No.: 5/2023Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear Readers,

We need to acknowledge an inconvenient fact: capturing and storing CO using CCS technology is not a miracle cure for climate change. If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change for humans and the environment, phasing out fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil is the only solution. Read this newsletter to find out why.

This issue also covers the Global Framework on Chemicals adopted at the 5th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), the newly opened Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence and Big Data at the German Environment Agency, as well as the need for improved protection of water resources.

We hope you find it an interesting read

The Press Office of the German Environment Agency


CO₂ storage must not hinder the phase-out of fossil fuels

schematische Darstellung der Verpressung von CO2 in den Boden
Carbon Capture and Storage CCS (schematic diagram)
Source: Umweltbundesamt

It sounds practical enough: Don’t let harmful CO escape into the atmosphere through the chimney; instead capture it, liquefy it under pressure and store it underground using carbon capture and storage (CCS). However, potential storage sites are limited, and many uncertainties and risks are far from being resolved. If storage sites are not permanently – i.e. over a period of more than 10,000 years – leakproof, escaping CO can not only harm the climate, but also people if stored in inhabited areas or marine environments if stored in the seabed.

This is why CCS cannot replace the phase-out of coal, gas and oil, or the increased use of wood instead of concrete in the construction industry. It should only be used for truly unavoidable CO emissions. With highly ambitious policies for the protection of biodiversity and the climate, natural carbon sinks such as forests and peatlands can offset most of these unavoidable emissions. This means that the need for CCS could be minimal or non-existent. However, if climate change mitigation continues to be drawn out, there is a risk that the natural sinks may not be sufficient. The UBA therefore suggests first testing the CCS technology at waste incineration plants. There, heat and electricity are generated from non-recyclable waste but CO is also produced. This would allow to gain experience with the technology, storage and monitoring, and enable better assessment of environmental risks and permanency.

CCS must never take priority over the avoidance of the production of greenhouse gases or the development and protection of natural carbon sinks such as forests and peatlands, which remove CO from the atmosphere and promote biodiversity.

Climate / Energy

Cars and trucks on a motorway

Additional measures needed to achieve climate targets

The German government's 2023 Projection Report, coordinated by the German Environment Agency (UBA), analyses current climate protection policy. The report shows that the achievement of the national climate targets by 2030 and 2045 is at risk without additional measures. read more

Cover des Fact Sheets "Short Typology of Carbon Dioxide Removals"

Short Typology of Carbon Dioxide Removals

How to best differentiate methods and technologies for establishing and enhancing carbon sinks?

On 30 November 2022, the Commission proposed a voluntary EU carbon removal certification framework (CRCF) in order to promote carbon dioxide removal (CDR) through natural and technical approaches and spur investments into the respective technologies. This paper analyzes CDR typologies, compares them to CDR in the CRCF and identifies room for improvements. The aim is to stimulate the public more

fact sheet
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Cover des Factsheets "Introduction of an emissions trading system for buildings..."

Introduction of an emissions trading system for buildings, road transport and additional sectors in the EU

In addition to the EU ETS 1, a separate emissions trading system (EU ETS 2) is to be created within the scope of the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) for the consumption of fossil fuels in buildings, road transport and additional sectors. This EU-ETS 2 is to start in 2027 and is designed as an upstream system analogous to the German national emissions trading system (nEHS).read more

fact sheet
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Cover des Factsheets "Aviation in the EU ETS and CORSIA in the ‘Fit for 55’ package"

Aviation in the EU ETS and CORSIA in the ‘Fit for 55’ package

The EU agreement of June 2023

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council agreed on a series of legislative proposals as part of the 'Fit for 55' package, which are intended to align energy and climate policy instruments with the new climate target of reducing emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. This factsheet presents key aspects of the agreement on aviation in the framework of more

fact sheet
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Cover des Berichts "National Energy and Climate Plans: Evidence of Policy Impacts and Options for more Transparency"

National Energy and Climate Plans: Evidence of Policy Impacts and Options for more Transparency

A Meta Study assessing Evaluations of selected Policies reported in the Danish, French, German, Slovenian, and Swedish Plan

The meta study makes suggestions on content requirements, transparency and comprehensibility of NECP reporting and contributes to its further development. The authors analysed the German NECP and the NECPs of Denmark, France, Sweden and Slovenia. The focus was on the methodology of ex-ante and ex-post evaluations, the contributions of 23 PaMs to the achievement of the EU climate protection and more

Climate Change
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Cover des Berichts "Transformative mitigation actions as an outcome of the Global Stocktake"

