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Climate | Energy

Climate change brought about by the sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial era is a global challenge that the community of nations is hoping can be mastered via an effective international climate protection treaty that is slated to take effect in 2020. The top priority in this regard is greenhouse gas emission reductions. The goal of German energy policy is to reduce such emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. The measures in this regard aim to increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

If we are to have any hope of reducing greenhouse gases, we will need to substantially roll back energy use, improve energy efficiency and at the same time ramp up renewable energy production and use. To leverage this potential, we need to institute efficiency measures and optimize renewable energy technologies. But to do this, it is crucial that economic, infrastructure and political obstacles be overcome.

What is the key to the success of climate protection measures? Timely, sustainable infrastructure investments worldwide that will create conditions early on and in a timely manner that will be conducive to adherence to the two degree ceiling. Hence transformation of our economic systems and their underlying socioeconomic structures (energy systems, urbanization and land use) will need to begin at the national level, and then continue based on an across the board sustainable-development paradigm on the global level. As a society, we need to be very clear about the fact that climate protection cannot and will not be achieved through technical solutions alone, and will instead necessitate fundamental transformation of our lifestyles, "mentalités", and values.

In the interest of moving toward achieving these goals, in 2010 the German government adopted an ambitious energy infrastructure transformation program that sets a long term strategy for German energy and climate policy. We at the UBA are supporting this process through our own investigations of long term scenarios aimed at energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy, and energy-infrastructure transformation monitoring. To this end, we are implementing instruments such as carbon trading, the guarantee of origin register, and the "Blauer Engel" seal of environmental quality.

Global Initiative on “A Digital Planet for Sustainability”

Die Erdkugel mit der blauen Atmosphäre vor dem schwarzen Weltall

UBA together with UNDP, UNEP, Future Earth and ISC started the initiative A Digital Planet for Sustainability, which brings together science community, governmental institutions, UN Bodies, tech companies, and civil society. Because digitalization creates new opportunities for implementing the 2030 agenda and the UN's sustainability goals - and thus also for environmental and climate protection. read more


Climate change has an impact on the safety of installations

Lightning and technical installation

Sources of natural hazards, such as heavy rainfall, flooding, winter storms or lightning, can cause major accidents. Climate change can change the intensity, frequency and local distribution of such sources of hazards. Operators of installations in which large quantities of hazardous substances are present and the authorities responsible for them must therefore adapt their risk management. read more


CO2 emissions per kilowatt hour of electricity in further decline in 2019

overhead electicity line and wind power plants

The specific CO2 emission factor of Germany's electricity mix continues to be on the decline, say the latest calculations done by the German Environment Agency (UBA) for 2019. The main relevant factors which contributed to this were increased electricity generated from renewables and less from coal firing as well as prices in emissions trading. read more


Nomination of climate change adaptation projects

Blaues Logo des Wettbewerbs 2020

The German Environment Agency (UBA) has nominated 15 climate change adaptation projects to compete in the Blauer Kompass contest. Many exemplary actions are included, ranging from educational training modules in agriculture and climate-adapted housing, to heat protection for day care centres, schools and nursing homes. read more


2019 greenhouse gas emissions in Germany declined by 6.3 percent

in einer futuristisch anmutenden Szenerie mit blauem Licht stehen Solarpanels auf einer Wasserfläche, im Hintergrund Windkraftanlagen und Strommasten

Germany generated some 805 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 – 54 million tonnes (6.3%) less than in 2018. These are the results of a preliminary inventory of greenhouse gas emissions taken by the German Environment Agency (UBA), which continues the positive course of development of the previous year. With the exception of the global crisis year 2009, emissions reductions in 2019. read more


Speed limits on motorways clearly cut down CO2 emissions

Eine Autobahn

A general speed limit on German federal motorways would allow reductions of greenhouse gas emissions ranging between 1.9 and 5.4 million tonnes annually, depending on the actual limit imposed. These are the results of new calculations by the German Environment Agency (UBA). read more


The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment