No.: 4/2021Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear Readers, 

The devastating floods after heavy rainfall this July, as well as the damage caused by heat and drought in Germany in recent years, clearly show: The time is overdue for effective climate protection - and however also for adapting to the now unavoidable consequences of global warming. We present our proposals for precautionary measures against climate risks in Germany in this newsletter issue. 

Wishing you an interesting read,

The Press Office of the German Environment Agency


Anchor climate adaptation into law now: Proposals for effective precaution against climate risks

Eine Frau mit einer Regenjacke steht im Wasser.
Extreme weather events are becoming more severe and frequent due to climate change.
Source: Jürgen Flächle /

The risks to Germany from the consequences of global warming have been known for quite some time and were most recently comprehensively identified in the Climate Impact and Risk Analysis for Germany presented by the Federal Environment Ministry and the German Environment Agency in June 2021. A network of 25 federal authorities and institutions from nine ministries developed scientifically substantiated proposals for measures enabling federal states, municipalities, businesses and private individuals to reduce damage, prepare for extreme weather events and adapt to unavoidable climate impacts. However, Germany has so far lacked the appropriate legal and financial framework to implement these measures across the country. The inclusion of climate change adaptation in existing funding instruments, such as urban development funding or the new promotion programme "Climate Change Adaptation in Social Institutions", is an important step in the right direction. 

Effective climate protection can only be achieved through cooperation between the federal government and the federal states. A new joint task "Adaptation to Climate Change" is needed in the constitution in order to anchor climate adaptation as a permanent state task and to support the federal states and communities in the nationwide implementation of adaptation measures. This instrument enables the federal government to provide financial support for comprehensive municipal climate protection, for example for heavy rainfall prevention, heat and flood prevention and drought protection measures. Article 91a of the constitution, which also regulates agricultural structure and coastal protection as a communal task, should be expanded to include climate adaptation. The constitutional amendment required should be treated as a top priority by the new government and should also be stated as such in the coalition agreement. 

A federal climate adaptation law should accompany the establishment of the new communal task. The law would have a guiding and supplementary character with regard to the specialised laws, such as the Building Code, and would create planning and investment security. In addition, clear responsibilities and procedural regulations would be created for the implementation of a long-term climate change adaptation policy by the federal government and the German states. The law should provide a framework for regular assessment and updating of legal and financial frameworks and measures, such as land (re)use (e.g. extent of sealing and deforestation), or risk mapping for local heavy rainfall. 

However, the devastating heavy rainfall in July 2021 also clearly shows that adaptations have their limits. Since climate protection has not been pursued ambitiously enough in Germany and worldwide, it is no longer possible to prevent damage and destruction caused by global warming entirely, but only to reduce it. Against this background, the decisive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the first and foremost measure to protect human lives, infrastructures, cities and prosperity. The goal must remain to limit global warming of the planet to below 2 degrees in order to limit further escalating climate impacts. 

The more successful climate protection is, the more effective climate adaptation to the unavoidable consequences of global warming could become. Should climate protection not succeed, the costs of adaptation, the uncertainties for the population and the number of extreme events that overwhelm our society's ability to act will increase. No matter how successful climate protection and clever adaptation strategies are, they will not be able to completely rule out residual risks of global warming and obviate comprehensive disaster protection. These are communal tasks, which the state, the economy and society need to address in the age of global warming. 

Consumer tips

Flooding Q&A

Many regions of Germany have experienced heavy rainfall leading to flooding and major destruction. What should be taken into consideration after the water has receded? Who provides help with problems after flooding? What should be kept in mind as far as drinking water is concerned? And how do you combat mould? Answers to these and other questions in our FAQ. read more (in German)  

Science & Research

Ventilation, ventilation systems and mobile air cleaners at schools

Aerosol particles play a key role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. In view of the current spread of mutations, the question arises regarding measures to reduce the transmission of the virus in schools as well. In the following, we summarise the areas of application of ventilation, ventilation systems and mobile air cleaners in schools from an indoor hygiene and current perspective. read more (in German)  

Requirements for mobile air cleaners at schools

The German Environment Agency (UBA) and the Association of German Engineers (VDI) have developed requirements and test criteria for mobile air cleaners. Air cleaners that meet these conditions are suitable for reducing the virus load in classrooms, for example, where ventilation is insufficient.  read more (in German)  

Calculation of the greenhouse effect of streaming, video conferencing & co

Working in the home office, e-learning, online events and streaming films: This is now everyday life for most people. But how environmentally friendly are cloud services really? A study commissioned by the UBA has developed a method for calculating the CO2 footprint of data-intensive cloud applications. This allows for the determination of definitive data on the environmental impacts.  read more (in German)  

Energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings through serial prefabrication