Transformative mitigation actions as an outcome of the Global Stocktake

The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement offers an opportunity to formulate specific messages for increasing climate change mitigation to inform Parties in updating and enhancing their actions. Based on available literature, an overview of key mitigation actions, including targets as well as potential and further characteristics, are provided. A compilation of key messages on climate more

Climate Change
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Cover of report "Update of methane emission factors for natural gas supply"

Update of methane emission factors for natural gas supply

Comparison of previous greenhouse gas reporting methods with new findings from emission measurements in Germany

The European Green Deal, the Methane Pledge based on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2021, the German Climate Protection Act, and other national and international efforts intend to reduce global methane emissions. Against this background, it is necessary to reflect the efforts of industry and politics in the national inventories. Extensive measurement programs of more

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Price transparency to increase acceptance of district heating development

The development of local and district heating in Germany is important in allowing more and more buildings to be heated in a climate-neutral manner. However, broad acceptance among (potential) customers requires an improvement of the transparency and control of the prices for district heating services. A new factsheet published by the German Environment Agency presents various approaches. read more (in German)

Expression of interest procedure: research project on climate adaptation

The German Environment Agency is issuing a grant (project funding) in the competition which follows the public expression of interest procedure in line with §§ 23 and 44 of the German Federal Budget Code (BHO) for the project: “Angewandte Forschung zu den Potenzialen naturbasierter Lösungen für Klimaanpassung” (“Applied research on the potentials of nature-based solutions for climate adaption”) in the Natural Climate Change Mitigation action programme. Project outlines must be submitted by 07.12.2023. read more (in German)


Climate change promotes the spread of viruses via mosquitos

According to an analysis carried out on behalf of the German Environment Agency, native and exotic mosquito species found in Germany may act as vectors for the chikungunya and zika viruses. This risk is heightened with increasing temperatures caused by climate change. For example, if people return from trips abroad while infected with these viruses, mosquitos can catch them through bites and transmit them to other people. read more (in German)

ChemInfo provides information about aspartame

The food additive aspartame is used as a sweetener in many foods such as sugar-free soft drinks. Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans. What does this mean? And where is the use of aspartame actually allowed? The ChemInfo chemicals database has the answers to these questions. read more (in German)


The 5th International Conference on Chemicals Management took place from 25 to 29 September 2023

New Global Framework on Chemicals adopted

The Global Framework on Chemicals (GFC) adopted at the fifth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) in Bonn sets concrete targets and guidelines for the entire lifecycle of chemicals. In addition to this framework, the conference also adopted the Bonn Declaration, in which ministers and delegation leaders committed to the implementation of the GFC. read more

Cover des Berichts "Consideration of disinfection by-products in the environmental risk assessment of biocidal products"

Consideration of disinfection by-products in the environmental risk assessment of biocidal products

Inventory & development of recommendations for the assessment

The project compiled data on disinfection by-products (DBPs) as well as biocidal active substances from product types (PTs) 1-5, 11 and 12. DBP formation potential of each active ingredient was evaluated. In a modeling approach, distribution of selected DBPs and biocidal active substances for applications in solution and on surfaces was estimated. The formation of approximately 60 DBPs was more

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Titel des Berichts "Literature review and assessment of available toxicological data for PFAS"

Literature review and assessment of available toxicological data for PFAS

In the present study, a search was carried out on the current toxicological and epidemiological data on 20 perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS, C4-C13 carboxylic and sulfonic acids) regulated in the Drinking Water Ordinance as well as 4 substitutes (GenX, ADONA, 6:2 FTSA, C604). The aim was to prepare this data as a basis for the toxicological assessment of the substances with regard to more

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Campaign for sustainable rat management (KaRMa)

KaRMa helps local authorities make urban environments less attractive for rats. The goal is to reduce the availability of food for rats in parks, playgrounds and sewers to prevent them from settling there in the first place, thus reducing the need to use rat poison. As well as saving money, this would be conducive to the protection of health and the environment. read more (in German)

ECHA receives over 5,600 comments on the PFAS restriction proposal

The six-month public consultation on the proposal to restrict PFAS (perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) ended on 25.09.2023. Over 5,600 comments were submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by 4,400 organisations, companies and individuals. read more (in German)

REACH restriction dossier on bisphenols withdrawn

By the end of the six-month public consultation on the restriction proposed by the German authorities, which ran from December 2022 to June 2023, the submissions of numerous stakeholders had provided substantial new information on the uses and emissions of the five bisphenols under consideration (BPA, BPS, BPB, BPF and BPAF). read more (in German)


Listen up! You can hear all about the EMW in our podcast

Our Vorwärts podcast series about the European Mobility Week (EMW) is finally available and you can find it wherever you get your podcasts: Episode 0 – A brief introduction to the podcast series – and Episode 2 – Social media – are now available (in German). read more (in German)

