Research for the Environment

Economics of the Environment - water resources, energy, biodiversity, climate change

Department of Economics

Prof. Dr. Erik Gawel
Prof. Dr. Bernd Hansjürgens

PD Dr. Irene Ring

Evelyn Doltze

Tel.: ++49 341 235-1259
Fax: ++49 341 235-45 1259
Permoserstraße 15
D-04318 Leipzig, Germany

The environment is a scarce good. Research in the field of environmental economics clarifies how one should sustainably use environmental resources and which rules society should abide by to achieve this.

As part of the Division of Social Sciences the Department of Economics works together in interdisciplinary groups on current problems in the fields of water, (bio)-energy, nature conservation and biodiversity as well as climate change. Here questions are analysed concerning economic valuation, the concepts of institutions and decision-making processes as well as the instrumentation of environmental and resource policies. Furthermore, the department develops methods for the economic and ecological modeling of environmental systems.

News & Highlights

Does Germany Need Capacity Payments Now to Secure Its Electricity Supply?

Illustration erneuerbare Energien

Introducing additional capacity payments to operators of coal- and gas-fired power plants is not constructive at the moment to guarantee security of power supply in Germany. This is the result of a recent study carried out by scientists from the UFZ Department of Economics and other German research institutes. Instead a mix of measures which would strengthen the electricity market, create conditions for feeding in electricity from renewable energy sources as and when required, and set incentives for the expansion of grid capacity, storage systems and demand side management.

Illustration erneuerbare Energien

Can a fourth waste water treatment stage be financed by the waste water charge?

The waste water charge could be a viable way to help finance the upgrading of large waste water treatment plants to include a 'fourth treatment stage". A new study has determined that these facilities can reduce micropollutants – pharmaceuticals, for example – which are present in waterbodies.

Press release, 18.3.2015

Point of view

Third session of the IPBES Plenary in Bonn

energy production

From 12-17 January 2015 the third IPBES Plenary session is taking place in Bonn. UFZ's economist Irene Ring is a member of the German delegation and − as coordinating lead author − forms part of a group of scientists investigating measures, tools and methods for policy support. In an interview she talks about IPBES and its third Plenary session.

to the interview (in German)


Innovative financing to strengthen the European
“Natura 2000”-network


Covering around 17.5 % of the area of the EU, “Natura 2000” is the largest network of nature reserves in the world. To overcome the financial barriers caused by the differing distribution of responsibilities between the various jurisdictions, scientists of the SCALES-project looked at existing approaches and new suggestions for ecological fiscal transfers to the local level. The principle behind this idea is that although many local governments provide services for higher levels and other neighbouring municipalities through their conservation responsibilities, associated public costs are rarely acknowledged in the current fiscal transfer schemes.

The EU project SCALES (Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales) is one of Europe's largest biodiversity research projects. It was coordinated by UFZ in Leipzig.

More information on the project


The Department of Economics belongs to the departments at the UFZ with the most third-party funding.

to an overview of the projects

Main points of research

The Department of Economics plays a part in numerous interdisciplinary research topics at the UFZ.

to the main points of research


The Department of Economics plays a part in numerous interdisciplinary research topics at the UFZ.

to an overview of the staff

Working groups

The Department of Economics is involved in the interdisciplinary working groups social science water research, nature conservation, climate change, governance and institutions as well as energy.

Logo Prix Gay-Lussac Humboldt

Dr. Volker Meyer has been selected for the Prix Gay-Lussac Humboldt 2014.

Prix Gay-Lussac Humboldt (in french)

Erik Gawel

Prof. Dr. Erik Gawel has been appointed as regular member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, class: „Social Sciences, Law & Economics“.

European Academy of Sciences and Arts