No.: 2/2022Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear readers,

Phasing out fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil and coal, has long been a matter of urgency on account of the climate crisis. The Russian war against Ukraine and the uncertainty about an impending halt to gas supplies are also relevant arguments at the moment. We must rapidly expand renewable energy sources and simultaneously be more conservative in our use of energy. More on this in this newsletter issue.

It is important that we take it on ourselves to do something for the refugees. That is why the German Environment Agency is offering refugee scientists from Ukraine the opportunity to work with us for up to 12 months as guest scientists, see the section "UBA News".

In addition to war, climate crisis and pandemic, there are also positive things to report: emissions of environmentally harmful and unhealthy air pollutants in Germany have continued to fall and there is growing support among the German population for a socio-ecological transformation.

Wishing you an interesting read,

The Press Office of the German Environment Agency

Rapidly increase renewable energies – for the climate and energy independence

A worker with a hard hat stands on a ladder and installs a photovoltaic system on a roof
Germany can become climate-neutral and independent of energy imports with renewable energies.
Source: Lisa F. Young / Thinkstock / iStock

The expansion of renewable energies, such as wind power and photovoltaics, is a pressing matter. For one, to maintain a climate on Earth in which we as humans can continue to live well. For another, the Russian offensive against Ukraine has made it abundantly clear how interconnected safety and energy supply are.

If Germany is to quickly achieve greenhouse gas neutrality and energy independence, it must set a much faster pace in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in implementing the energy transition. As the all but normal year 2020 showed a decline in emissions that even surpassed the already downward trend, emissions increased in 2021. To achieve the German government's goals by 2030, six percent of emissions must now be reduced per year – since 2010, the average has not even reached two percent. The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the expansion of wind energy, which is indispensable for this, has stagnated in recent years. Renewable energies currently account for around 20 percent of Germany’s total gross final energy consumption. There is still a lot to be done, especially with regard to energy generation for heat and transportation: while renewable energies already account for about 41 percent of electricity generation, the share in the heating and cooling sector, which accounts for more than half of Germany's total gross final energy consumption, is only about 17 percent, and only about 7 percent of energy used in the transport sector comes from renewable sources.

⁠German Environment Agency President Dirk Messner: "We need to build more solar and wind power plants quickly. We need to switch to using heat pumps in our buildings and stop installing oil and gas heating systems as soon as possible. We can also make considerable progress in saving energy in our houses, especially by making them more energy-efficient. This will also help us to reduce our energy dependency on Russia."

Consumer tips

Eine Gasflamme

Economizing during the energy crisis

Against the background of the war in Ukraine, the German Environment Agency is making an appeal for more economical energy consumption. It is easy for private households to help in the effort: turn down the thermostat, install a water saving showerhead and drive cars less and at slower speed. All these measures can be realized immediately and cost little to no money. read more

“Less is more – also when it comes to spring cleaning”

Various substances from cleaning agents are released into the environment via wastewater and pollute ecosystems. Tips for environmentally friendly spring cleaning from UBA expert Marcus Gast. read more (in German)

Pollutant enquiries with the Scan4Chem app: database checked

Are you looking for information on substances of very high concern used in consumer products? Manufacturers and retailers are required to provide you with information upon request. The Scan4Chem app helps make enquiries, but also allows companies to provide you with the information via a database. Chemical analyses of random samples of products now confirm that many of the details in the database are correct. read more (in German)

Science & Research

junge Frauen am Laptop

Young people care about environment and climate

85 percent of the young people surveyed say environmental protection and climate action are important, thus ranking the topic among the four most important to young people in Germany. These are the findings of the representative survey “Zukunft? Jugend fragen! – 2021”. The grand challenges in preserving our essential life support systems are a matter of concern to young people. read more

the Earth

Climate risks put quality of life and environment at stake

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented the second part of its 6th Assessment Report. The current report focuses on the consequences of climate change and on climate change adaptation. The IPCC warns that the climate risks for ecosystems and humankind are growing rapidly worldwide. Determined climate action and early adaptation to climate change are the only way to reduce risks. read more

dampfende Kühltürme eines Kraftwerks und Hochspannungsleitung

Greenhouse gas emissions rose by 4.5 percent in 2021

After a significant decline in the previous year, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are on the rise again. Some 762 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were released in 2021 – just over 33 million tonnes, or 4.5 percent more than in 2020. Overall, emissions in Germany have fallen by 38.7 percent since 1990. The increase in 2021 is particularly noticeable in the energy sector. read more

