Comparing Environmental Policies between Germany and the United States

Comparing Environmental Policies between Germany and United States


Sustainable environmental methods are vital in achieving ethical leadership strategies applied to record growth and development. Through environments, leaders engage in various activities aimed at generating profits and revenues. However, it is ethical and crucial for leaders to preserve the environments for future generations. Thus, environmentalists, leaders, and business persons ought to develop policies aimed at preserving the environment. They ought to apply technologies to innovate and create new and fresh methods, legislations, and litigations to preserve the environment. They ought to show that ethics, business activities, and environmentalisms are useful choices towards a livable future. This research will therefore focus on environmental policies formulated and implemented in Germany and the United States. Comparing the two nations will aid in affirming environmental conservation and preservation is a crucial ethical role to be undertaken by individuals and nations (Michael, 2005).

Defining Environments

Analysts, researchers, global leaders, and agencies define an environment as a platform allowing the public to lead comfortable lives. An environment with clean water, air, and proper management of wastes has reduced pollution. Thus, it allows people to appreciate and enjoy the platform as they apply strategies to further develop the area to achieve higher revenues. Thus, an environment can be defined as a platform or area under public scrutiny. Members of the public, environmentalists, and business leaders scrutinize environments in attempts to identify issues hindering socioeconomic growth. For example, environments acknowledged for hazardous wastes, high levels of pollution, global warming, and depletion of ozone lack populations. As a result, people are not willing to implement measures to reduce the negative effects and achieve bio-diversification (Edward, Jeffrey & Lisa, 2008).

Scientists and environmentalists conduct constant researches on the state of the earth. They determine measures to undertake in order to conserve and preserve the earth ensuring future generations are able to access sustainable environments. Thus, the researchers can offer hope to members of the public that, they can lead high quality lives in clean, safe and healthy environments. Conversely, the research reports can be conflicting and alarming due to the complex causes of environmental degradation. However, they are important as they provide reliable and applicable solutions the public can implement to respect, preserve, and conserve environments comprising of natural and artificial resources (Edward, Jeffrey & Lisa, 2008).

Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics refer responsible conducts undertaken by individual, organizations, communities, and global nations to respect resources, species, landscapes, human and non-human organism as well as natural and artificial reserves found on earth. Members of the public ought to have the moral responsibility to apply acquired knowledge in chosen capacities to preserve, conserve, and improve environmental values. Thus, environmental ethics involve people knowing and being capable of freely choosing activities preserving environmental liberties and welfare. They can therefore be described as humanity traits with a moral responsibility and significance towards the environment (Michael, 2005).

Environmental ethics attract attention and concerns from environmentalists in attempts to formulate strategies to intervene harmful activities damaging resources. Environmentalists have knowledge on various activities likely to damage and injure the nature of current and future environments. These activities can lead to depletion of resources such as minerals, deforestation, and harming ecosystems. Thus, environmentalists provide members of the public with adequate information on how they can harm, prevent and remedy damages caused on the environment. However, they rely on moral responsibilities among members of the public to act and take care of the environment. However, national environmental policies also intervene in ensuring members of the public are morally responsible towards maintaining sustainable environments. Administrative governments therefore formulate and implement national environmental policies as guidelines and principles for the public to respect (Michael, 2005).

Environmental Policies in Germany

According to Miranda Schreurs, developments in Germany have harmed wildlife species including fish and mammals with the risk of extinction. The country also suffers from global environmental warming. As a result, national environmental leaders are acknowledged among the largest world funders towards efforts of protecting the environment. They provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) targeted towards environmental initiatives. These initiatives include purchase of environmental technologies, equipment and services. They assist in ensuring environmental regulations, research capacities toward conservation methods and technical needs are effectively and efficiently fulfilled (Miranda, 2002).

Germany is at least a third of the European Union. Thus, it is a major contributor towards the European Union economies. Consequently, it has a great influence on European Union’s environmental decisions in formulation and implementation of policies aimed at preserving the environments. Policy makers are required to collaborate with environmentalists to ensure the methods strategies formulated to conserve the environment are aligned to the nation’s socioeconomic models. This further affirms environments are determinants of global socioeconomic policies. In Germany, citizens are required high taxes. Conversely, the government is expected to implement environmental regulations taming market forces (Akio, 2012).

Taming market forces promotes environmental preservation, conservation, and protection as well as social equality. However, this has strained the government’s budget. As a result, policy makers are concerned it can lead to international competitiveness. However, environmental movements were developed to ensure Germany strategizes in protecting the environments. The Green Party is an environmental movement in collaboration with the government. It pushes environmental matters as governmental agendas to motivate members of the public to acquire knowledge, facts, and other interests applicable in environmental conservation and protection. However, bureaucracy has been hindering the movement’s efforts leading to jurisdictional conflicts and divisions (Miranda, 2002).

In order to strengthen the movement, other environmental agencies were developed. They include Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and Non-Governmental Organizations. They have ensured environmental interests attract national recognition as they are awarded opportunities in parliament to voice their concerns. They also ensure political influences are minimized. However, they encourage political parties and leaders to champion for environmental conservation and protection. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) have been on the forefront advocating for environmental conservation. As a result, members of the public are afraid interests from more political parties will hinder environmental movements and agencies from undertaking their mandates effectively and efficiently (David, Michael & Diahanna, 2008).

More so, stronger federal, local, and international environmental groups are hosting larger memberships. These groups include Bund fur Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Bundesverband Burgerinitiativen Umwelt (BBU), and Greenpeace. This is coupled with environmental debates influenced by academic agencies and centers. These include Wuppertal Institute for Climate Research, Max Plank Institutes, and Oko Institute among others. They play vital roles of influencing environmental debates. It is therefore challenging to determine if their policies and decisions are aimed at ensuring environmental interests are addressed. As a result, the Federal Ministry for Environment, Reactor Safety, and Nature Protection has dominated the German bureaucracy to ensure environmental issues are addressed (Miranda, 2002).

It undertakes environmental research to provide technical and scientific inputs. They are combined with environmental legislations to formulate and implement policies aimed at protecting current sustainable environments for future generations. In the past, the policies have been supported by other ministries aligned to environmental interests. These ministries include Food and Agriculture, Federal Consumer Protection, Ministries of Finance, Transport, Interior, as well as Education and Research. Thus, the implementation of national and pluralistic environmental policies has great impacts in Germany. Germany courts and environmental legislations are also keen and prominent in environmental conservation. As a result, they promote environmental ethics in the country (Akio, 2012).

Consequently, Germany influences environmental policies implemented across the European Union. The country strives to harmonize environmental laws, standards, policies, and measures to conserve, preserve, and protect. Germany ensures new and existing environmental laws implemented within the European Union are active, qualifying, relevant, but also stricter. They are stricter as the European Union is a large community. Thus, it is crucial to ensure environmental programs and philosophies are beneficial to the community at large without causing conflicts (David, Michael & Diahanna, 2008).

Environmental Policies in United States

The United States environmental society has several opportunities to engage in policy and decision making in attempts to preserve and conserve environments. The White House, Congress, States, and environmental groups as well as agencies are acknowledged as active participants in influencing environmental policies. More so, neither Republican nor Democratic political affiliates portray rivaling politically instigated environmental policies. Thus, United States environmental policies are neither dominated nor influenced by politics as witnessed in Germany. However, Democrats are supportive towards environmental regulations advocating for protection, conservation, and preservation. The United States environmental policymaking community is large and diversely distributed across the country. More so, it comprises of divisions aligned to governmental and economic powers. This often causes conflict of interests hindering the environmental policy groups from gaining political support (Akio, 2012).

Although the White House is regarded as the executive branch within the environmental policy community, other actors also influence environmental interests in the country. As a result, they struggle to gain political recognition and support for their agendas. For example, actors researching on climate change during the Bill Clinton administration sought political influence. As a result, the White House, Congress, and presidential administration provided equal influences on policies aimed at evaluating environmental preservation. Other environmental agencies include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Environmental Defense (EDF) among others. They provide industrial, technical, and financial support in formulating and implementing policies aimed at conserving environments. They therefore establish an environmental movement tasked in making environmental amends. The environmental amends however require strong and influential movements. The environmental movement is tasked in establishing strong environmental programs addressing environmental issues (Miranda, 2002).

However, these movements failed during George Bush administration. The president denied them an opportunity to support global policies under the Kyoto Protocol aimed at conserving environments. The Kyoto Protocol developed by environmental movement in Japan comprised of reliable methods to conserve and protect the environments. However, it is vital to acknowledge environmental policies differ among nations. For example, Germany can advocate for policies aimed at reducing levels of pollution. Conversely, Germany can advocate for applicable policies to address the effects of climate change. United States environmental, governmental, and business communities as well as groups cooperate in upgrading, protecting, conserving, and sustaining the environments. They alter environmental issues by understanding and discussing measures and methods to prevent and eradicate harmful and negative environmental effects. They approach policy makers in formulating and implementing policies addressing the discussed environmental issues. Environmental issues commonly addressed include the need to reduce gases emitted from greenhouses, proper disposal of industrial wastes, and management of ravage. They ensure biological and chemical wastes from industrial and agricultural activities are managed through recycling, reusing, and disposal (Smith & Thierry, 2002).

