Joint press release by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment

Federal Government adopts action plan for a climate resilient Germany

Federal Environment Ministry to fund first-time adaptation measures in social facilities

Begrüntes DachClick to enlarge
Greening roofs and facades are among the adaptation measures in cities
Source: finecki / Fotolia

The Federal Government adopted the current progress report on the German Adaptation Strategy today. In addition to taking stock of past activities, the Government has set priorities for future work. These include better fundamentals for financing climate adaptation. For the first time, the Federal Environment Ministry is also funding social facilities with up to 150 million euros to address their specific challenges in climate adaptation. With more than 180 additional measures, the Federal Government wants to make Germany climate resilient, protect it against hazards caused by floods, low water or disrupted infrastructure, adverse effects on agriculture, health hazards, security risks in industry and challenges in civil protection.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said, "Climate change has arrived in Germany. The municipalities that are struggling with heat and water scarcity in summer are feeling it most keenly. To better deal with the consequences of climate change, we need good planning and preparedness measures with vision. To do this, we want to create a reliable nationwide database and strategically align the financing of climate adaptation in Germany. I want us to do more to help the disadvantaged in our society. Old people's homes and nursing homes, day-care centres and hospitals often lack the resources to provide adequate care. I will therefore launch the first funding programme for climate adaptation in social facilities. The funding is intended to provide targeted support to all those who are doing great things for society in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic."

President Dirk Messner of the German Environment Agency said, "As climate change impacts are increasingly turning into disasters also in Germany, there is growing awareness and a call for effective solutions. The renaturation of wetlands and river courses, more space for nature in the cities, soil-conserving methods in agriculture – these are all examples of how adaptation generates ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits. It is not just a question of adapting to the consequences of global warming, but of a sustainable society in and of itself. We will only be able to live with the consequences of global warming if we succeed in gearing climate protection even more consistently to sustainability goals in the course of the next decade."

The 2020 progress report takes stock of the measures taken by the German government in the past five years under the Adaptation Strategy. The report provides information on the current state of knowledge, structures and approaches. The "Action Plan Adaptation III" contained in the report outlines more than 180 ongoing and new measures of all federal ministries. In addition, the Federal Government anticipates future work, e.g. the development of concrete targets for a Germany that is resilient to climate change in various fields of action, an improved analysis of the effectiveness of measures, and a cost-benefit assessment of climate change damage and expenditures for adaptation by the Federal Government.

In order to optimise adaptation to climate change, all data on damage and damage costs will be systematically compiled in a nationwide climate damage register. The establishment of such a register will enable damage and damage costs to be systematically registered and provide data for short and long-term planning. The German government is also evaluating the costs of adapting to climate change and the funds that will be needed in the future.

A new funding programme "Climate adaptation in social institutions" of the Federal Ministry for the Environment is to be launched in October 2020. It addresses local authorities, non-profit organisations and companies active in the health and social sector. They will receive targeted support, e.g. for structural changes such as the greening of roofs and facades, building shade-providing pavilions and awnings or purchasing drinking water dispensers. Social facilities are to receive individual counselling and the opportunity to develop their own tailor-made climate adaptation plans. Initial and continued training programmes and information campaigns will raise awareness of the consequences of climate change among employees, the people in their care and their families. Applications from financially weak local authorities and non-profit organisations received by 30 June 2021 will in some cases be eligible for funding of up to 100 percent.

The German government set the strategic framework in 2008 with the German Adaptation Strategy (DAS) in order to equip German society in a long-term and socially acceptable manner against the consequences of climate change. Within the framework of the DAS, all federal ministries work under the lead responsibility of the Federal Environment Ministry and 28 higher federal authorities under the lead responsibility of the German Environment Agency in an overarching network. After the first progress report published in 2015, the German government once takes stock five years later to determine the substantive and strategic guidelines and political priorities for the future.