Economy / Consumption

Drohnenansicht eines kontaminierten, giftigen Wasserlaufs in Geamana, Rumänien

OECD handbook reinforces environmental protection in raw material

The new OECD Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains is a milestone for environmental protection in global value chains. For the first time, a clear description is given of how companies can identify, assess and prioritise environmental issues at the beginning of their global supply chains and take measures to prevent, mitigate or find solutions to arising problems. read more

Working aids: uncovering environmental risks in global supply chains

Systematic supply chain analysis and environmental risk assessment are challenging tasks, particularly for medium-sized companies. That’s why the German Environment Agency (UBA) arranged an assessment of the global supply chains of the German automotive, electronics and engineering industries. The findings provide orientation and support the implementation of due diligence obligations in the supply chain. read more (in German)

Waste / Resources

Mixed waste on a conveyer belt in a waste treatment plant

Climate protection through Circular Economy in Germany and the EU

For the EU27 and Germany, the climate protection potential of the circular economy was examined for municipal waste, industrial & commercial, construction & demolition and food waste for 2017 and 2030 using the life cycle assessment method. The study shows the sector's GHG mitigation potential, including food waste prevention, in the context of the EU legal framework and the energy tran... read more

Cover of the position paper of the resource commission at the german environment agency (KRU)

Opportunities and limits of recycling in the context of the circular economy

Framework conditions, requirements, and recommendations for action

In addition to environmental and climate policy objectives, the Circular Economy is also essential for strengthening the security of supply and for achieving further economic and socio-economic goals. Recycling is one of the key factors along with a range of other approaches and strategies (e.g., longevity, Intensity of use, and the sharing economy). In order to assess the contribution and the more

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Cover des Berichts "Tailings Management Facilities (TMF) Safety Methodology"

Tailings Management Facilities (TMF) Safety Methodology

The Tailings Management Facility (TMF) Safety Methodology is mainly based on the requirements and principles declared in “Safety guidelines and good practices for tailings management facilities” endorsed by the Conference of the Parties to the UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents as well as other comparable international TMF standards. The TMF Safety more

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Practice of sorting and recycling packaging 2021/2022

In 2021/2022 in Germany, packaging made of metal, glass, paper/cardboard and rigid standard plastics continued to be largely sorted and recycled at a rate comparable to previous years. However, the recycling of fibre-based (composite) packaging, which is disposed of in the yellow bags, has decreased. The technology used for sorting and recycling could still be optimised. read more (in German)

Recyclability of packaging: minimum standard in 2023

Manufacturers of certain types of packaging are required to participate in a “dual system” of waste collection in Germany to ensure that packaging is collected, sorted and recycled. Since 2019, fees for this have also been assessed according to how well a package can be recycled. The minimum standard on how to determine suitability for recycling has now been adapted to new developments in the packaging industry. read more (in German)


Water splashing on someone's hands

Water resources must be better protected

Slow-to-degrade, mobile and partly toxic chemicals, so-called PMT/vPvM substances, can endanger our water resources over a long period of time. That is why the German Environment Agency – in line with the European chemicals regulation REACH – is calling for emissions of such substances into the environment to be minimised. The urgent need for action is shown by four new UBA studies. read more

A stream between two fields

Wherever spraying takes place, streams are damaged

A new study commissioned by the German Environment Agency shows that pesticide contamination of small bodies of water is particularly high where many pesticides are used on surrounding fields. In 80 percent of the investigated streams in Germany's agricultural landscape, the pesticides measured exceeded the limits set for animals and plants. read more

ship while handling fertilisers

Environmentally friendly handling of fertiliser in ports

Handling of fertilisers in German ports can cause nutrients to enter coastal waters. This can lead to oxygen depletion in the waters and have a severe adverse effect on living organisms. During transshipment, between 0.025 and 0.00000083 per cent of fertiliser can end up in the water. Protective covers between the ship and the quay wall and cleaning of the transshipment areas can counteract this. read more

Too much litter and nutrient contamination in the North-East Atlantic

In September 2023, the latest Quality Status Report of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) was presented to the public. This is the most comprehensive assessment of ecological status ever conducted for the North-East Atlantic. Despite protection efforts dating back several years, a good status is yet to be achieved. read more (in German)

Sustainability / Strategies / International Matters

Weltkarte aus grünen Blättern nachgebildet, darum sind Symbole für Nachhaltigkeit gruppiert wie das Recycling-Symbol und erneuerbare Energien

High level panel discussion: Circular Economy

German Environment Agency (UBA) together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) host a joint discussion of experts from science, politics and intergovernmental organizations in Brussels on 26 october 2023. What might a circular world economy look like that meets the high expectation of living and doing business equitably within planetary boundaries? read more