Air pollutant emissions in Germany at a record low

Air pollutant emissions in Germany have been falling for decades: In the case of sulphur compounds (SO₂), a reduction of almost 96 percent was recorded in 2020 compared to 1990, as well as 66 percent for nitrogen oxides and 60 percent for particulate matter. This means that for the first time, Germany is able to comprehensively comply with the targets set under the European Air Pollutant Ordinance. read more (in German)

Streams in agricultural areas polluted by pesticides

Plant protection products (PPPs) get washed off agricultural land into adjacent streams following rainfall. One study provides the first insight into the pollution of small watercourses in agricultural areas: In more than 80 percent of the streams investigated in the monitoring of small water bodies, excessive PPP residues were detected. These harm the insects and plants found there. read more (in German)

The search for a more environmentally friendly rat poison

Rats and mice have been controlled with the same anticoagulant poisons for a long time. Although there have been problems with the environment and resistance, the products have been approved to date simply because they were considered to have no alternative. A new study reveals promising strategies for finding alternatives. These could replace the existing substances and, working together with non-chemical methods, reduce environmental pollution. read more (in German)

Economy & Environment

skyscrapers with glass facades, in which trees reflect

Corporate Sustainability Reporting faces major changes

About 500 German undertakings are obliged to include sustainability-related information in their annual reports. According to the plans of the EU Commission more undertakings shall report in the future and apply uniform reporting standards. A study on behalf of UBA recommends precise requirements for reporting on targets, actions and performance indicators and corporate greenhouse gas neutrality. read more

Ein Reagenzkolben vor grüner Wiese, darin Wasser.

New measures to protect natural groundwater against trace substances

The residues of pharmaceutical drugs, plant protection products, biocides and other chemicals can have a negative impact on water bodies and drinking water quality, even in low concentrations. As part of the Federal Government's Trace Substance Strategy, interest groups are currently developing voluntary measures at roundtables to reduce the burden on the environment. read more

Panel discussion: Transformation to a climate-neutral economy

On 5 April 2022, the KlimaWirtschaft Foundation and the German Environment Agency (UBA) hosted a digital panel discussion on "How can we succeed in transforming our economy to achieve climate neutrality? – Tasks for the new traffic light government in times of war in Ukraine.". Participants included Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck and German Environment Agency President Prof. Dirk Messner, among others. You can watch the recording here (in German). read more (in German)

New guide for more environmentally friendly online shops

A new online guide from the German Environment Agency (UBA) provides advice on how online retailers can make their shops environmentally friendly. Topics include designing and hosting the website, the product range, shipping including packaging materials, and avoiding returns, among others. read more (in German)

How to find the right software for your corporate environmental management

Climate protection, environmental protection and energy efficiency are becoming increasingly important for companies and other organisations. Digital applications and software solutions can help in implementing measures. It can, however, often be a challenge to find the right ones. A new database from the German EMAS Advisory Board (Umweltgutachterausschuss) and the German Environment Agency creates transparency about the software on offer and can assist in the selection process. read more (in German)

Making business travel and fleets sustainable

How can companies improve the environmental impact and climate protection of their company transport? A new guide is available to help with this. It was developed by the Federal German Working Group for Environmentally Conscious Management (B.A.U.M. e.V.) in cooperation with the German Environment Agency and other experts. read more (in German)

Healthy and environmentally friendly food in canteens and cafeterias

How can canteen and cafeteria managers make their meals healthier and more environmentally friendly? A new brochure from the German Environment Agency shows how to do just that using three examples where the transition has been very successful. Possible measures include using more plant-based ingredients and organic products, as well as more flexible portion sizes to avoid food waste. read more (in German)

LIFE AskREACH presents business awards

Substances of very high concern in products: Does your company have exemplary information management along the supply chain? As a trading company, do you communicate reliably with your customers? Apply for one of the AskREACH business awards now! read more (in German)

New data on businesses according to the Hazardous Incident Ordinance in Germany

Germany is home to around 3,800 facilities that fall under the Major Accidents Ordinance, such as chemical factories or storage facilities for hazardous substances. Details of these establishments, such as the operator, location and type of facility, are kept in a European database for public information. The database was updated at the end of 2021. read more (in German)

Major accidents in 2018 and 2019: Chemical industry most frequently affected

ZEMA registered 50 incidents subject to reporting and disturbances to normal operation in German industrial facilities in 2018 and 2019 – most of them in chemical plants. Find out more in the latest annual report of the Central Reporting and Evaluation Office for Incidents and Malfunctions in Process Engineering Facilities (Zentralen Melde- und Auswertestelle für Störfälle und Störungen in verfahrenstechnischen Anlagen – ZEMA) at the German Environment Agency. read more (in German)

Sustainable investing guide for foundations published

German foundations are influential investors with an estimated total capital of EUR 110 billion. A new guide on how foundations can take better and more transparent account of ecological and social criteria when making their investments was developed as part of a project by the German Environment Agency to support associations. read more (in German)

Environment internationally

Plastikmüll am Meeresstrand

Microplastics in the ocean: Full extent still not foreseeable

At the conclusion of the 5th UNEA Conference in Nairobi, which adopted a resolution to start negotiations for an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution, the Roundtable on Marine Litter (RTM) is calling for a swift reduction of inputs of microplastics to the North Sea/Baltic Sea. read more

The new CAP – How much climate protection does the 1st pillar provide?

Negotiations on the Common European Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2023-27 have largely been concluded. Germany recently sent its "national strategic plan" to Brussels. The new instruments of the first pillar are intended to make the CAP more environmentally and climate friendly. But on closer inspection, the new first pillar falls considerably short of the climate protection goals it has set for itself. read more (in German)

Law & Legislation

A field with a crop protection device that spreads fertilizer

Pesticide authorisations undermine environmental protection

Under the current legal situation, pesticides are authorised in Germany even though scientific findings show that they are harmful to the environment. The German authorities are currently unable to effectively protect the environment from harmful pesticides. This should be re-regulated under European law. read more

Better management of chemicals needed in industry

The Best Available Techniques (BAT), which are the benchmark for the approval of industrial installations that are particularly environmentally significant in the EU, currently only cover some of the substances that are used as auxiliaries in industry and can enter the environment. The final report on the EU HAZBREF project, which the German Environment Agency played a key role in drafting, makes suggestions for more systematic approach. read more (in German)

UBA News

Ein Foto in der Blauhöhle. Zu sehen Grundwasser und eine Person in einem Boot.

Groundwater is named water body type 2022

World Water Day 2022: Some 70 percent of drinking water in Germany is extracted from groundwater and spring water. Our ecosystems and forests in particular depend on a sufficient amount of groundwater. Contamination by nitrate or pesticides, climate change and water abstraction are endangering the quality and quantity of this vital resource. read more

Martin Schmied is the new head of UBA Division I

Martin Schmied has been Head of Division I – Environmental Planning and Sustainability Strategies – at the German Environment Agency since 1 March 2022. The division includes the two departments for "Sustainability Strategies, Resource Conservation and Instruments" and "Transport, Noise and Spatial Development". read more (in German)

Application Laboratory for artificial intelligence and big data at UBA

The German Environment Agency is currently in the process of setting up an application laboratory for artificial intelligence and big data with the goal of making artificial intelligence (AI) useful for environmental and sustainability applications. It will be a space for innovation and experimentation, focusing on the value that AI can bring to people and the environment, and on identifying research questions for the sustainable use and operation of AI applications. read more (in German)

Recently Published

Field path with yellow flowers on the sides

Air Quality 2021

Preliminary Evaluation

This evaluation of air quality in Germany in the year 2021 is based on preliminary data which has not yet been conclusively audited from the air monitoring networks of the federal states and the UBA, valid on 31th January 2022. Due to the comprehensive quality assurance within the monitoring networks, the final data will only be available in mid-2022. The currently available data allows for a more

background paper
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Cover CC

Carbon Pricing Potential in East and South Asia

Jurisdiction factsheets and clusters

The effectiveness of carbon pricing as a market-based policy tool with economy-wide transformation potential has increasingly rendered it the instrument of choice among policy makers responding to challenges posed by climate change. However, the potential for jurisdictions to introduce carbon pricing instruments varies considerably owing to differences in political, legal, economic, technical, more

Climate Change
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Cover CC

Environmental management systems and climate risks

Analysis of standards for environmental management systems with regard to the management of climate-related risks and TCFD. Opportunities for the further development of ISO 14001 and EMAS.