Industrial prefabrication of façade elements for energy-efficient building refurbishment, as is already being tested in other European countries, could make an important contribution to climate protection in Germany, according to a study commissioned by the UBA. The basic idea is to renovate a residential building to a zero-energy house level cost-effectively in one step and within a few days.  read more (in German)  

Plastics recycling: Optimisation creates further reduction in environmental impact

The current technical possibilities of plastics recycling are not used sufficiently in practice. Optimisation could further improve the quality of recycled plastics and substitute more primary plastics equivalently. The environmental relief would be higher than the consumption of energy, water and operating resources associated with the innovations.  read more (in German)  

Economy and Environment

in einem Geschäft hängen viele weiße T-Shirts auf Bügeln an einer Stange

SustainFashion - Sustainability information all about textiles

Information on sustainability in the textile and fashion industry - this is what the new online platform by HEJSupport offers, funded by the UBA as part of an Associations project. Different aspects of the sector are highlighted, such as environmental pollution or human rights, and allows people to speak who share their visions for more sustainability. read more

Renewable energies in the 1st half of 2021 show mixed results

Low winds caused a decline of 10 percent in "green" electricity in the first half of 2021. Biofuel sales also fell by about 13 per cent due to low travel activity due to the pandemic, while renewable energy use for heat increased by 13 per cent due to the cold spring weather. This is shown by the latest data from the Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics (AGEE-Stat). read more (in German)  

The Blue Angel stands for environmentally compatible data centres

Data centre operators play a central role in digitalisation and assume great responsibility. The computing and storage power should not only be provided securely and promptly, but also as energy-efficiently and resource-efficiently as the state of knowledge and technology allows. The "Blue Angel" eco-label aims to provide support in this regard. read more (in German)  

Conference on guidance options for advanced materials

On 14 June, stakeholders from authorities, research, industry and non-governmental organisations discussed possible guidance options for promoting safe and sustainable innovations of advanced materials at a symposium organised by the UBA. read more (in German)  

Environment at municipal level

Fahrradfahren in Chemnitz im Edgar

European Mobility Week: national competition to start in autumn

Car-free days, free public transport, e-cargo bike trials – Since its launch in 2002, more and more municipalities as well as companies, associations and educational institutions have been taking part in European Mobility Week (EMW). The German Environment Agency (UBA) is launching the first nationwide competition this year to honour this commitment. read more

Download project unit for schools on climate protection now

I, you, we, they - What can the individual do for climate protection?: Under this title, educational material for individual, social and political aspects of CO2 reduction is addressed. The lesson series of six middle school lessons offers material and guidance for teachers. Individual modules are also suitable for use as stand-alone units in the classroom. read more (in German)  

Environment International

Two fingers hold a drawn globe. In the background you can see a green meadow of flowers.

Climate commitments need to be more ambitious and tangible

Parties to the Paris Agreement are updating their plans for climate action. Less than half of the countries analysed as part of a project funded by the German Environment Agency are increasing their ambition. Many are lacking a clear plan for implementation. This is the result of a new methodology, which analyses 20 recently submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). read more

Die Erdkugel und Wörter in einer Programmiersprache.

For digital environmental sustainability worldwide

How can the immense potential of digitalisation be tapped for the benefit of all without consuming excessive resources and energy? These and other questions were discussed by over 150 international experts with the support of the German Environment Agency (UBA) at the virtual conference of the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) on 30 June and 1 July 2021. read more

View over a big city.

Co-learning: how-tos of greater urban environmental protection

Air pollution, climate change, land sealing, waste and water management are some of the greatest environmental challenges for urban areas. To tackle these challenges, cities need sufficient funds, staff, technical innovation, political commitment, and a national framework and incentives. An UBA study examined six urban areas in six countries. read more

Transformation of EU agricultural subsidies: Initial proposals

The Commission on the Future of Agriculture has advocated that EU agricultural subsidies should be completely converted to a remuneration of public services provided by agriculture within the next two funding periods (until 2034). UBA supports this recommendation and makes suggestions in current publications on how this could be achieved. read more (in German)  

First European master plan for bicycle traffic adopted

At the conference of the Pan-European Programme for Transport, Health and Environment (THE PEP), European ministers for transport, health and environment adopted the first master plan to promote bicycle traffic. The clear commitment from 41 countries is a huge boost for the promotion of bicycle traffic. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer spoke out in favour of a vigorous bicycle traffic system. read more (in German)  

Law & Legislation


Restriction proposal on PFASs: new survey

All affected stakeholders (associations and companies) as well as manufactures of alternatives are invited to complete the questionnaire for a restriction proposal on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) before October 17 2021. The restriction shall cover the manufacture, placing on the market and use of all PFASs in the EU. read more

