14 Jun 2021, 12:29
Julian Wettengel

Risks from heat, drought and heavy rainfall to increase sharply in Germany

Clean Energy Wire

Unabated and strong climate change could make the whole of Germany “a hotspot for climate change risks” by the end of the century, said the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) based on its updated climate impact and risk analysis. Until now, only a few regions in the country are heavily impacted by heat, drought or heavy rains, but the number would rise significantly by mid century, especially in the west and the south, said UBA. “Climate change threatens the livelihoods of future generations and restricts their freedoms,” said environment minister Svenja Schulze with a nod to a recent landmark climate ruling by the constitutional court. “The most important precaution is determined climate action.” She added that Germany needs more trees in the cities, more greenery on the roofs, more space for rivers and much more. The need to act is now, she said, as many measures take time to take effect. UBA head Dirk Messner said that such measures also included flood and coastal protection, reducing the pollution and overexploitation of water, soil and air, decreasing asphalt surfaces, and cutting land consumption.

The average air temperature in Germany has risen by about 1.6°C from pre-industrial times and the effects of global warming are becoming increasingly felt in the central European country. In autumn 2020, the government presented a progress report on its climate change adaptation strategy which highlighted worsening effects, such as more frequent periods of extreme heat in summer, low groundwater levels and rising water levels in the North and Baltic Seas. Today’s risk report was commissioned by the government and prepared by a scientific consortium of experts from 25 federal authorities and institutions. It will feed into updating Germany’s adaptation strategy.

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