit for electric cars confirmed

Vehicles have an impact on the environment and climate not only during operation, but also during production and disposal. According to a recent study commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA), electric cars registered in 2020 are around 40 per cent more climate-friendly than cars with petrol engines. read more

airplane

Climate Impact of Aviation

Scientific knowledge, Developments and Measures


Aviation affects the climate. Combustion of kerosene fuel results in carbon dioxide (CO2), but also other climate-impacting substances whose effects are referred to as "non-CO2 climate effects". What are these substances and how strong are their effects? How strong would the climate impact of air traffic be in the future if flying continues to grow as hitherto? How can the impact of air traffic...read more

Series
brochure / flyer
Number of pages
28
Year of publication

Conference “UBA Forum mobile & sustainable 2024” on freight transport

In mid-June 2024, the “UBA Forum mobil & nachhaltig 2024” (“UBA Forum mobile & sustainable”) on freight transport will take place in Berlin, where strategies and visions will be exchanged, commented on and further developed. The brochure with the German Environment Agency's vision and recommendations for action for environmentally friendly freight transport will also be presented at this event. Registration is now open. read more (in German)

EMW online seminar on the EMW theme for 2024 “Shared Public Space”

The National Coordination Office of EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK (EMW) at the German Environment Agency invites interested municipalities and other EMW stakeholders to this year's first EMW online seminar on 5 March 2024. The virtual meeting will focus on the official theme of this year's EMW: “Shared Public Space – Using Street Space Together”. read more (in German)

Economy / consumption

A photovoltaic system is installed on the roof of a warehouse

How to improve the International Standard on carbon neutrality

The International Organization for Standardizations (ISO) last year published the first standard on carbon neutrality of organizations and products. In a new factsheet, the German Environment Agency (UBA) outlines its strength and shortcomings and draws some conclusions relevant to companies, verifiers, courts and policymakers. read more

After scanning a QR code on a sweater, a smartphone displays information about the product

Closing event of the project „Product Information 4.0“

On March 5, 2024, the closing event for the "Product Information 4.0" project will take place in cooperation with "CIRPASS", "Battery Pass" and representatives from the European Commission and the German Environment Agency. Foundations for legal requirements, DPP examples, and implementation steps will be presented. Two panels will bring together experts from politics, industry, and science. read more

Cover des Berichts "Corporate sustainability reporting on environmental pollution"

Corporate sustainability reporting on environmental pollution

Potential benefits and challenges for environmental authorities to use information disclosed according to European Sustainability Reporting Standard E2


From 2025 onwards, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires large European companies to provide transparency on their impacts on people and the environment. So far, the role of these new reporting rules in the work of environmental authorities has not been systematically analysed and discussed. This study examines the potential benefits and challenges for environmental a...read more

Series
Texte
Number of pages
40
Year of publication
Cover des Berichts "Cost allocation and incentive mechanisms for environmental, climate protection and resource conservation along global supply chains"

Cost allocation and incentive mechanisms for environmental, climate protection and resource conservation along global supply chains

Analysis of the cotton, tin, natural rubber, coffee and iron ore supply chains


This report analyses the functioning, power structures and institutional framework of five global supply chains with high environmental and human rights risks: cotton for ready-made garments, tin for solder products, natural rubber for car tyres, coffee for consumption and iron ore for quality steel in the automotive industry. The report finds significant power imbalances in most of the supply ...read more

Series
Texte
Number of pages
151
Year of publication

Blue Angel for peat-free potting soils and sustainable artificial turf

Manufacturers of peat-free potting soils or environmentally friendly synthetic turf systems for sports pitches will soon be able to apply for the “Blue Angel” ecolabel for their products. The Jury for the eco-label adopted award criteria for these two new eco-labels at its meeting in December 2023. The criteria have been updated for other product groups. read more (in German)

Federal Ecodesign Award 2024 launched

Companies of all sizes and sectors, designers and students are once again invited to apply for the prestigious design award by 15 April 2024. The competition is looking for forward-looking concepts, services and products that impress with their outstanding environmental and design quality. read more (in German)

Industrial process heat can be CO₂-neutral by 2045

The conversion of industrial process heat to CO₂-neutral energy sources is technically feasible in Germany by 2045. It is needed to process materials and is usually generated using fossil fuels. The most important incentive for switching to CO₂-neutral energy sources is a reduction in the cost of these energies to the level of fossil fuels. This is the only way the transition can succeed. read more (in German)

