Federal Government offsets all of its greenhouse gas emissions from official travel
Germany Environment Agency begins purchasing emission credits from CDM projects
The Federal Government has recently started offsetting all of its greenhouse gas emissions which are generated by travel on official business. It will purchase and then cancel emissions credits for the year 2014 in the amount of 138,038 tonnes carbon dioxide from climate protection projects in the framework of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The German Environment Agency (UBA) is doing the preparatory work for acquisition, calling upon national and international vendors to offer credits from CDM projects. "The German Environment Agency pays close attention to the quality of the projects which are offering offset credits and grants preference to those which support positive new developments in the CDM. These may include programmatic projects or projects in least developed countries," said UBA's President Maria Krautzberger.
The official trips taken by the German Federal Government (ministries and higher federal authorities) every year produce unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions. In early 2015 the Federal Government agreed to offset the climate change impact of all the official trips taken by its employees as of the start of the current legislative term. The objective of the present acquisition is to offset 138,038 tonnes of emissions caused by government car trips and air travel through climate protection projects in emerging and developing countries. Rail travel journeys taken by federal government employees have been CO2-neutral for some time. The federal government has been buying “Grüne Fahrkarten” (green tickets) since 2010 to achieve this.
Official travel is offset with emissions credits from the CDM under the Kyoto Protocol. It allows industrial states to engage in joint projects with developing and emerging countries to protect the climate outside their own country. CDM projects generate credits for avoided emissions e.g. through the use of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, or for energy efficiency measures.
The volume of emissions was calculated on the basis of official travel statistics from 2013. UBA collected all the data on air travel and the fuel consumption of official cars and developed its own method to calculate greenhouse gas emissions.
The acquisition of credits is also aimed at promoting reform of CDM, for example by granting preference to climate protection projects with proven sustainability. UBA reviews projects for compliance with quality standards.