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30 Mar 2021, 13:40
Edgar Meza

Few positive developments in state of German environment - env agency

Clean Energy Wire

There have been few positive developments in the state of the German environment in 2020, according to the Umweltmonitor 2020 report of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The study examines ten central issues, from climate, water and air to land use and noise, each with three key indicators. While there have been recent improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and air quality, other areas have worsened. Climate has shown improvement due to recent greenhouse gas emission reductions, yet this can be attributed to the large impact of the coronavirus crisis, according to the report.

In the transport sector in particular, emissions are expected to rise again if mobility returns to pre-crisis levels after the pandemic. In addition, the “hot days” and “global air temperature” indicators are in the red. The UBA was similarly careful with apparent improvements in air quality, which saw fine dust remain below the limit value for the second time in 2020. The agency noted, however, that it does not consider the limit value ​​to be sufficient for protecting health and recommends a revision. "Short-term improvements, such as lower greenhouse gas emissions, must not make us forget that there is still a considerable need for action in environmental protection, such as the state of water," said UBA president Dirk Messner.

Permanent grassland which is important for species protection but also as a carbon sink, has decreased by 11 percent between 1991 and 2019, the report states. This is due to an increased demand for animal fodder and for energy crops.  

“Achieving long-term environmental goals is crucial,” Messner said. “It is now important to initiate ecologically compatible and trend-setting developments.” The crisis has opened an opportunity for ecological restructuring that could combine post-coronavirus crisis reconstruction with the fight against climate change⁠ and the other environmental crises, he added.

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