Changes in the Packaging Act from July 2021

On 3 July, an amendment to the Packaging Act comes into effect. Aim: Waste prevention and more recycling. For example, certain single-use plastic products that end up in the environment particularly often are prohibited. The mandatory deposit for disposable beverage containers is extended. Reusable packaging must be offered in the to-go sector. And: Service and despatch packaging is better integrated. read more (in German) 

Get involved now: Measures to protect the North Sea and the Baltic Sea

Sea and the Baltic Sea, thus fulfilling the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). 20 new measures are intended to reduce substance discharges from ships, air pollutant emissions and risks of non-indigenous species, among other things, and to better protect species and habitats. The public has until 31.12.2021 to comment on the draft. read more (in German)  

UBA News

Excavators at work in an open pit

Resource Commission at UBA in the third appointment period

At its first meeting on May 25, 2021, the newly formed Resources Commission at the German Environment Agency (UBA) was constituted for the appointment period 2021 to 2024. The Resource Commission consists of 18 experts from science, industry, administration, and civil society, who were personally appointed by the President of UBA. read more

New newsletter service on emissions trading

The German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) at the Federal Environment Agency is converting from an electronic serial letter to a smart newsletter. The DEHSt newsletter provides you with news on all important topics concerning emissions trading - for example, regular reports on auctions, the development of emissions trading and event invitations. Register now.  read more on DEHSt website  

Federal government offsets emissions from its business trips for 2020

This year, the Federal Government is again activating the offset of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by its business trips and journeys. Around 175,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents are to be offset for emissions originating in 2020. read more (in German)  

Prof. Dr Daniel Klingenfeld heads Department V 3

Since March 2021, Daniel Klingenfeld has headed Division V 3 - Energy Installations, Aviation,Registry and Economic Aspects. In addition, Leuphana University Lüneburg recently appointed him honorary professor at the Faculty of Sustainability. read more (in German)  

Recently published

Cover of publication TEXTE 100/2021 Advancing REACH - Consultation Procedures

Advancing REACH - Consultation Procedures

Public consultation is a very important process for a better participation and takes place on a voluntary basis. For ⁠REACH⁠, several public consultation procedures were therefore incorporated as part of the different REACH processes, such as substance evaluations, substance identifications, restrictions or authorisation procedures. The different consultation procedures and their more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 80/2021 Advancing REACH: Interplay of the REACH Processes

Advancing REACH: Interplay of the REACH Processes

The report aims at identifying deficits in the interplay of the ⁠REACH⁠ processes registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction and points out potential obstacles in meeting the regulation’s goal of achieving a high level of protection in an efficient way. The interfaces between the processes registration, dossier evaluation, substance evaluation, authorisation and more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 89/2021 Assessment of communication masking in Antarctic marine mammals by underwater sound from airguns

Assessment of communication masking in Antarctic marine mammals by underwater sound from airguns

Marine mammals depend largely on their sense of hearing. Underwater noise can lead to acoustic masking of biologically important sounds. Marine airguns used for scientific studies of the seabed produce this type of sound. In this project, models were developed to assess the masking potential of airguns on blue whale, fin whale, killer whale and Weddell seal communication. The results of the more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 108/2021 Bioaccumulation of ionic compounds - Deriving of alternative screening criteria from experimental studies

Bioaccumulation of ionic compounds - Deriving of alternative screening criteria from experimental studies

Many chemicals for which a PBT assessment is necessary are ionized in the environment. Therefore, the project aimed to find appropriate screening criteria for ionic organic chemicals (IOCs) to estimate their bioaccumulation potential. Twenty possible parameters were examined. The partitioning coefficient between water and fish calculated with COSMOmic showed the strongest correlation with more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 23/2021 Carbon Bubble – Analyses, economic risks, measures and instruments

Carbon Bubble – Analyses, economic risks, measures and instruments

Conditions for investment in climate protection are quite favorable. Nevertheless, financial resources continue to flow into fossil energy sources. This is accompanied by risks. To assess these risks, UBA has had a method developed which allows financial institutions to roughly estimate transitory climate risks. Simulating the economic development of certain key industries shows that climate more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of Climate Change 57/2021 Criteria for the evaluation of climate protection scenarios

Criteria for the evaluation of climate protection scenarios

Climate protection scenarios are an important basis for long-term climate protection planning. The modelling, which is often carried out in extensive studies, is a central source of information for decision makers and stakeholders in the development of climate protection strategies. This report outlines a catalog of criteria for the systematic evaluation of long-term climate protection more

Climate Change
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication Dokumentation 03/2021 Critical loads for eutrophication and acidification for European terrestrial ecosystems

