EU Directives and International Agreements

The Federal State of Berlin regards itself as being especially obliged, both nationally and internationally, to act as a pioneer in terms of having a successful local climate protection policy. For this reason the Federal State of Berlin participates in international cooperations intended to develop and disseminate sustainable strategies and instruments for local climate protection and in the formulating of ambitious reduction requirements for the years after 2012.

Kyoto Protocol on International Climate Protection

For the first time ever in the Kyoto Protocol, binding targets were set under international law for the emission of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride), as well as reduction obligations for industrialised countries.

Accordingly in the first commitment period from 2008 to 2012, all industrialised countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5 percent compared to the 1990 basis year. Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol lists the countries which have assumed specific obligations to reduce their emissions during the contractual period, including Germany among others. The Kyoto Protocol names flexible mechanisms which permit flexibility to the contractual states in implementing their reduction targets. These include emissions trading, the Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism. In this way the Annex B countries can partly fulfil their emission reduction obligations beyond their own borders. The Kyoto Protocol came into effect on 16 February 2005 and expires in 2012.

In Doha, Qatar, on 8 December 2012, the "Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol" was adopted. The amendment includes:

  • New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020
  • A revised list of greenhouse gases (GHG) to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and
  • Amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol which specifically referenced issues pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period.

On 21 December 2012, the amendment was circulated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as Depositary, to all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in accordance with Articles 20 and 21 of the Protocol.

During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020.


The Paris Climate Agreement

The Climate Change Conference took place from 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris, officially called the Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFramework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol (COP21 | CMP11).

The key outcome of Paris will be an agreement that will enter into force in 2020 and sets out legally binding mitigation commitments for all countries. The Paris agreement will incorporate mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to climate change, financial support for developing countries, technology, capacity building and transparency in relation to climate action and support measures. 

Germany and the EU laid down their goals for the agreement in the European Council conclusions of 18 September 2015.

The Paris agreement will, first and foremost, send a clear signal to the world that a transformation is being launched towards more climate-friendly and climate-resilient development. The two-degree limit will be translated into realistic goals to be implemented by individual stakeholders, for instance in companies. 

» More information to the conference

» The Paris Climate Protection Agreement online

Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU)

The Energy Efficiency Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union, in order to ensure the achievement of the Union’s 2020 20% headline target on energy efficiency and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date.

  1. The Directive lays down rules designed to remove barriers in the energy market and overcome market failures that impede efficiency in the supply and use of energy, and provides for the establishment of indicative national energy efficiency targets for 2020. The requirements laid down in the Directive are minimum requirements and do not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent measures.


Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (2010/31/EU)

The Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (2010/31/EU) was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in order to strengthen the energy performance requirements and to clarify and streamline some of the provisions from the 2002 Directive it replaces.

The recast proposal confirms the importance of effective implementation at the Member State level, the importance of Community-wide co-operation and the strong long-term commitment and role of the Commission itself to support such effective implementation.

As the November 2008 Commission Communication for the original proposal states, buildings have significant untapped potential for cost effective energy savings “which, if realized, would mean that in 2020 the EU will consume 11 % less final energy.” The magnitude of the potential savings is such that every effort must be made to achieve it.


Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (2009/28/EC)

The Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in order to provides the framework in which all Member States may set their National Plans for increasing the use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in order to meet the energy targets of the European Union.

In order to achieve the objectives of this Directive, the Community and the Member States must contribute a substantial amount of funding to research and development in the field of renewable energy technologies.

In the building sector, Member States are obliged to take appropriate measures in their building regulations to increase the share of all types of energy from renewable sources in this sector.

» Directive online

Energy-related Products Directive (2009/125/EG)

The Energy-related Products Directive (ErP) 2009/125/EC replaced the Eco-Design Directive (EuP) in November 2009 and impacts all energy-related products.

According to the European Commission, an energy-related product is any energy-using product or energy-saving product "having an impact on energy consumption during use." The intention is instead to lay down product-specific requirements at a later date in the context of implementing measures. In principle, the Directive is applicable to every energy-using product available on the market. All kinds of energy are covered, especially electricity, as well as solid, liquid and gaseous fuels.

» Directive online


Water Framework Directive WFD (2000/60/EC)

With the Directive for establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater was established.

Its objective is to achieve a good ecological and chemical status for all Community waters by 2015.


Waste and repealing certain Directive (2008/98/EC)

In accordance with this Directive, the Member States must prohibit the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled discharging of waste and its uncontrolled disposal, and promote waste prevention, recycling and processing for reuse, as well as reutilisation methods for waste.

These measures envisage cooperation between the Member States in the establishment of an integrated and adequate network of disposal installations, while taking account of the best available technology.