Systematically perform climate risk assessments in municipalities

Luftbild über Berlin - Potsdamer Platz und TiergartenClick to enlarge
Climate risk Heat particularly affects vulnerable people in large cities.
Source: Kruwt /

Municipalities are affected differently by climate change due to various factors. The German Environment Agency (UBA) therefore recommends the implementation of municipal climate risk assessments along three essential steps: preparation, implementation and communication of the results. To support this, a handout provides information on the methodological procedure in addition to ISO 14091.

UBA President Dirk Messner: Climate protection is the most important precaution to mitigate the consequences of global warming. However, we have to adapt to unavoidable climate impacts, such as heat waves and extreme weather events, for better or worse. This also applies to the future of our cities and communities. With integrative solutions, climate adaptation, strengthening biodiversity, sustainable mobility, insulating and healthy building materials can be brought together. Climate adaptation and a better quality of life can be achieved together."

Through a climate risk assessment, municipalities can first determine, for example, what or who is or will be most affected by climate change. As a result, it becomes clear whether there may be risks for people due to heat stress, flooding of buildings or which areas are most at risk.

The added value of municipal climate risk analyses is particularly evident in the following points:

  • climate risk assessments form a locally specific basis for suitable climate adaptation measures. This will make municipalities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
  • The analyses provide a solid basis for decision-making so that the municipalities can prepare the adaptation process in a targeted and planned manner. This long-term perspective is important because many climate change adaptation measures take a long time to take effect and involve significant investment.
  • Through the cross-field analysis, municipal areas of responsibility can be identified that should jointly plan and implement adaptation measures. Due to the cross-sectional nature of climate adaptation, an interdisciplinary approach is important both in order to exploit synergies and to discuss conflicts and thus negotiate solutions.

The recommendations: Climate Risk Assessments at the Municipal Level provide support for the preparation and implementation of climate risk assessments at the municipal level. They summarise the international standard: Adaptation to climate change-Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment (ISO 14091:2021-07) and supplement this general guideline with specific recommendations for municipalities.

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