Worldwide, about half a million sites of companies and other organisations have an environmental management system according to ISO 14001. Against this background, it was examined how in future a systematic management of climate-related risks can be promoted or even ensured with standards for environmental management systems. To this end, several options were examined, such as an adaptation of more

Climate Change
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Evaluation of the collection and recovery of selected waste streams for the further development of circular economy

It was checked whether and how with selected waste streams - especially old tires and old textiles - resource conservation and environmental relief potentials can be realized through improved collection and recycling. Bulky waste, mattresses, furniture, carpets, artificial turf and diapers were also considered. Measures were derived to improve the prevention, preparation for reuse and more

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Frau isst etwas

Focus on the future: Meat of the future

Trend report for assessing the environmental impacts of plant-based meat substitutes, edible insects and in vitro meat

Meat consumption has come under criticism in recent years. Meat substitutes are becoming increasingly popular in Germany and could be an alternative. In a study entitled "Meat of the Future", the UBA has now examined the effects of the three emerging meat alternatives - plant-based meat substitutes, edible insects and invitro meat - on the environment and health, and what role they could play more

brochure / flyer
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Cover Factsheet

How much climate action is offered in the first pillar of the CAP?

An analysis and policy recommendations

This policy paper commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency examines the greenhouse gas reduction potential from the measures of the first pillar (GAEC standards and eco-schemes) of the Common European Agricultural Policy 2023-2027. The results are based on a study that will be published in the first half of more

fact sheet
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Cover DOKU

INI2021 – 8th Global Nitrogen Conference

Nitrogen and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Reaktiver Stickstoff gelangt aus unterschiedlichen, anthropogenen Quellen in die Umwelt und führt dort zu vielfältigen Risiken für Mensch, Ökosysteme und Klima. Die 8. Globale Stickstoff-Konferenz an der Schnittstelle zwischen Wissenschaft und Politik wurde vom 31.5.2021 bis 3.6.2021 gemeinsam von UBA und BMU als virtuelle Veranstaltung durchgeführt. Im Vordergrund der Beratungen standen more

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Cover, Forum UBA Dessau

Making the EU climate governance fit for net zero

An analysis of the current landscape of relevant EU climate policy processes and recommendations for alignment with the climate neutrality objective

The paper “Making EU Governance Fit for Net Zero” analyses the current landscape of climate policy governance against eight core parameters at EU level and for Member States, and identifies a number of remaining weaknesses.  Improvements should address several key processes, such as updating of the NECPs in 2023-2024 and of national LTSs and the new progress and consistency assessments under more

Scientific Opinion Paper
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Market analysis on import, quality and use in Germany of seeds treated in the European Union

Treated seeds imported from the EU can be sown in Germany, even if they were treated with plant protection products that are not authorized in Germany. This possible deficit in legislation, not preestimated during the negotiations for the EU regulation, results in a gap in the current environmental risk assessment and risk mitigation of seed treatments. This market study examines the reasons more

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Benzinhahn über Geldmünzen

Reshaping mobility

A tax and duty concept for climate-friendly and socially fair transport up to 2050

Mobility must be redirected to make a fundamental contribution to achieving climate targets. For more justice, social compatibility must be established and existing injustices and climate-damaging privileges must be eliminated. The change in transport and mobility must be taxed in such a way that Germany retains its financial capacity to act. How this can be achieved is shown in the study ‘ more

brochure / flyer
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Cover Texte

Screening study on hazardous substances in marine mammals of the Baltic Sea

Wide-scope target and suspect screening

Seals and whales are at the end of the food chain and are thus exposed to a high bioaccumulation of pollutants. The aim of the project under the German HELCOM Chairmanship 2020 - 2022 was to screen for potentially hazardous novel contaminants in marine mammals from the Baltic Sea using state-of-the-art analytical methods for wide-scope target and suspect screening. For this purpose, 11 pooled more

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As recounted


With as little as a 1.5 degree Celsius increase in global temperature, up to 14 percent of all land-dwelling species face the threat of extinction. Plants and animals are only able to adapt very slowly to changing environments. Species extinction is significantly accelerated by faster global warming. Biodiversity is therefore one of the biggest losers of the climate crisis.


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

Corinne Meunier

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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