28 Jun 2023, 13:39
Julian Wettengel

Six out of ten German companies do not see themselves affected by climate change

Clean Energy Wire

Almost six out of ten German companies (59%) say they do not see themselves affected by the negative consequences of climate change today or in the future, shows the Climate Barometer survey by state development bank KfW. Only forty-one percent of companies currently (15 %) or prospectively (26 %) see themselves affected. (The specific question was: “Do you see your company being affected by the negative consequences of climate change, for example through an increase in extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods or storms?”) KfW writes that this could be because many companies have not yet dealt in depth with the possible effects of global climate change on economic activities, with the planning horizon of smaller businesses only stretching over the next few years. In addition, many referred to their own experiences when assessing risks. “Since natural disasters have occurred rarely in the past, future extreme weather events could be systematically underestimated,” writes KfW. To increase resilience to extreme weather, some (14%) companies have already implemented climate change adaptation measures, such as better insulation of buildings for heat protection or increased protection of facilities and buildings against flooding during heavy rain. Large companies are significantly more active in this regard (57 %).

Europe is the continent experiencing the fastest rise in temperatures because of 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. Climate change thus also poses a number of new challenges for companies, such as weather-related production or operational disruptions, supply chain interruptions, or impairments of employees' performance and health due to heat. 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 remain non-binding “soft” policies.

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