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18 Sep 2023, 13:34
Edgar Meza

Gov't asks German cities and municipalities to provide climate change risk assessments

Table.Media

The German government has called for municipalities to prepare risk analyses on the expected impacts of climate change throughout Germany. In an interview with Table.Media, environment minister Steffi Lemke stressed the need for new municipal urban planning procedures, explaining that all sectors of society, agriculture, construction and logistics were being affected by climate change. “The entirety of city and community planning also needs to be rethought,” she stressed, noting that municipalities needed to examine their local conditions. “Adaptation to the climate crisis must be considered everywhere,” she added. “For far too long, we’ve ignored the consequences of the climate crisis that are being felt here in concrete terms.” In the face of climate change, Germany must adapt to cope with “too much or too little water and rising temperatures at the same time.”

Lemke admitted that changing course quickly will be difficult. “This is not a quick turnaround, but rather the reversal of a tanker that has been traveling in the same wrong direction for a long time.” The draining of moors, the expansion of rivers into waterways, while creating great prosperity, are developments that have operated against nature and cannot be quickly reversed, she added. She warned that doing nothing for climate protection and nature conservation would lead to “significantly more losers” and leave the state unable to financially compensate for the severe consequences.

In July, the federal cabinet adopted a bill that would require the government to present a strategy by 2025 with targets to deal with the effects of climate change. Municipalities would also be required to draw up local risk analyses and adaptation plans, although many say they would be unable to finance such measures. Proponents of greater climate adaptation argue that Germany has failed to implement measures despite deadly floods and droughts in recent years.

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