One of the most crucial global challenges for our generation is the need for action to protect the environment, tackle climate change and ensure energy security. For this reason, the international community has committed itself to sustainable development being the guiding principle for the 21st century.
Sustainable development means that environmental protection aspects are addressed on an equal footing with social and economic aspects. We must pass on an intact ecological, social and economic fabric to our children and grandchildren. None of them can be achieved without the others.
Therefore, in December 2010 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, the international community agreed to do everything they can to limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The transport and buildings sectors account for a considerable share in energy consumption and CO2 emissions on a global scale. They are major contributors to climate change and its consequences. In Germany, the two sectors taken together, currently account for around 70 per cent of final energy consumption (transport for 30 per cent, buildings for 40 per cent) and for around 40 per cent of all CO2 emissions.
Against this background, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development has a key role to play in energy policy. We are making considerable efforts to ensure that Germany will be able to meet its international obligations.
In our areas of responsibility, transport, building, urban development and rural areas, we also endeavour to ensure a conservative use of the natural resources which are our livelihoods, to preserve biodiversity, reduce noise pollution and maintain social equity. Everyone in Germany is mobile, needs a place to live and depends on public infrastructure. Therefore, mobility and housing must remain affordable in accordance with the social dimension of sustainability.
Associated with sustainable development is the hope of successfully mitigating climate change and adapting our societies to its consequences. For Germany as an industrial and exporting country, we further see great opportunities and potential to secure jobs, growth and prosperity offered by the new, innovative, environmentally friendly and climate-friendly technologies.
"Taking over responsibility – shaping the future"
Sustainability Report 2011