No.: 6/2022Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear readers,

German consumption of raw materials is far over the global average and puts a strain on both the climate and the environment. More on this in our new “Resources Report for Germany 2022“ and in this newsletter issue.

Other topics include the impacts of the Corona pandemic on buses & railways as well as the financial involvement of manufacturers of disposable plastic products in waste disposal costs.

Furthermore, this newsletter also looks at, amongst other things, why Germany needs to approach water protection with more ambition and urgency.

Wishing you an interesting read,

The Press Office of the German Environment Agency

German material consumption 30 percent above global average

Opencast mining with large machines
Extraction and usage of raw materials is often associated with negative impacts on the environment.
Source: Andreas Fanke /

German consumption of raw materials, such as crude oil, timber or rare earths, has fallen slightly between 2018 and 2019 due to more efficient use. Provisional calculations for 2020 also show a slight drop, presumably due to the Corona pandemic. Total use of raw materials in Germany during 2019 amounted to 1.3 billion tonnes. This meant that the trend has remained relatively consistent over the last 10 years. However, our consumption remains around 30 per cent higher than the global average. In statistical terms, every German citizen has an “ecological rucksack” of consumed raw materials and minerals amounting to 16 tonnes, mainly for nutrition, living, and mobility. This is shown by the “Resources Report for Germany 2022“ from the German Environment Agency.

This also has a negative impact on the CO balance. Around 40 percent of German greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the mining and initial processing of raw materials. Furthermore, the import of products into Germany and the raw materials required for them cause environmental problems due to water and land use in other parts of the world. In 2021 the German water footprint amounted to around 201,318 million cubic metres, and the German land footprint in 2018 was around 74 million hectares. About half of the raw materials used for German consumption came from countries outside the European Union.

Future usage of raw materials can be made more sustainable with an ambitious policy towards raw materials. By 2030, a drop in raw material consumption of more than a third relative to 2019 is possible in Germany. Due to a mix of technological change and lifestyle changes, raw material consumption could be changed from the current level of 16 tonnes to 5.7 tonnes per head by 2050.

Climate / Energy

Four-storey office building with a façade made of wood and colourful glass elements; a photovoltaic system stands on the green roof

Conference „GHG-neutral Enterprises and Administration"

What criteria can be used to distinguish between greenwashing and green transformation in efforts by companies and public authorities to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality? This is the topic of an international conference commissioned by the German Environment Agency. It will be held in English on January 24 and 25, 2023 in Berlin. read more

Cover of SOP Regulatory Framework for the Certification of Carbon Removals – Remarks on the EU Commission’s Roadmap

Regulatory Framework for the Certification of Carbon Removals – Remarks on the EU Commission’s Roadmap

A brief assessment by the German Environment Agency

On 15.12.2021, the European Commission announces to create a legal framework in a communication on "Sustainable carbon cycles" according to which procedures for natural carbon sequestration and technical CO2 extraction and storage can be certified. By the end of 2022, the European Commission wants to make a legislative proposal. In this short position, the German Environment Agency points to more

Scientific Opinion Paper
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Erste Seite mit Text

The EU CBAM and a climate club: synergies and potential obstacles for full integration

This discussion paper analyses potential synergies between climate clubs and CBAMs. It presents a case study of the concrete proposals currently debated for implementation: 1) the EU CBAM which looks set to be adopted by the EU Council and Parliament later this year and 2) the proposal for a climate club that was adopted by the G7 at their summit in June 2022. Chapter 2 introduces the two more

fact sheet
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Findings of the 27th World Climate Conference

The 27th World Climate Conference was difficult in many respects and could only be described as being successful in parts. The successes include agreement about a fund to compensate for damages and losses to vulnerable countries. On the other hand, little progress was made to globally remedy the urgently required increase in ambition to mitigate climate change. read more (in German)

Numerous reports illustrate the lack of global climate change mitigation

Prior to the 27th UN Climate Conference (COP27), various reports were published, all stating that current global climate change mitigation measures are insufficient regarding compliance with the objectives of the Paris Convention and avoiding dramatic changes to our climate. Some key statements from various reports are summarised here. read more (in German)

