06 Apr 2023, 12:01
Julian Wettengel

German law to set rules for climate adaptation efforts at national and state level

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's environment ministry has proposed a federal climate adaptation law that sets a framework for action at the national and state level. The draft bill is “intended to create a binding framework for a precautionary federal climate adaptation strategy and cooperation between the federal government, the states and other administrative bodies in all necessary fields of action,” the environment ministry said. This should lead to “a more coordinated” approach when implementing climate adaptation measures, it added. The law itself does not yet propose measures. Rather, it would oblige the government to present a climate adaptation strategy by September 2025 at the latest, and update it every four years. This strategy would include targets and measures, including proposals for the state level. The draft also stipulates that a programme to monitor the visible effects of climate change should be introduced (and reported on every two years), and that the relevant ministries would be responsible for proposing additional measures if targets are projected to be missed. It also holds that the federal states must decide their own adaptation strategies. With the publication of the draft law, the government initiated the stakeholder process in which associations, companies and other stakeholders can comment on the plans.

Other European countries like France are also currently rethinking their climate adaptation efforts. Europe is experiencing the fastest rise in temperatures of any continent due to climate change, and the impacts are felt everywhere across the region: deadly summer heatwaves and floods, devastating droughts, and snow-free ski slopes in winter. Like other world regions, Europe must make up for lost time, and act now to adapt to rising temperatures. In many respects, the EU is an adaptation pioneer, but the challenges are huge, the targets keep moving, and many plans are non-binding ‘soft’ policies.

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