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11 Jun 2020, 14:20
Sören Amelang

Local authorities' interest in climate change adaptation rises sharply in Germany

Der Spiegel

Following two extremely hot and dry summers, local authorities' interest in projects aimed at adapting to climate change has increased rapidly, reports Manuel Berkel in der Spiegel. The federal environment ministry's support programme registered 154 applications in 2019, compared to 85 in 2018. In the current funding period, which started in August 2019, more applications were received than ever before, according to an evaluation by the ministry for the magazine. The city of Osnabrück uses the funding to investigate how parks, water bodies and playgrounds can serve to cool overheated cities covered in concrete, while Dresden did a survey on the damages caused by heavy rains, for example.

"While the topic of adaptation to the consequences of climate change received little attention until five years ago, the extreme weather events of recent years, especially the hot summer of 2018, have reached an increasingly wide audience. This is also reflected in the numbers of project outlines submitted," a ministry spokesperson said, adding that available financing was oversubscribed three times last year. The ministry said it wants to take this development into account in the forthcoming new edition of the programme. In sharp contrast, companies' interest in a comparable programme remains weak. 

Extreme droughts and prolonged heat waves have significantly raised awareness of climate change dangers in Germany in the past years. Addressing the problem requires a different approach than just tackling climate change, in which action taken at the local level is much more more important than a comprehensive international response, Alexander Marx, hydrology researcher at the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ), had told Clean Energy Wire in an interview.

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