HUE-1: Manageability of climate change impacts

The picture shows a graphic in which many light and dark grey question marks are stacked on top of each other. On top is a yellow question mark.Click to enlarge
Can we still get to grips with climate change? There is notable scepticism.
Source: Photograph: © Vlad Chorniy / stock.adobe.com

2019 Monitoring Report on the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change

Table of Contents

 

HUE-1: Manageability of climate change impacts

Since 2010 the proportion of citizens stating as a result of a representative public survey that the impacts of climate change are manageable in Germany has declined. In 2016, 63 % of respondents were little or not at all convinced.

The stack column graph shows from 2002 to 2016 at 2-year intervals the percentage of respondents with their conviction that in Germany the problems resulting from climate change are manageable.
HUE-1: Manageability of climate change impacts

The stack column graph shows from 2002 to 2016 at 2-year intervals the percentage of respondents with their conviction that in Germany the problems resulting from climate change are manageable. There are the following categories: fully convinced (no trend), fairly convinced (no meaningful trend calculation possible), not very convinced (no meaningful trend calculation possible), not at all convinced (no meaningful trend calculation possible). As of 2014, there is also the category don't know. The categories fully convinced and fairly convinced are more or less balanced with the categories not at all convinced and not at all convinced. From 2008 to 2014, the positive assessments predominated, in the other years the negative ones. The greatest scepticism was in 2016.

Source: BMU & UBA (Umweltbewusstsein in Deutschland)
 

Will we get to grips with climate change?

The availability of and access to fairly robust projections of future climate change and associated impacts are essential prerequisites for adequate political, administrative, operational and private decision-making and appropriate actions.

Federal Government considers it as one of its key responsibilities to ensure such wide-ranging information is easily accessible, to clearly outline the challenges concerned and to highlight the decision-making assistance available. To this end, Federal Government created the German Climate Preparedness Portal. By visiting the website www.klivoportal.de, authorities, companies and civilians can home in on approved support offerings which provide targeted advice on adapting to climate change, as well as implementation support. Whether and to what extent the information provided is ultimately taken on board by relevant members of the public, motivating them to take rational and targeted action, is largely dependent on how they view the issues concerned. To achieve widespread acceptance of the concept and implementation of adaptation measures in Germany nationwide, depends on a broad consensus among the German public recognising that climate change is a challenge that should be taken seriously.

To know the public’s perception of climate change and its impacts on society is an important basis for the Federal Government in shaping its information policy accordingly and in targeting its funding activities in a meaningful way.

The social appraisal of these issues is the outcome of numerous factors often interacting in complex ways. Crucial influencing factors are, for example, an individual’s personal perception, their understanding of causes, consequences and possibilities of action, their trust in the Government’s capacity for action as well as the individual’s own scope for action based on their private and professional life.

A representative public survey carried out every two years on behalf of the UBA, entitled Environmental Awareness in Germany (Umweltbewusstsein in  Deutschland)I asks respondents several questions which provide clues as to the perception of respondents regarding the impacts of climate change. Since 2002 the questionnaire integral to this study also asks respondents to what extent they are convinced that Germany is capable of managing the problems arising from climate change. The outcomes of this question are illustrated in the accompanying chart.

It is not yet possible to discern a trend for past years. However, it is possible to state that up until 2006 the majority of respondents were little or not at all convinced that it would be possible to manage the impacts of climate change. In the period 2008 to 2012 the majority status has shifted and the appraisals turned out more optimistic than before. For example, in 2012 at least 53.1 % of respondents was convinced that the impacts of climate change would be manageable in Germany. The outcomes for 2014 and 2016 indicate increased scepticism. In 2014 slightly more than half of respondents were little or not at all convinced that in Germany the problems resulting from climate change are manageable. In 2016 this proportion amounted to nearly two thirds.

I - The representative population survey (of German-speaking residents aged 14 or more years) entitled Environmental Awareness and Behaviour in Germany (Umweltbewusstsein und -verhalten in Deutschland) has been carried out every two years since 2000 on behalf of the BMU and the UBA. Since 2012, additional questions have been asked in the survey, intended to supply data for DAS monitoring indicators; from 2016 onwards, these questions are asked every four years in the environmental awareness surveys.

 

Interfaces

FiW-I-2: Incidence of storms and floods

BS-R-2: Precautionary measures for protection of the public

 

Objectives

Enhancing the knowledge base thus augmenting the ability to highlight and communicate both chances and risks and to signpost opportunities for action (DAS, ch. 3.2.4)