As in recent years, the German government and federal administration once again offset the entirety of its greenhouse gas emissions incurred through official travel in 2019. The German government will acquire and then surrender emission reduction credits, known as CERs, on the basis of ambitious international climate projects. The climate projects are reviewed and certified according to the UN rules under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The German Environment Agency (UBA) has issued an invitation for proposals for national and international climate projects in order to obtain these credits. The current call for tenders also lays the groundwork for offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions that will be produced during the German EU Council Presidency.
German Environment Minister Schulze said: "We are offsetting the emissions of unavoidable government trips by investing in exemplary international climate projects. As we move towards a climate-neutral federal administration in 2030, we will also learn from the experiences gained during the current crisis and rely even more on virtual meetings in the future. The necessary technology is available and operational, saves time and money and mitigates climate change. It is particularly important to me that we go one step further from this year onward and compensate for all emissions from my ministry, not just those incurred by official trips. This will enable the BMU to achieve climate neutrality. In addition, we will offset all emissions generated during Germany’s EU Council Presidency by purchasing CERs."
The current acquisition of credits offsets emissions amounting to over 347,507 tonnes from motor vehicle and air travel by the German government and the federal administration. One credit certifies one avoided tonne of CO2 equivalent in a climate project. UBA uses only CDM projects for offsetting purposes, thus guaranteeing their certification under the umbrella of UN rules. CDM projects are reviewed to ensure that they truly bring about additional emissions reductions. This means that without CDM support, the project would not have been implemented in the first place. It is only then that the emission savings are verifiably "additional". Furthermore, the emission reductions are only determined after the project has actually been completed on the basis of reviews by independent experts and approved by the UN CDM Executive Board.
UBA President Dirk Messner said: "We focus particularly on ambitious, sustainable projects that go beyond merely lowering carbon dioxide emissions to create extra added value for the project countries. These co-benefits serve, for example, to improve local air quality, protect public health or ensure participation in energy and drinking water supply. This often also leads to the creation of new, green jobs."
In addition to calculating and offsetting travel emissions, UBA will offset emissions from the Federal Environment Ministry's operations and from this year's German EU Council Presidency (1 July to 31 December 2020).