Methane - the underestimated greenhouse gas

After carbon dioxide, methane is the second most important greenhouse gas. Reducing methane emissions plays a major part in climate change mitigation as well as protecting both humankind and our environment. The German Environment Agency has prepared a position paper that specifies concrete measures to reduce methane in Germany and worldwide. read more (in German)

Latest information about climate protection for peatland

What is peatland? Where is peatland located? How can they contribute to climate change mitigation? The answers to these questions, along with plenty of other information can be found on the new website for protecting peatlands by the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt), which is part of the German Environment Agency. read more on the DEHSt website


Cover of publication SOP Improving environmental protection in EU pharmaceutical legislation

Improving environmental protection in EU pharmaceutical legislation

Recommendations for reducing adverse environmental impacts from human pharmaceuticals

In preparation of the revision of Directive 2001/83/ EC and Regulation (EC) No 726/2004, the German Environment Agency (UBA) proposes legal changes to reduce pharmaceutical residues in the environment. The proposals are based on UBA’s experiences as competent authority for the environmental risk assessment (ERA) of pharmaceuticals. Our overall aim is to ensure a comprehensive risk management more

Scientific Opinion Paper
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Cover of publication SOP Towards sustainable plant protection

Towards sustainable plant protection

Evaluation of the draft regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products 2022/0196 (COD) with a focus on environmental protection

With the new draft regulation on the "Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products" (SUR), the European Commission is concretising the pesticide reduction target of 50% by 2030 stipulated in the Farm-to-Fork Strategy. The legally binding implementation of integrated pest management sets a new course for sustainable agriculture. However, for the success of practical implementation to contribute more

Scientific Opinion Paper
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Cover of publication TEXTE 133/2022 Are substances more persistent than test systems lead to believe? Non-extractable residues: experimental examination of suitable extraction methods in view of a long-term risk for the environment

Are substances more persistent than test systems lead to believe? Non-extractable residues: experimental examination of suitable extraction methods in view of a long-term risk for the environment

In transformation tests with organic substances in soil non-extractable residues (NER) are formed which remain there as residues. Some can be released again into the environment in the long-term and should be considered in the persistent assessment. Besides substances properties and soil characteristics the proportion of NER strongly depends on the extraction procedure. Within the European more

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Cover of publication TEXTE 134/2022 Development of a bioaccumulation test using Hyalella azteca

Development of a bioaccumulation test using Hyalella azteca

A test concept for bioconcentration tests with the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca (HYBIT) was recently described. It was shown that the Hyalella bioconcentration factors (BCFs) derived for compounds with different hydrophobic characteristics (log Kow 2.4 – 7.8) show a strong correlation to those from fish tests. This project was carried out to elucidate the suitability of the HYBIT test more

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REACH restriction dossier for bisphenols published

Along with the Federal Chemicals Office, the German Environment Agency has submitted an EU-wide restriction proposal to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) as part of the REACH Regulation for bisphenol A and other bisphenols with similar effects on the environment. This restriction proposal has now been published by the ECHA. Public consultation is expected to start in December. read more (in German)

Study in promoting alternatives to rat poison and similar

Biocide-free alternatives for safeguarding health or materials against pests are important instruments to reduce the effects of biocidal agents on the environment. This study investigated the measures used to encourage the use of alternatives. Amongst other things, it considers possible eco-labels, support programs or web-based information services. read more (in German)


Bilder auf der Straße: Bus, Pkw, Straßenbahn

Impact of coronavirus pandemic on public transport

The coronavirus pandemic and the increased use of digital formats that it has triggered is resulting in changes in public transport. Fear of infection and changed work conditions caused demand to drop in 2020/2021 in Germany. Measures such as the 9-euro ticket have proven that it takes innovative approaches to make public transport more attractive. A recent study has evaluated ideas on the topic. read more

Climate target for 2022: Transport sector in Germany still not on course

In 2021, the transport sector in Germany missed the target to reduce greenhouse gases that was set out by the Federal Climate Protection Act. Also, there was no fall in greenhouse gas emissions to the necessary extent in the first half of 2022. This can be concluded from the developments in relevant indicators for the first two quarters. read more (in German)

German Environment Agency recommends 30 as the speed limit within suburban areas

A speed limit of 30 km/h as a control speed within suburban areas could dramatically reduce noise pollution in towns and cities. Air pollution with pollutants from road traffic would fall slightly. This is shown by simulations in three case cities on behalf of the German Environment Agency. read more (in German)

