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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.

Healthy all summer long

That's good against heat: a cooling water bag

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

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

Ein Kraftwerk und Stromleitungen.

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

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Emissions trading: German installations cut emissions by 3.5 %

lignite mine and power plant

In 2018, the 1,875 stationary installations in Germany that take part in the emissions trading system (ETS) emitted around 422 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, about 3.5 percent less than in 2017. This continues the trend of the previous year, when emissions fell by 3.4 percent. read more

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Renewable energy share rises to 16.6 per cent in 2018

Photovoltaikanlage auf dem Dach des Umweltbundesamtes in Dessau-Roßlau

Developments in 2018 in the renewable energy sector reflect a rather mixed picture: in the electricity market renewable energies covered nearly 38 per cent of overall gross final electricity consumption, due mainly to the year’s unusually sunny weather. In the heating sector, the share of renewables rose only slightly, virtually unchanged compared to previous years at just under 14 per cent. read more

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CO2 removal should be limited to safe and sustainable measures

wet forest

The Paris Agreement set the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. To achieve this, it is essential to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions towards zero. Additional measures are needed to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, such as reforestation. However, UBA advises against betting on untried, risky technologies. read more

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Aligning EU Climate Policy with the Paris Agreement

Planet Earth

According to the IPCC, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to mitigate the risks. An UBA position paper outlines how the EU climate policy could be aligned with this goal. Already by 2020, the parties to the Paris Agreement are to submit their updated national climate contribution to limit global warming. Up to now, far less has been promised than would be necessary. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment