No.: 4/2019Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear Reader,

How can Germany reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and therefore make its contribution to limiting climate change? Should a price be put on CO2 emissions so as to encourage climate-friendly investments and behaviour, and how exactly? The UBA has taken a close look at the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches currently under discussion – more about this in this newsletter. We would also like to recommend you a new brochure: The English-language guide provides a concise introduction to the German environmental administration for an international readership. Also in this issue: information about our new President as of 1 January 2020 and about our workshop “Power-to-Liquid (PtL) in Air Transport” on 8 October 2019 in Brussels.

Wishing you happy reading,

The UBA press office

CO2 pricing: time to get on board, and fast

It is also necessary to switch to climate-neutral technologies in road traffic and buildings.
It is also necessary to switch to climate-neutral technologies in road traffic and buildings.
Source: JFL Photography /

The support for putting a price on the emission of climate-damaging CO2 is increasing – especially since the negative consequences of climate change are increasingly being felt in Germany as well. Recently, numerous reports have been published which unanimously conclude that CO2 pricing should be a key instrument of climate change policy and that rapid action is essential. This autumn, the German federal government is expected to decide whether and in what form CO2 pricing is to be introduced. Before this backdrop, a new paper from the UBA analyses the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches. In this respect, the focus is on the transport and building sector, where the need to take action is particularly great. The bottom line: from the perspective of the German Environment Agency, the short-term boost required for the protection of our climate can best be achieved by introducing a CO2 component to the energy tax, as this could be implemented rapidly, in a socially acceptable manner, and without great effort. Emissions trading, by contrast, does not constitute a suitable option for CO2 pricing in the transport and building sector. 

For fossil fuels, a middling two-figure Euro amount per tonne of CO2 should be chosen as the starting rate of tax, which should be increased over the following years in predefined steps. Climate-friendly investment and behaviour would therefore be encouraged, and the prices of climate-damaging products would better reflect the climate change costs that they cause. In combination with other instruments, the climate goals for transport and buildings for the year 2030 could therefore be achieved. In addition to this, reform of the existing rates of energy tax is necessary, as light fuel oil, for example, is currently taxed at a lower rate than natural gas, which is less climate-damaging. In addition, the rates of energy and CO2 tax should be regularly adjusted in line with inflation. 

The revenues from the tax on CO2 should flow back to the citizens. Examples from other countries demonstrate that socially-acceptable solutions are possible on this basis. From the perspective of the German Environment Agency, a redistribution of the additional income from the energy tax via a “climate premium” should be combined with a reduction in electricity prices, by reducing the EEG surcharge, for example. A solution of this kind would, on average, raise the net income of low-income households. Positive climate protection effects also arise, as lower electricity prices, for example, support the transition to electric mobility and make heat pumps for heating buildings more attractive. 

Everyone in Germany must be able to live climate-friendly and be mobile regardless of their income. Flanking measures are therefore needed to make it easier for people to adapt to rising energy prices and switch over to climate-friendly alternatives. These include financial support programmes for advice on the saving of energy and on buying energy-efficient household appliances, helping long-distance commuters to adapt, and establishing an attractive and cost-effective bus and rail network, also in rural areas. This prevents social hardship and reinforces the climate protection impact of the tax on CO2. 

Consumer tips

That's good against heat: a cooling water bag

Healthy all summer long

Summer, sun, holiday time and bathing fun: summer is the most wonderful time of the year for many people. However, the recent hot summer of 2018 showed that good health is as important as fun and relaxation. A new publication by the German Meteorological Service (DWD) and German Environment Agency (UBA) talks about how to handle the "shadow side" of summer. read more

Tap water protects the environment

Drinking water is one of the most effectively monitored comestibles in Germany. Where limit values are surpassed, this is frequently due to the pipelines in homes. Our explanatory film highlights what needs to be taken into account.  read more (in German)

Voluntary CO2 compensation

If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be prevented or reduced, they can, at least, be compensated for by climate protection projects. What does such an approach depend on?  read more (in German)

Starting school with the Blue Angel

Every year, some 200 million exercise books are sold in Germany, but only one in ten of them is made from recycled paper. In this respect, recycled paper is by far the best when it comes to protecting the environment, the climate and resources. After all, the production of paper has a major impact on the environment. It requires a considerable amount of wood, energy, water and chemicals for its production.  read more (in German) 

Anti-fouling in water sports: tips on environmentally-responsible action

Anti-fouling coatings are used to protect boat hulls from plant growth. Such products usually contain toxic biocides, however, which are then released into the environment and can damage ecosystems. It is therefore important to apply the coatings in such a way that the negative impact on people and the environment is limited as far as possible.  read more (in German)

Science and research

Protecting wild bees and bumble bees from plant protection products

For the first time since 2013, a new guideline for assessing the possible environmental risks posed by plant protection products is to be adopted in the EU which takes the risks for bumble bees and wild bees into account. A project at the UBA is collating information on the habitat requirements of these insects and their sensitivity to pesticides, and making recommendations for the revision of the EU guidelines. Study "Protection of wild pollinators in the pesticide risk assessment and management"

Aridity in Germany – questions and answers

The soil was already very dry in the spring of 2019, with the average level of soil moisture in April well below the levels in the previous year. After a rainy May, June was proved to be too dry as well. What does this mean for vegetation, for groundwater or for agriculture? Is this just the weather, or are we already feeling the effects of climate change? And how can we adapt?  read more (in German)

Groundwater contaminated less with pesticides

According to a current evaluation of the data from more than 14,000 monitoring stations for the period of 2013 to 2016, the toxic load on groundwater with pesticides and their relevant decomposition products has decreased significantly. This is primarily due to the fact that the active substances are no longer approved for use. The toxic load from approved substances has remained constant, however.  read more (in German)

Making turbines more compatible for people and the environment

Whether it is lower levels of noise due to aerodynamically optimised rotor blades or lower rates of light pollution due to limited night-time lighting – a variety of technical possibilities can help ensure that the disturbances and risks posed to people and animals in the vicinity of wind turbines are reduced or eliminated. A new background paper from the German Environment Agency explains exactly how.  read more (in German)

Ecological assessment of drinks packaging

The German Association of Carton Packaging for Liquid Foods (FKN) has published an ecological assessment of composite beverage cartons for the milk, fruit juice and squash segments, which has been prepared according to the UBA standards. Beverage cartons emerged no worse than glass and returnable bottles. The reason: there are fewer bottling companies for milk and fruit juice in glass bottles, making the transport distances bigger.  read more (in German)

Looking to the future: socio-economic scenarios

To analyse and assess the future impact of climate change in Germany within the scope of the 2021 Climate Impact and Vulnerability Study commissioned by the German federal government, socio-economic scenarios are required in addition to climate projections. On this basis, three socio-economic scenarios have been developed at the national and regional levels on behalf of the German Environment Agency.  read more (in German)

Determining the replacement of indoor air – a comparison of methods

Air in indoor areas must be replaced on a regular basis to prevent it from having a negative impact on health. To be able to assess and optimally coordinate the replacement of air in energy-efficient buildings in particular, and to thereby ensure good indoor air quality, experts can determine the air replacement rate. The UBA has assessed and compared various measurement methods with one another.  read more (in German)

Industry & environment

passenger plane

UBA/BDL Workshop “Power-to-Liquid (PtL) in Air Transport”

UBA/BDL Workshop “Power-to-Liquid (PtL) in Air Transport” on 8 October 2019 in Brussels. The German Environment Agency (UBA) together with the German Aviation Association (BDL) would like to address the importance of sustainable fuels for the aviation industry as part of a pathway for greener air transport. read more

A computer keybord with a green button with a shopping cart.

Digitalisation can make consumption more sustainable

Personalised advertisement, instant delivery, virtual shopping assistants and contactless payment show that consumption and digitalisation have become closely linked. A new report from the German Environment Agency (UBA) says it is not yet known whether this link will lead to greater pollution. The current analysis is that digitalisation offers good opportunities to use resources more efficiently. read more

Ein Kraftwerk und Stromleitungen.

Emissions trading 2018: German installations cut emissions by 3.5 per cent

The 2018 emissions of the roughly 1,870 stationary installations in Germany recorded in the European Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) amounted to around 422 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq). This is a 3.5-percent decrease compared to the previous year. The decline in emissions is chiefly due to lower emissions in the energy industry. read more

Soft launch: EU-wide app for enquiries from consumers according to REACH

The REACH regulation obliges suppliers to provide information on substances of very high concern that are contained in products. From autumn 2019, an EU-wide smartphone app will make it easier for consumers to make enquiries. The app is currently being tested in 13 EU countries. With the new AskREACH database, businesses are already able to respond to enquiries.  read more (in German)

Stronger promotion of environmental innovations

Innovative environmentally-friendly products, production processes and services should be promoted more strongly in Germany. Although the state invests a lot of money in research and development, it does too little to systematically promote the dissemination of environmental innovations in the market. Such was the result of a recent study commissioned by the UBA.  read more (in German)

EMAS Awards 2019: winners of the national short-list confirmed

With the motto "EMAS as the engine of change", this year, the EU Commission is honouring EMAS organisations that operate in an especially sustainable way. Five organisations were able to win through to the national short-list, with their applications impressively demonstrating how their climate and environmental management is bringing about sustainable change.  read more (in German)

