Joint press release by the German Environment Agency, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and the German Meteorological Service

Effects of climate change felt much more strongly in future

16 federal authorities and institutions present study on future impact of climate change in Germany

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Stormy sea
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The impact of climate change will be felt more strongly in the future – and in Germany too. By the middle of the century, the threat of floods or heat waves will increase together with the potential damage of climate change for nature, society and industry. These are the conclusions reached in what is called the vulnerability analysis, a comprehensive study on Germany's vulnerability to climate change. The analysis provides the basis for preventive measures taken by the German Federal Government and for the further development of the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change.

"In light of the upcoming climate conference and current warnings about the possible effects of climate change, it has become clear that Germany must not only achieve decarbonisation, it must also become climate-proof," said Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter.

Maria Krautzberger, President of the German Environment Agency (UBA), said: "The results have shown what makes us vulnerable, what we must be prepared for, and which regions will be especially affected. In the future, we must expect more frequent heat waves than in the past, heavy rainfall and floods. In the future, climate change will come up against socioeconomic conditions which are quite different to those today. The vulnerability analysis takes account for the first time socioeconomic scenarios such as changes in land use, economic and demographic development."

Paul Becker, Vice-President of the German Meteorological Service (DWD), said: "This vulnerability analysis, which was drawn up in the context of departmental research by a number of different specialist authorities together with other experts, provides an even more thorough estimate of major climate impacts in the future. Although more research is needed, our data about the future of climate in Germany is robust enough to be used as a basis for policy actions."

The study results show that climate change will affect Germany's regions in very different ways. Conurbations in eastern Germany and the Rhine Valley, for example, are more greatly exposed to the risk of heat waves. The number of high-temperature days per year could rise from 15 to 25 in these areas. Currently, there are 8-12 days with a daily air temperature high of at least 30 degrees Celsius. The lowlands in northern Germany could experience an increase in the occurrence of flooding, whereas southern Germany is at increased risk of flooding due of heavy rainfall.

A change in species composition brought about by climate change will also affect plants and animals which find it difficult to adapt to the new weather conditions, for example the alpine emerald dragonfly and other insects which live at high altitudes in the mountains. Periods of springtime and summertime drought are expected to occur more frequently in the second half of the century. This will affect the selection of food crops and yields in agriculture and forestry. At the same time, Germany's agricultural sector could in fact benefit from the longer vegetation periods brought about by climate change and by growing thermophilic crops such as soybeans or sorghum.

Further information:

The vulnerability analysis examines two likely scenarios that take account of climatic and socioeconomic changes. Even in the event of slight climate change – as is already measurable – continued impairment is expected, and extreme climate change can expose Germany to considerable risks.

The Vulnerability Network was established on behalf of the Federal Government in 2011. The network now consists of 16 federal authorities and institutions from nine departments and a scientific consortium, funded by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and coordinated by ⁠KomPass⁠ - Climate Impacts and Adaptation in Germany (KomPass) at UBA.

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 climate change  adaptation to climate change  adaptation to climate change impacts  KomPass