German Emissions Trading Authority

The German Federal Government’s business trips

The Federal Government is offsetting the climate impact of its employees’ business trips for the current legislature (2014-2017). These emissions are offset elsewhere by acquiring and surrendering emission reduction credits from high-quality climate protection projects. Credits are obtained from projects that are certified according to UN rules under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Source: fotolia

Our tasks

We support the German Federal Government by

  • calculating emissions,
  • selecting high-quality climate protection projects and
  • acquiring and surrendering CDM credits (also known as Certified Emission Reductions or CERs).

Offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from the Federal Government's business trips sets an important climate policy signal and is an example to be followed by private stakeholders in making their decisions to offset unavoidable emissions.


Data acquisition and analysis and calculation of emissions

The offsetting measure covers car trips and air travel. In the case of train travel the Federal Government acquires "green tickets" but for which there is currently no offsetting procedure.

As the emissions to be offset are not recorded centrally, we collect and determine the emissions annually based on the relevant air travel and business trips by car.

With regard to air travel, in addition to seating category and the most common type of aircraft, ‘non-CO2‘ effects (such as water vapour, nitrogen oxides and soot particle emissions) are also taken into account. Consideration of the Radiative Forcing (RF) (jet propulsion) Index (RFI) allows an estimate of the increased climate impact for emissions from aviation (e.g. promoting increased cloud formation in particularly sensitive layers of the earth's atmosphere). Aviation emissions are determined from the totality of all these data.

Emissions from business trips by car are determined by the fuel consumption and fuel-specific emission factors.


Selection of projects

The calculated greenhouse gas emissions produced through Federal Government business trips are offset by acquiring and surrendering credits from high-quality CDM climate protection projects. CDM is one of three flexible mechanisms envisaged by the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and belongs to the project-based mechanisms. With the acquisition of particularly high-quality credits, the reform process in the CDM will also be promoted.

To offset the climate impact of business travel, one credit is acquired for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted (t CO2eq). The credits are derived from climate protection projects that help avoid a corresponding amount of greenhouse gas emissions. They will be transferred to an account established for this purpose at the German Emissions Trading Registry and cancelled by us immediately after their acquisition. This ensures the durability of the compensation system as any further use of the certificates is excluded. Offsetting business travel attracts a high level of public awareness and sends political signals. It is therefore important to set high standards in the selection of projects.

When selecting climate protection projects from which the credits originate, demanding criteria are considered and only projects from the CDM are used. In this way certification of emission reductions under the umbrella of the UN's rules can be assured. Part of the monitoring of projects in the CDM is particularly the confirmation of additionality, i.e. that emission reductions would not have been carried out anyway. Furthermore, the UN rules guarantee for CDM that a realistic baseline scenario is selected for the calculation of emission reductions and that these avoided emissions are regularly monitored and verified by an independent third party.

In addition to the UN rules for CDM, careful attention is paid to compliance with additional criteria to ensure high quality of the projects. Thus climate protection projects should show impact over and above purely the reduction of CO2 and have a sustainable added value for the project countries (also known as co-benefits). The related co-benefits are for example, training of local workers, the support of local supply facilities, the protection of other environmental elements / resource protection, rural electrification, strengthening of local jobs and improving health.

Further criteria in the procurement of high-quality CDM projects include

  • an additional Gold Standard certification,
  • an embedding into the climate change policies of the host country and
  • the promotion of small programmatic projects if possible from the least developed countries.

Certain CDM project types such as large hydropower projects, and extraction or processing of fossil fuels (except in households) are excluded.


General process and current call

National and international suppliers are invited to offer for sale certificates from one or more CDM projects in response to a y public announcement concerning the acquisition of credits within the specified time. We will subsequently assess the tenders based on the criteria and make a selection. The selected credits of the projects are then acquired and will be surrendered permanently in the German Kyoto Registry, i.e. cancelled.

Information on completed offsettings in previous years can be found on the following pages.


Further information

To the archive (in German)

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