Background

Greenhouse gas emissions

Roughly two thirds of global warming caused by humans (anthropogenic) can be attributed to carbon dioxide emissions. The gas is produced when the fossil fuels gas, oil and coal are burned. They all contain carbon which combines with atmospheric oxygen to form carbon dioxide. In addition to carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases include nitrous oxide, methane, as well halogenated fluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

National parks

To a large extent the 16 national parks in Germany are located in the north of the country. They are all noteworthy for their unique nature and landscape and serve to preserve the natural diversity of rare plants and animals. The largest is the Schleswig-Holstein Mud Flats National Park Wattenmeer, with a surface area of 441,000 hectares. The smallest, Jasmund National Park on the Isle of Rügen, with its famous white cliffs, is only 3,070 hectares large.

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Nature conservation

There are around 48,000 native animal species and over 24,000 native species of land plants, mosses, fungi, lichens and algae in Germany. Nature conservation is a state goal in the Federal Republic and is entrenched in Article 20a of the Basic Law. There are thousands of designated nature conservation areas in Germany, as well as 16 national parks and 16 UNESCO biosphere reserves. In addition, Germany is a signatory state to the most important international nature conservation agreements and party to almost 30 international agreements which strive to conserve the environment. The percentage of organically managed areas is increasing and in 2016 came to 7.5 percent. In the medium term it is projected to rise to 20 percent.

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Renewable Energy Sources Act

The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) regulates the preferential feed-in of electricity from renewable energy into the national gird and guarantees producers compensation at fixed rates. It has proved very successful in promoting the expansion of renewable energies and many other states worldwide have adopted the basic features of the German EEG.

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UN Climate Council IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an international group of hundreds of experts and representatives of over 100 states, who analyze climate change on Earth for the United Nations and propose measures to counter it. The fifth report was published in 2014. Leading German institutes which focus on climate change include the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the Wuppertal Institute and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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