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Adapting to climate change

Germany too is facing major challenges from global warming – find out here what the government is doing about it

Reforestation with heat-tolerant trees
Reforestation with heat-tolerant trees © picture alliance / Jochen Tack

The climate is changing throughout the world. This climate change is fundamentally affecting the living conditions of all human beings. “The ecosystem, we humans, and our infrastructures, such as water supplies, healthcare or our cities, are all tailored to the prevailing climate here,” says Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). He says that admittedly “Germany’s climatic conditions enable us to prepare for a temperature rise somewhat more easily than many other regions. Consequently, we should provide support to them. After all, we are living in a networked world,” Messner says to the online magazine Klimareporter. But one problem still remains: “Our ecosystems can’t adapt at the same pace.”

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Climate policy in Germany is being built on two pillars. The first is designed to combat climate change itself by avoiding greenhouse gasses and creating a sustainable economy. The second focuses on adapting to the temperature increases which are no longer avoidable.
This is why the German government passed an adaptation strategy in 2008:

Overarching measures

  • Specialist advice for municipalities
  • Forecast and calculation of the anticipated damage as a result of climate change

Improving co-operation


Irrigation of green areas in cities
Irrigation of green areas in cities © picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild

Extreme weather: Drought, heat, torrential rain

  • Promotion of cooling greenery in cities, development and protection of fresh-air corridors
  • Water strategy that prioritizes its use as drinking water, service water, agriculture etc.
  • The Forest Climate Fund finances the conservation of forests and moorlands
  • Forests owned by the federal authorities are being made climate-robust through reforestation

Flooding, high water

  • Rewilding rivers and flood plains to prevent and manage flooding
  • Improving rainwater management in built-up areas
  • Improving high-water protection along rivers and coasts

Risk group safety measures

  • Supporting social facilities in the adaptation processes
  • Further education for social workers, home carers and healthcare personnel
  • Implementing monitoring systems for healthcare and environment

The aim of the measures is to identify and react appropriately in preparation for the risks to the population, the natural habitats and the economy. “In the case of a severe climate change, we will need to restructure all of this in the coming decades in order to prepare ourselves for radically different weather conditions,” says the UBA’s Dirk Messner.


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