United States believes the government, industrialists, economists, marketers, and regular citizens have a role in environmental protection. Conversely, environmental communities mandated in collaborating with other groups to formulate and implement environmental policies assert environmental responsibilities are multilateral. For example, regulating levels of pollution in 1960s and 1970s relied on control measures. The measures regulated emission standards in order to control sources of pollution. However, as the country continues to grow and develop levels of pollution increase due to expanding socioeconomic activities. These activities attribute to hazardous industrial wastes polluting air, water, and the environment in general. Currently, the regulation measures aim at applying technological and ambient standards applicable in public and private sectors. The standards are tasked in reducing pollution. However, research continues to establish regulatory measures capable of preventing pollution (Rachel, 2003).

A cost benefit analysis conducted by governments in Germany and United States revealed addressing environmental issues boosts socioeconomic standards. Socioeconomic markets and sectors are required to intervene and redistribute wealth across the country. However, political influence interferes with the markets. In Germany, political influence and interference hindered environmental communities from undertaking their mandates effectively and efficiently. However, United States government has often offered support. It works closely with environmental communities, groups, agencies, and organizations to find solutions to environmental issues. Through collaborative consultative decision and policymaking procedure, the country has been able to address environmental problems. However, the environmental protection policies formulated and implemented do not shift economic developments in the country. This is witnessed in Germany as the nation strives to ensure economies and environments are sustainable. As a result, Germany introduces environmental taxes to shift economies in order to reduce ecological footprints ensuring the economic structures are sustainable (Miranda, 2002).

In United States, market and economic based environmental protection measures are often embraced enthusiastically. The government believes they can are specific voluntary, and applicable regulations to alter social activities attributing to environmental issues. Thus, achieving social changes allows for stringent measures regulating environmental issues to be implemented. The United States environmental regulatory policies are therefore diverse socioeconomically. Both United States and Germany have relied on energy policies in orientation of environmental problems and solutions. In 1998, Germany announced the desire to phase out nuclear energy. The government was supported by the nuclear industry allowing all existing plants beyond operating life times to be decommissioned by 2032 (Miranda, 2002).

Consequently, the United States developed a nuclear energy program to phase out nuclear plants in the country. However, the country has failed to ensure the efforts are neither interfered with nor disrupted. For example, some new nuclear plants have been constructed. More so, some existing nuclear plants the government needed to phase out have been relicensed. Such plants include the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland. Consequently, the 2001 energy crisis in California raised concerns with regards to supply of energy in the country. As a result, the government in collaboration with the nuclear energy industry vice president announced the need to increase supply of fossil fuels. Environmentalists marked the announcement as a renewed look on nuclear energy. They asserted embracing and increasing nuclear energy would increase environmental problems. However, political figures including governors and senators have supported the motion to increase nuclear energy. Unlike Germany, United States believes expanding nuclear energy can ensure the country meets the growing demands for energy without relying on imported energy. However, it fails to address environmental issues mainly aligned to climate changes attributed to nuclear energy. Thus, Germany and United States face diverse environmental issues. They also formulate and implement have diverse environmental policies. However, they both ensure balanced and sustainable socioeconomic versus environmental conditions are achieved and maintained (Akio, 2012).


Environmental conservation is a global requirement among responsible individuals, communities, organizations, groups, and agencies. Unethical, irresponsible, and uncooperative actors within the environmental conservation community either do not support or are ignorant of environmental interests. However, educating them on the adverse effects associated with lack of environmental protection can raise awareness and advocate for conservation and preservation. However, ethics rely on people’s values, principles, and guidelines to establish and sustain a culture. Thus, raising awareness among uncultured persons cannot encourage environmental ethics. Both Germany and United States undertake environmental preservation and protection measures due to presence of ethical and responsible groups in the community. The groups ensure policies, methods, and strategies aligned to environmental conservation are formulated and implemented. Thus, ethics play a crucial role in achieving environmental preservation. However, they also rely on governmental and societal support to achieve the ultimate goal of sustaining clean, safe, and healthy environments.


Akio, I. (2012). A Comparison of Environmental Policy-Making by Referenda in Germany, Japan, and the United States, Cambridge University Press.

David, V., Michael, T., & Diahanna, P. (2008). Environmental Federalism in the European Union and the United States, A Handbook of Globalization in Environmental Policy.

Edward, R. F., Jeffrey, G. Y., & Lisa, S. (2008). Environment, Ethics, and Business, Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics.

Michael, I. J. (2005). Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development: Ethical and Human Rights Issues in Implementing Indigenous Rights, Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development Journal, 2(1): 105-120.

Miranda, A. S. (2002). Environmental Politics in Japan, Germany, and the United States, University of Maryland, Cambridge University Press.

Rachel, L. C. (2003). California’s Authority to Regulate Mobile Source Greenhouse Gas Emissions, New York University Annual Survey of American Law, 58(1): 699-754.

Smith, M., & Thierry, C. (2002). Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading within the European Union: An Overview of the Proposed European Directive, Fordham Environmental Law Journal, 13 (1): 207-222.