Waste / resources

Online platform DIVID of the Single-Use Plastics Fund launches on 1 April 2024

The Single-Use Plastic Fund Act passed on 15 May 2023 obliges manufacturers to bear the costs of their single-use plastic products collected as waste in streets or parks from 2024. The German Environment Agency is setting up the digital platform DIVID to manage and process the levies to be paid by companies to the Single-Use Plastic Fund. read more (in German)

Extension of the mandatory deposit since 1 January 2024

Since 1 January 2024, the statutory deposit requirement is extended to single-use drinks packaging. It then also applies to single-use plastic drinks bottles containing milk, mixed milk drinks and other dairy products. read more (in German)

Questions and answers about Cradle to Cradle

The German Environment Agency is regularly asked for an assessment of the Cradle to Cradle design concept and Cradle to Cradle certification. The German Environment Agency itself has been working for many years on conceptual issues relating to the circular economy and product labelling. In the following questions and answers (FAQs), we present the basic principles, similarities and differences. read more (in German)

Soil

Healthy soils secure livelihoods – symposium at the UBA

Under the motto „Bodengesundheit - Wo stehen wir, reicht der Therapieansatz aus?“ (“Soil health – where do we stand, is the therapy approach sufficient?”), a conference of the Soil Protection Commission (KBU) at the German Environment Agency (UBA) took place in Berlin on 6 December 2023. The more than 150 participants from the worlds of politics, administration and research looked at the soil beneath their feet and took a look at its underlying health. Their diagnosis points the way to soil health. read more (in German)

Sustainability / strategies / international issues

Mensch sitzt mit Notebook auf der Wiese

Mobile Work in the future

Climate Protection Opportunities and Risks


In the future, more and more people will probably no longer work in the office at the company's location or public institution, but from home, on business trips or in co-working spaces. What will the mobile working world look like in the future? What will happen to traditional office spaces? How will private spaces change? Where will people settle in the future? Which consumer products and serv...read more

Series
brochure / flyer
Number of pages
44
Year of publication
digitales Netz

From quantum computing to the future of inner cities and a new world order

Results of the second Horizon Scanning cycle for the Environment Department published


In the second horizon scanning process of the environment department, the following ten emerging future topics have been identified and elaborated that could be of high environmental relevance: Quantum computing Cryptocurrencies Technological innovations on the way to climate-friendly air transport New regionalism Resilience as the basis of a sustainable society Mobile work Growing through cris...read more

Series
brochure / flyer
Number of pages
108
Year of publication

Umwelt.Stadt.Salon “Green, lively and healthy neighbourhoods”

Under the title “Green, lively and healthy neighbourhoods: Inspired by the German Environment Agency's research & practical experience from Dessau”, the German Environment Agency and the City of Dessau-Roßlau are once again organising the joint event format “Umwelt.Stadt.Salon” (Environment.City.Conference) on 26 March 2024. read more (in German)

Digitalisation

Grafik, digitale Darstellung der Erde

Environmental research and governance in the digital age

Results of a horizon scanning for the environment department in tomorrow’s society


Digitalisation is profoundly changing our society and therefore also the way in which the environment is researched and governance is carried out. E-government is intended to make administration more efficient and bring it closer to citizens, while new ideas are constantly being implemented in environmental research, such as the CO2 calculator, apps for sustainable consumption or big data-suppo...read more

Series
brochure / flyer
Number of pages
124
Year of publication

UBA news

Dr Katrin Dziekan new head of UBA Department I 2

Dr Katrin Dziekan officially took over as Head of Department I 2 “Transport, Noise and Spatial Development” at the German Environment Agency (UBA) in 2023. She is a psychologist and holds a doctorate in transport planning and thus brings an important interdisciplinary perspective to science-based policy advice. For over 10 years she headed the “Environment and Transport” department at the UBA. read more (in German)

Imprint

Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency)
Präsidialbereich / Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Internet; Pressesprecher
Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
Phone: +49(0) 340 2103-2416
Fax: +49(0) 340 2103-2285
Email: buergerservice@uba.de

Editor:
Corinne Meunier
corinne.meunier@uba.de

Six times a year our Newsletter „UBA aktuell“ provides information about the latest activities and work of the German Environment Agency (UBA).

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