Economy / Consumption


Environmentally Harmful Subsidies in Germany

Update 2021

The report provides an overview of environmentally harmful subsidies in Germany and makes proposals for their reform or reduction. It focuses on subsidies that have a negative impact on the environmental goods climate, air, soil, water, biodiversity and landscape, as well as on health and the consumption of raw materials. The report analyzes subsidies and their environmental impacts in the more

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Sustainable clothing - greater focus on longer usage

Focusing on the supply chain and recycling is not sufficient when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of the textile sector. It also requires more durable clothing, measures to improve durability and also reduced consumption. A new study from the German Environment Agency shows why companies and customers should put more emphasis on the durability of clothing. read more (in German)

Waste / Resources

Companies soon to assume costs for disposal of single-use plastic products

Whether coffee-to-go cups or cigarette butts, too much single-use plastic is landing on our streets and in parks. Cities and municipalities in particular incur costs of up to 434 million euros per year for collection and cleaning, says a study by the German Environment Agency (UBA). New EU regulation states that the manufacturers of single-use products will have to bear these costs. read more


Illegal Treatment of End-of-Life Vehicles

Assessment of the environmental, micro- and macroeconomic effects

In Germany, the whereabouts of several 100,000 deregistered vehicles are unknown every year. There is some evidence, that a part of these end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are illegally dismantled or exported. In this study, the environmental impacts and environmental costs were quantified as well as the economic impacts and market distortions caused by the illegal dismantlers. In addition, the cost more

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Increase demand and deployment of recycled plastics

Recycling of plastics can only work if the waste is recycled and the products that are made from this material (recyclate) are in demand. Public procurement and mandatory recyclate usage quotas may be helpful here. A study provides clear support for public tenders and recommends product-specific recyclate usage quotas. read more (in German)


Cover of publication TEXTE Review and revision of empirical critical loads of nitrogen for Europe

Review and revision of empirical critical loads of nitrogen for Europe

This report contains the scientific background to the review and revision of the empirical critical loads of nitrogen (CLempN) that had been established for Europe in 2011 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. This review uses for the first time gradient studies to evaluate and determine the ClempN. The results, as presented in Table 1 of the Executive Summary, more

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Cover der Publikation TEXTE 135/2022 CCE Status Report 2022

CCE Status Report 2022

Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE)

This report describes activities by the Coordination Centre for Effects (CCE) since the CCE was transferred from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) to the German Environment Agency (UBA) in 2018. The CCE is the programme centre for the International Cooperative Programme on Modelling and Mapping (ICP M&M) under the Working Group on Effects of the Convention of Long-range more

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Lake with reed belt and jetty

Only ten percent of Germany’s water ecologically intact, despite progress made

Currently, only slightly less than ten percent of rivers, lakes and coastal waters are in good ecological condition. Although this is a slight improvement over 2015, Germany still faces major challenges. According to the EU Water Framework Directive, water bodies should be "good" in terms of chemistry, ecology and – in the case of groundwater – also in terms of available quantity by 2027. read more

Sustainability / Strategies / International matters

Cover of publication TEXTE 115/2022 Cornerstones for a sustainable recovery program for Ukraine

Cornerstones for a sustainable recovery program for Ukraine

Discussion paper

Ukraine war and sustainability policy

This discussion paper presents the German Environment Agency's (UBA) initial considerations for a sustainable recovery program for Ukraine. The following principles should apply to the design of a recovery program: Integration of environmental, sustainability and economic policies; resilience; sufficiency; socially just design of reconstruction; ownership; learning orientation; solidarity; use more

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Launch of the EU compass for access grants for the latest funding period

The new EU communal compass for the 2021-2027 funding period covers funding opportunities from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) for municipal bodies and their project ideas. Database-supported research with various search and filter options mean fast recognition of all offers regarding the environment and sustainability. read more (in German)

UBA News

New department in the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt)

The German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) has a new organisational structure since 01/08/2022: With department V 4 “German Emissions Trading Authority: Fuel Emissions Trading and Information Technology”, a fourth department has been created within Section V of the German Environment Agency and it takes on new tasks focusing on national emissions trading for emissions due to heat and transport. read more (in German)


Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency)
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Phone: +49(0) 340 2103-2416
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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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