20 Jul 2021, 13:14
Charlotte Nijhuis

Politicians call for investments in urban climate adaptation measures

Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German politicians are calling for investments in urban planning to better prepare cities for extreme weather events, such as the catastrophic storms that recently hit the southwest of the country. Green Party co-leader and chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock said in an interview with Die Zeit that climate adaptation measures for cities and municipalities have so far been “underexposed and underfunded” in Germany. She suggested measures such as a municipal precautionary fund, which could be used to rebuild sewer systems or digitally monitor water levels, for example,  and rebuilding cities so they can better absorb and drain water. She acknowledged this will cost a lot of money, "but if we keep driving on sight instead of investing now, it will eventually become unaffordably expensive and create an incredible amount of suffering.” 

Anja Weisgerber, climate spokesperson for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that climate change has "arrived in the middle of our society." Urban planning must now be adapted, she said, for example through "underground catch basins in densely populated and sealed areas where water cannot run off fast enough." Green Party climate policy spokeswoman Lisa Badum said: "Germany is not well enough armed against the force of the climate crisis." She said that "everything must now be set in motion" to stop it as far as possible, adding that Germany must launch an "immediate climate protection programme." The FDP's climate policy spokesman, Lukas Köhler, said there are a "number of ways to minimise the damage caused by climate change." These include"early warning systems and faster exchange of information between digitally connected authorities, more efficient sewage systems and flood plains, or better insurance protection so that storms do not destroy entire livelihoods."

Earlier this year, Germany’s municipalities and the federal environment ministers agreed that municipalities will receive better counsel and support for climate adaptation efforts. The government said it would implement a national advisory centre by summer 2021 to provide information and suggestions to municipalities and to support the deployment of so-called local adaptation managers.

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