Critical loads for eutrophication and acidification for European terrestrial ecosystems

The project aimed to improve the European background database used by the Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE) to calculate Critical Loads (CLs) for eutrophication and acidification for (semi-) natural European terrestrial ecosystems. The database is used when member countries do not provide their own CL data to the CCE. In this case, the missing country data are replaced by the results of more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 111/2021 Development of concepts and methods for compilation and assessment of selected anthropogenic pressures in the context of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Development of concepts and methods for compilation and assessment of selected anthropogenic pressures in the context of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

In 2008, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive entered into force, with the overall objective to achieve and/or maintain a good status of the marine environment by 2020. The good environmental status has to be defined in accordance with qualitative Descriptors specified through a Commission Decision. The project developed a first understanding and assessment concepts for descriptors 2 ( more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 97/2021 Environmental Due Diligence in EU Law: Considerations for Designing EU (Secondary) Legislation

Environmental Due Diligence in EU Law

Considerations for Designing EU (Secondary) Legislation

The debate on sustainability related corporate due diligence obligations in global value chains has recently gained considerable momentum, in particular at EU level. However, so far, it has been dominated by the focus on human rights due diligence. By contrast, relatively little attention has been paid to the specifics of a stand-alone environmental due diligence obligation. This paper more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 101/2021 Marine Regions Forum: An international stakeholder forum to strengthen regional ocean governance

Marine Regions Forum

An international stakeholder forum to strengthen regional ocean governance

The marine environment, subject to multiple pressures, is transboundary by nature. For ocean management and conservation, there is a need of enhanced collaboration and cross-sectoral solutions. This project aimed to develop a participatory dialogue platform that strengthens cooperation within and between marine regions in line with the 2030 Agenda. The “Marine Regions Forum” brings together more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication Climate Change 52/2021 NDC Design: Systematic analysis

NDC Design

Systematic analysis

The Paris Agreement on climate change includes a five-year cycle to increase ambition for reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. Part of this cycle is the submission of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which detail the climate action countries intend to take. This publication includes a methodology, which allows for a systematic analysis of the design of the NDC and applies it more

Climate Change
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication TEXTE 102/2021 Options under International Law to Increase Resource Efficiency

Options under International Law to Increase Resource Efficiency

Resource protection and resource efficiency are an ecological, economic and social necessity. Many resources are limited and under pressure from the rising world population, production methods, consumer behaviour and the high per capita resource consumption. Using more and more resources will exceed the limits of the earth’s ecological carrying capacity in the foreseeable future. This more

Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of brochure Shaping sustainable digitisation

Shaping sustainable digitisation

A discussion paper from the German Environment Agency

Digitisation is not only transforming our society it is also having an impact on the environment: On the one hand, digitisation can improve the state of the environment for example through digitally optimised production processes. On the other hand, negative environmental rebound effects can arise, like a higher demand for internet-enabled products from which an increase in usage of resources more

brochure / flyer
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publication Climate Change 48/2021 Towards Sustainable Adaptation Pathways: A concept for integrative actions to achieve the 2030 Agenda

Towards Sustainable Adaptation Pathways

A concept for integrative actions to achieve the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework

Conceptual and analytical paper

In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction were adopted, linked by a common emphasis on reducing vulnerabilities. This report on the concept of Sustainable Adaptation Pathways (SAPs) is intended to support stakeholders involved in the implementation processes to identify and to use synergies in planning and more

Climate Change
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of Climate Change 53/2021 The European Commission’s Renovation Wave Initiative for the Building Sector

The European Commission’s Renovation Wave Initiative for the Building Sector

Discussion paper

In summer 2020, the European Commission launched the Renovation Wave Initiative as an important building block of the European Green Deal. The aim is to at least double the renovation rates of public and private buildings over the next ten years and to promote deeper renovations. Together with the decarbonization of heat supply, this should enable a significant reduction in direct greenhouse more

Climate Change
Number of pages
Year of publication
Cover of publications TEXTE 107/2021 Urban environmental protection international: Stock-taking and Outlook

Urban environmental protection international

Stock-taking and outlook

The aim of this study is to contribute to a learning process about innovative and successful approaches to overcoming problems and challenges of urban environmental protection. To this end, a detailed overview of the importance of environmental challenges, political priorities and successful solutions in selected countries and cities is given. Based on this, the study analyzes specific success more

Number of pages
Year of publication

As recounted


Germany's public bathing waters are in good condition. Around 91 % of inland waters and almost 84 % of coastal waters achieved excellent bathing water quality in 2020, measured against the quality requirements of the EU Bathing Water Directive. The proportion of bathing waters complying with the guide and limit values increased steadily between 1992 and 2001. 



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).

Privacy policy

Created on

The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment