ErKlim - Success Factors for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Background and Goals

Background of the project is the recognition that climate change requires the concurrent coping with two challenges: mitigation and adaptation. The implementation of mitigation and adaptation in Germany remains however far behind the possibilities and needs. This concerns particularly the fields of action in building, housing and mobility. With the recent incentive- and communicational approaches to climate protection, the spread of innovative technologies and climate-protecting behavioral changes in large parts of the population could not be achieved and existing successes not be established. Yet there is only a low level of awareness about the need for measures to address the impact of further increase in weather extremes for climate adaptation. Besides, there exists synergies, as well as conflicts between mitigation and adaptation.

The project aims to analyze the success and failure causes of past measures for the dissemination of climate change mitigation and adaptation, the derivation of improved strategies for integrated delivery of mitigation and adaptation with special consideration of environmental psychology insights into behavior-altering forms of communication and the application of the knowledge acquired in specific measures to promote mitigation and adaptation.

The success factors in strategies for the promotion of climate protection and adaptation to climate change in private households have been analysed. The results are summarised in the so-called Kyoto Navigator. This handbook contains practical strategies and instruments that can be used for example to promote energy efficient building remediation, switching to public transport, and private precautions against increasing weather extremes such as intense rainfall and heat waves.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Bavaria
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Hesse
  • Mecklenburg Western Pomerania
  • Lower Saxony
  • Northrhine-Westphalia
  • Rhineland Palatinate
  • Saarland
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thuringia

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

No specific climate scenarios have been used, but the whole range of possibly appearing climate results (if known) concerning the areas of construction, housing, traffic and mobility.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • River flooding
  • Heat waves
  • Flash floods
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Sea level rise und storm surges
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Storm
  • Dry periods
Further Parameters 

cold waves; increase in weather extremes

Time horizon
  • short term = next year’s / decades
  • medium term = to 2050
  • long term = to 2100 and beyond

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Consideration of meteorological natural hazards (especially storms, hail, heavy rain, storm surge), of gravitational natural hazards (especially floods), of climatic natural hazards (especially heat waves, drought, cold waves) and of gradual dangers of climate change (increase winter precipitation, decreasing summer precipitation, temperature increase, sea level rise ). The predictable variables of temperature, precipitation, wind / storms and sea level are considered to be most important for the construction and housing. Regarding the mobility especially extreme events are relevant since transport systems are particularly vulnerable to damage caused by natural disasters.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

There is, first, to answer the question, what adaptation measures in private households in the areas of housing, construction, transportation and mobility for the protection of life, limb and property are suitable and secondly, with which communication strategies such adaptation measures can be promoted.

On account of the long life span of constructions and infrastructures it is important to adapt architectural, spatial planning and construction-conceptual and building-technical draughts early to present and future climatic changes. The planning of residential constructions with life expectancies of from 50 to 100 years requires a farsighted view and with it the consideration of the future climate. The same is valid for renewal works in the building continuance. Up to now the demands for the security of construction elements in the appearance of constructions rest on averages of the past observation periods of the climate which are established in building standards.

Not only technical constructions and buildings on extreme situations, but also those on temperate locations are stronger affected by the weather. Besides, a timely adaptation to the climatic changes is worthwhile in multiple regard: First add-on costs can be avoided for later measures. Secondly an adapted construction method reduces possible weather-conditioned and climate-conditioned damages. Thirdly the security and the comfort increase in the residential world and professional life. Today, the primary investment are minimized instead of the life-cycle costs, which prevents the realization of carefully coordinated systems. There is a high demand for information on climate-adapted building.

The analyses in the area of Mobility focused on short-term action possibilities in the passenger service, e. g. , the adaptation possibilities by means of choice of transport mode and traffic avoidance after an extreme storm warning. Long-term adaptation measures are shown overview-like for the infrastructure area as well as the planning and politics. The vulnerability of means of transportation compared with natural dangers is estimated by the change of the security, the reliability and the comfort. The following points of view can be emphasized for the traffic participants:The railway shows advantages with regard to the reliability and the low accident risk in particular during heavy rain and hail, whereas intraurbane, rail-supported traffic systems are often even more secure and more reliable. With the natural hazards considered here, going by car and bus operates in the midfield. Nevertheless, they show advantages concerning the reliability, since the road system is very dense in Central Europe and they allow detours if certain street segments are impassable.

Concerning the design of transport infrastructure the operators should consider the effects of natural hazards strictly with. The adaptation of existing transport infrastructure arrangements is more cost-intensive than suitable precautions in new ones. With the new building the formal arrangement is the biggest; this time should be used for the adaptation to climate effects. The scope of action is highest during construction; this time should be used for the adaptation to climate impacts. With a reconstruction of a harbour rebuilding, for example, the rise sea level should be considered. Particularly the rail-engaged means of transportation is less vulnerable compared with the climate change and rising weather extremes and, therefore, should be expanded.

Politics as a general framework can have an decisively effect by the spreading of information, preparatory plannings (planning phase of infrastructure investments), the regularisation of incurred losses and in facilitating of traffic avoidance. You come up with it by the adaptation to the climate change in the traffic area a prominent meaning. Hence it is of outstanding importance in adapting to climate change in the transport sector.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)
Conflicts / synergies / sustainability 

Beside their effectiveness for the protection by body, life and property adaptation measures are also checked for their synergies and conflicts with climate protection goals (e. g., timber houses as a CO2 depression).

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Objectives of the measures considered are:

  1. Increase awareness of the need to adapt
  2. Illustrate the synergies between adaptation and mitigation
  3. Development of appropriate communication strategies to support adaptation
  4. Drawing up a best practice guide (so-called "KyotoPlus Navigator")

This "KyotoPlus Navigator" is a practical guide to support climate change mitigation and adaptation in private households. It includes both a description of the "psychology of climate change mitigation and adaptation behavior" especially concrete tools and a thorough "7-step strategy" for the behavioral change. All information is illustrated near to action by Good Practice examples of specific projects and activities. The action areas of construction / housing and transportation / mobility are considered in particular. Thus practically oriented strategies and instruments with which, for example, the energy-efficient building refurbishment, the switch to public means of transport or – in the sense of adaption to climate change - the private precaution compared with increasing weather extremes like heavy rain and heat waves are shown.

The Kyoto Plus Navigator is intended for persons and institutions who want to promote climate protection and / or adaptation to climate change in the general population. Tasks and decision-makers from politics and administration are to be supported with the KyotoPlus Navigator as well as the private sector and non-profit actors that deal with specific issues related to planning and implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Costs of the measures 

nein (qualitative Abschätzung)


Funding / Financing 

Funding programme “klimazwei – research for climate protection and protection from climate impacts”, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany

Project management 

Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg


Universität Kassel, Sozial- und Innovationspsychologie;

Philipps-Universität Marburg;


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Fields of action:
 building sector  transport, transport infrastructure