German cities encouraged to protect green spaces against heat and floods
Clean Energy Wire
In a bid to adapt cities and other urban areas to climate change effects such as extreme heat, Germany’s buildings and construction ministry (BMWSB) has launched a programme to fund measures aimed at reducing heat and other risks for city dwellers. Endowed with nearly half a billion euros, the programme is supposed to financially assist city governments and municipalities in maintaining and expanding green spaces, unsealing and greening large surfaces and protecting biodiversity. “Wherever you find healthy green areas and water, the surroundings are cooler,” minister Klara Geywitz said at the programme’s launch. “Parks and green spaces therefore are crucial to life.” The effects of climate change on German cities will be significant and diverse, she argued. While north-eastern Berlin will need to cope with extended droughts, cities in the western Rhineland region are threatened by floods. “Towns and municipalities have to protect their green spaces from that,” she added. The federal government will cover up to 85 percent of the costs of measures cities take to tackle their individual climate change challenges, Geywitz said.
Extreme weather damages in Germany amounted to more than 80 billion euros in 2021, according to the country’s climate and energy ministry (BMWK). Hot and dry summers and individual disasters like last year’s floods in western Germany and neighbouring countries are widely seen as an effect of climate change.