Withdrawal from coal: shaping change in lignite mining regions

The study from the UBA examines the economic impact of withdrawing from coal in line with the climate targets of the German federal government. The exemplary studies also highlight significant opportunities for the labour market in all the lignite mining regions. Targeted structural policy measures, such as the promotion of renewable energy or the renovation of buildings, could lead to increases in the potential opportunities for employment.  read more (in German)

How many pollutants are released by businesses? Data for 2017

Ammonia is the number one airborne pollutant to be released by businesses, and primarily originates from factory farming. Pollutants in waste water primarily originate from the foodstuffs and chemicals industries. The biggest polluter of CO2 is the energy industry. This and more is shown by the current data from the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR).  read more (in German)

Environment at municipal level

Municipalities can increase their resource efficiency

Municipalities have a high potential for resource-efficient action. This is because many resource-relevant material flows are organised regionally and can therefore be targeted at the municipal level. The "RegioRess" project from the German Environment Agency highlights the way in which municipal stakeholders implement a variety of projects and measures to optimise material flows, and derives information about transferability from this data. Brochure "Regional and local optimisation of material flows and cycles: Areas of action, case studies and recommendations for municipalities"

In the know: the new EMW 2019 guide is online!

A new guide to the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK (EMW) has also been made available this year! As usual, it provides all of the key information surrounding the EMW on 36 pages, and with current practical examples from municipalities as well as associations, institutions and businesses, it contains new ideas for those participating in the EMW.  read more (in German)

Using demographic change as an opportunity

From a societal perspective Germany is getting older and older while the population is generally shrinking, although it is increasing in some regions. A current UBA study examines how municipalities and entire regions can rise to these challenges in a sustainable way, and highlights numerous practical examples with innovative approaches.  read more (in German)

Symposium on EU environmental noise mapping

On 18.9.2019, UBA is organising a public forum in Berlin addressing the nationwide calculation methods for the EU Environmental Noise Directive.  read more (in German)

Detailed assessment of overall noise pollution: supporting guidelines

Some 60 million people in Germany claim to be regularly upset by two or more sources of noise. To develop targeted improvement measures, an overall noise assessment is required. Both the coalition agreement of the German federal government and the EU Environmental Noise Directive have the objective of providing an assessment of this kind. A project by the UBA resulted in guidelines for municipalities and planning offices.  read more (in German)

Environment at international level

Arial photo of a city with a river

English-language Guide to the German Environmental Administration

The environmental administration in Germany is deeply rooted in the German tradition of federalism. Due to this specific tradition, German environmental administration might seem rather complex from an outside view. Therefore the German Environment Agency has developed a guide in English to provide a concise introduction to the German environmental administration for an international readership. read more

Questions and answers on European aid to agriculture

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a comprehensive instrument of management and finance for both European agriculture and environmental protection in the world of agriculture. From the perspective of the UBA, the CAP should be realigned to create stronger incentives for protecting the environment and the natural world. Presently, the potential from the perspective of the environment is a long way from being realised.  read more (in German) 

Law & legislation

Greater protection of the environment and resources in the area of mining

A recent study by the German Environment Agency (UBA) recommends, in particular, the Federal Mining Act to be amended in favour of a more environmentally-friendly and resource-conserving permit system for the mining sector. For this purpose, reforms have been developed for strengthening the protection of the environment and resources in the field of mining, excavation and regional planning law.  read more (in German)

UBA news

Dirk Messner

Professor Dirk Messner appointed new President of the UBA

The internationally renowned sustainability scientist Dirk Messner will become the new President of the German Environment Agency on 1 January 2020. On 31 July 2019, the German Federal Cabinet approved this personnel proposal by Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. Professor Messner succeeds Maria Krautzberger, who is retiring at the end of the year. read more

What does the UBA actually do?

“For people and environment” is the motto of the UBA, and summarises what we are here for. As Germany’s central environmental authority, we work to ensure that there is a healthy environment in Germany in which people can live and which is protected as far as possible from harmful environmental impacts such as toxic substances in the air or water. We offer an insight into our work in a new video.  read more (in German)

Dr. Jürgen Landgrebe: new Director of Division V

Since 1 July 2019, Dr. Jürgen Landgrebe has been the Director of Division V of the German Environment Agency "Climate Protection, Energy, German Emissions Trading Authority". The division consists of three departments with a total of 19 sections.  read more (in German)

Dr. Karsten Krause: Director of the Climate Protection and Energy Department

Since 1 July 2019, Dr. Karsten Krause has been the Director of department V 1 for "Climate Protection and Energy". The UBA department is responsible, among others, for domestic, European and international climate policy and the energy transition in 7 sections.  read more (in German)

Recently published

Cover of the brochure "A Guide to Environmental Administration in Germany" of the German Environment Agency. The cocer photo shows an arial photo of a city.