Cover of report "Land use monitoring and land take in international comparison"

Land use monitoring and land take in international comparison

Methods and data

The high land take rate is a problem throughout Europe. The EU demands that land take will be reduced to net zero until the year 2050 (no net land take target). However, land take in Europe is recorded at national level using different methods. Depending on whether the surveys are based on aerial photo data or cadastral data, the results differ significantly in some cases. In a research more

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Cover des Berichts "Qualitative and quantitative modelling of the efficacy of policy instruments"

Qualitative and quantitative modelling of the efficacy of policy instruments

Opportunities and limitations for applicability to the field of climate change adaptation

This study presents the results of a comprehensive research of qualitative and quantitative modelling approaches to analyse the efficacy of policy instruments for complex problems and including social aspects. In addition to reviewing existing modelling approaches (e.g. System Dynamics and Agent-based Modelling), this study addresses the opportunities and limitations of applying the findings more

Climate Change
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Cover des Berichts "Environmental Protection in the Arctic – support of German activities in the Arctic Council in terms of a pilot study on monitoring plastic litter on arctic coastlines applying remote sensing techniques"

Environmental Protection in the Arctic – support of German activities in the Arctic Council in terms of a pilot study on monitoring plastic litter on arctic coastlines applying remote sensing techniques

Uniform monitoring of beach litter in the Arctic is crucial for assessing the state of the environment and the success of measures against plastic debris to protect the marine environment. In this project, remote sensing methods such as satellite imagery and drone imagery were used to efficiently survey beaches in the Arctic. The results show that a combination of satellite imagery, drone more

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Turning city centres into places of sustainable consumption

City centres are becoming less and less attractive because consumers prefer to purchase products online. How can we breathe new life into city centres? Can local authorities use sustainable options for consumption to turn them back into attractive, lively and communal places? The research project “Turning city centres into places of sustainable consumption” (SONa) is testing this in three local pilot projects. read more (in German)


A view of the National Centre for Environmental and Nature Conservation Information in Merseburg

UBA launches National Centre for Environmental and Nature Conservation Information

UBA today officially opened the National Centre for Environmental and Nature Conservation Information in Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt. The team, currently consisting of eleven people, will grow to 25 employees by the end of 2024. Their task will be to set up the internet portal. In future, the portal will bundle all relevant information on environmental protection and nature conservation. read more

UBA News

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner

UBA President Messner among top 30 major EU environmental actors

ENDS Europe, the news service for EU environmental protection, published its first Impact List in October 2023. It includes 30 EU politicians and experts whom ENDS Europe considers to have had the most influence on EU environmental policy in the last two years – and German Environment Agency (UBA) President, Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner, is one of them. read more

When in operation, the building will be entirely self-sufficient in renewable energy – through photovoltaics and a heat pump.

New UBA building serves as a model for sustainable construction

When in operation, the building will be entirely self-sufficient in renewable energy – through photovoltaics and a heat pump. In addition, environmentally compatible building materials such as recycled concrete and insulation with renewable raw materials were used. The building can therefore serve as a model for other federal buildings. read more

Dr. Olena Matukhno mit der Urkunde für die „Green heart leader“-Ehrenauszeichnung

Ukrainian UBA guest scientist earns a fellowship and an honour

Ukrainian guest scientist Dr Olena Matukhno has received the Georg Forster Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers and the Green Heart Leader honorary award. She has worked at the German Environment Agency (UBA) since June 2022. The research is centred around achieving the climate goals in the Ukrainian iron and steel industry through decarbonisation and carbon offsetting measures. read more

UBA Vice President Lilian Busse appointed as honorary professor

Vice President of the German Environment Agency, Dr. Lilian Busse, was appointed as an Honorary Professor by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) on 25.09.2023. Since 2018, she has been giving seminars about the intersection between science and political consulting, with a particular focus on the topic of water, at the TUM School for Life Sciences. read more (in German)

Dr. Jeremias Herberg appointed as new Head of UBA President´s Office

In August 2023, Dr. Jeremias Herberg took charge of the President´s Office in the German Environment Agency. He is an environmental sociologist with extensive knowledge and experience at the intersection between research and political consulting. read more (in German)

Carina Harms appointed as new Head of UBA “Administration, Central Services” Department

Carina Harms took charge of the UBA “Administration, Central Services” Department” on 15 August 2023. This makes her responsible for many of the things “that make an office worth working at”, says Harms. The department is part of the Central Office Division and includes the units “Personnel”, “Finance”, “Building and Engineering”, “Legal Affairs, In-House-Services, Registry" and "Administrative Project Management, Central Contract Awarding”. read more (in German)


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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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