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
Heide Scharfe

Tel.: ++49 341 235-1259/1255
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

UFZ’s environmental economists are co-authors of the new policy brief published by the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS

Illustration erneuerbare Energien

The Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS has published its second policy brief: “The future of the energy transition in Germany”. Renowned scientists from different research disciplines – mainly economics and law, but also engineering and social sciences – offer guidance on current issues of energy transition policy. The authors representing five of the Alliance’s research institutes (UFZ, ZEW, FU Berlin, DLR, ZIRIUS) present their views on important debates on the energy transition and indicate basic challenges for the design of a sustainable energy transition policy. A collection of 17 short statements – dealing with aspects such as the German Renewable Energies Act or the integration of national energy policies on the European level – outlines central features of a future energy transition policy.

Point of view

Scrapping the European renewable energy targets? An economically questionable decision

energy production

The EU Commission proposes to abandon its binding targets for the deployment of renewable energies. UFZ's environmental economists Paul Lehmann, Erik Gawel and Sebastian Strunz question this decision.

to the point of view (in German)


Climate Adaptation Strategies for Europe: New EU project started with UFZ involvement


For four years (2012−2016) will the challenges of climate adaptation be focus of the project ‘BASE −  Bottom-Up Climate Adaptation Strategies for Europe’. With the aim to support sustainable and cost effective adaptation measures in Europe, practical experiences and scientific information about adaptation will be made visible, transferable and easily accessible to decision-makers at all levels.

The Departments of Economics and of Environmental Politics will mainly address questions arising from the use of knowledge and policy integration; and from the assessment of impacts, costs, benefits and the effectiveness of adaptation strategies and measures. A case study will be carried out for the urban area of Jena.

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.

Irene Ring

Irene Ring has been elected President of the European Society for Ecological Economics.

Report on the ESEE website

UFZ Blog - Climate

Prof. Dr. Reimund Schwarze

Reimund Schwarze, expert for international climate policy, and other UFZ researchers write about current political events and developments.

Blog − Climate (in German)