A Guide to Environmental Administration in Germany

The German Environment Agency has developed a guide in English to provide a concise introduction to the German environmental administration for an international readership. The guide is divided into five sections: After the introduction in Section 1, Section 2 introduces the wide range of subjects related to environmental protection in Germany. This is followed by Section 3, which describes more

guides and manuals
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Year of publication
Cover of broschure Adapting to Climate Change: Good Participation Practice in the Alpine Region

Adapting to Climate Change: Good Participation Practice in the Alpine Region

This brochure presents good examples of participation practice when adapting to climate change in the Alpine region. Above all, it is aimed at interested stakeholders from administrative and from civic organisations, particularly on a local and regional level. The examples should inspire the design and implementation of participation formats and give hints for their successful implementation. more

guides and manuals
Number of pages
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Cover of publication TEXTE 80/2019 Appropriate Evaluation Benchmarks and Indicators for Measuring the Success of Waste Prevention Measures

Appropriate Evaluation Benchmarks and Indicators for Measuring the Success of Waste Prevention Measures

With reference to the federal Waste Prevention Programme (WPP), the Circular Economy Act stipulates that standards for waste prevention measures must be specified to record the progress made in decoupling the effects on people and the environment associated with waste generation from economic growth. The WPP identifies possible indicators, but it is unknown to which extent they can represent more

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Cover of publication CLIMATE CHANGE 28/2019 Low-Carbon Europe 2050

Low-Carbon Europe 2050

Decomposition analysis of long-term projections for the European Union and selected Member States

In order to elaborate the scenario “Greenhousegas Neutral Europe“ UBA has commissioned a survey on levers relevant for decarbonisation in selected energy scenarios. Overall, significant mitigation potential can be observed in the power sector, although scenarios differ in realizing emissions reductions in 2050. The respective levers for decarbonisation in the sectors are: Renewable energies in more

Climate Change
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Cover of publication TEXTE 54/2019  Protection of wild pollinators in the pesticide risk assessment and management

Protection of wild pollinators in the pesticide risk assessment and management

This research project investigated the current scientific knowledge on flower visiting insects with special attention on their ecology, their toxicological sensitivity and their exposure towards pesticides. On this basis the key elements for an environmental risk assessment for flower visiting insects have been discussed and the feasibility and effectiveness of risk management options, which more

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Cover of broschure Regional and local optimisation of material flows and cycles

Regional and local optimisation of material flows and cycles

Areas of action, case studies and recommendations for municipalities

On the basis of five case studies, the brochure "Regional and local optimization of material flows and cycles" shows how municipalities can contribute to resource conservation by optimising regional material cycles, which challenges they face and which framework conditions are necessary for successful implementation. The brochure was developed as part of the "RegioRess" project, which shows more

brochure / flyer
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Cover of publication TEXTE 74/2019 Test scenarios for the determination of sound emissions from road, rail, industry and the calculation of the propagation of sound (BUB), the calculation of environmental noise from airports (BUF) and assessment of the noise exposure of affected persons (BEB) according to Directive (EU) 2015/996

Test scenarios for the determination of sound emissions

from road, rail, industry and the calculation of the propagation of sound (BUB), the calculation of environmental noise from airports (BUF) and assessment of the noise exposure of affected persons (BEB) according to Directive (EU) 2015/996

In order to improve the noise situation in Europe, the EU issued the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC) in 2002. Noise pollution is to be determined in noise maps by means of harmonized assessment methods. For this purpose, the EU has developed these methods under the acronym CNOSSOS-EU (Common Noise Assessment Methods in Europe) with the participation of the Member States. A quality more

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Cover of publication TEXTE 67/2019 The database "Pharmaceuticals in the Environment" - Update and new analysis

The database "Pharmaceuticals in the Environment" - Update and new analysis

Pharmaceutical residues occur frequently in our environment. As they are used either in human but also in veterinary medicine, they are especially released via wastewater treatment plants, from livestock or production. The residues of pharmaceuticals are a potential risk to the environment and their occurrence raised an increasing concern. In the last years, studies on this potential risk more

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As recounted


From 2014 to 2017, incursions took place on an average of 58 hectares of land every day in Germany for home-building and transport purposes. The objective of the federal government is to reduce this value to a maximum of 30 hectares by 2020. To achieve this, additional measures will be necessary.

Other facts and contexts



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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