To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, EU policy will have to be reoriented – from incremental towards structural change. As expressed in the European Green Deal, the challenge is to initiate the necessary transformation to climate neutrality in the coming years, while enhancing competitiveness, productivity, employment. To mobilise the creative, financial and political resources, the EU also needs a governance framework that facilitates cross-sectoral policy integration and that allows citizens, public and private stakeholders to participate in the process and to own the results.
In Germany, environmental policy began to form as an independent policy field in the late 1960s. A major milestone in the history of German environmental policy was the adoption of the Federal Government's first environmental programme in 1971. Ecologic Institute supports the BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) in the review of this historical event.
In its last coalition agreement (2016-2021), the State of Berlin committed itself to the "Zero Waste" model in order to transform its waste management towards a circular economy. Re-using goods takes centre stage in this transformation. In the context of the political goal of strengthening the reuse of used goods, the project aims at supporting and executing re-use measures in Berlin in order to foster structures and actors in Berlin that bring the used goods market out of its niche. The Ecologic Institute supports the project for the Berlin Senate Administration by designing and conducting three virtual expert dialogues in Berlin.
Ecomodulation of fees can play a crucial role in incentivising upstream design changes by reducing the fees for products or packaging designed for circular economy. Products or packaging with circular design (e.g., a minimum percentage of recycled content, high reparability index, reduction in weight of material, shift from low to easily recyclable material(s)) could benefit from reduced fees, while those with design barriers, which are also often exported to developing countries for end-of-life treatment, could incur higher fees. Thus, ecomodulation of fees can play a vital role in prioritizing design for as waste prevention, reusability, reparability and recyclability. Against this background, this project run by Ecologic Institute focuses on the product streams batteries, plastic/packaging, textiles and waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE).
What characterizes a monitoring system that effectively considers aspects of precautionary environmental protection? The aim of this project is to answer this question with regard to the new German bioeconomy strategy. The German government aims at a transformation process towards a sustainable and bio-based economy.
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues. Calls for a global treaty to tackle plastic pollution have increased over the last years, discussions will continue at the next sessions of the UN Environment Assembly in February 2022. After the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics concluded its work in November 2020, various countries have started to prepare positions and forge alliances in preparation of these pending discussions.
In 2019, the EU and the countries of the South American trade bloc Mercosur concluded negotiations on a trade agreement. The negotiated text of the agreement includes a chapter on trade and sustainability. The rules on forest protection are weak, however, and the agreement does not provide for sanctions for violations of sustainability-related commitments, either. Against this backdrop, Ralph Bodle and Christiane Gerstetter, both Senior Fellows at the Ecologic Institute, analyse legal options for strengthening forest protection in the agreement. The legal analysis was compiled on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU).
The project "Capacity Building Emissions Trading to Support Bilateral Cooperation" aims to disseminate knowledge on emissions trading internationally and to support partner countries in setting up national emissions trading systems. The consortium supports the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety's bilateral activities in the field of capacity development and training on emissions trading. Former and current cooperation partners include Brazil, China, Chile, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
Photovoltaic technology is a key lever for decarbonising Berlin's power consumption and for social participation in the transformation process, especially for tenants. Therefore, solar energy and projects on rental apartment blocks are key elements of the Berlin Senate's Energy and Climate Protection Programme. In the research project "ElectricityNeighbours", Ecologic Institute and IÖW evaluate the experience gained so far in implementing such prosumer projects in Berlin, outline innovation potentials for the field and develop ideas on how the regulatory framework can be further developed. In doing so, the team looks beyond pure tenant electricity projects to the potentials of sector coupling.
Ecologic Institute has been contracted to support the European Commission in preparing a draft version of the Guidance on the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy river restoration targets, thereby bringing together existing knowledge and technical input from different contributors into a coherent document.
The H2020 EU-funded PONDERFUL project will investigate how ponds can be used as nature-based solutions (NBS) for climate change. It will evaluate the interaction and feedback between biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate in pondscapes.
Thuringia is one of the first German states to draft its own resource conservation strategy. This requires a solid data basis on the resource flows of the state. In the ThüRess project, Ecologic Institute and the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS) are developing this database as well as measures for such a resource conservation strategy.
Ecologic Institute, together with partners, will develop recommendations on how environmental offences can be better prevented in Germany through deterrent sanctions.
The project first investigates at a theoretical level under which conditions a certain sanction, such as a prison sentence, has a deterrent effect against environmental law violations. These theoretical considerations are substantiated by means of case studies on illegal waste disposal and disposal of waste by ships on the sea. On this basis, the research team will develop recommendations for policies as well as practical measures to improve enforcement.
The aim of this project is to develop and test a methodology to assess the management effectiveness of marine Natura 2000 sites and other EU MPAs, in the context of obligations under the Birds and Habitats Directives and commitments under the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. This methodology will build on experiences and methods used in the Natura 2000 network and other MPAs, as well as on any other available efforts in developing new systems that can be applied to the European context.
This project supports the EU Commission's DG CLIMA to develop and evaluate different options for certifying carbon removal solutions. Carbon removals, also known as negative emissions, include nature-based technologies such as afforestation and soil carbon, and technology-based approaches, including carbon capture and storage from direct air or bioenergy. To reach the EU's 2050 goal of climate neutrality, alongside mitigation of GHG emissions, the EU must remove substantial amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. This project assesses existing knowledge and identifies policy options to increase carbon removals across Europe.