Berlin Record temperatures and little rain, that is Germany in the summer of 2022. Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) promises: “We must and we will now invest more in climate protection and climate adaptation in order to better protect our population.” The vast majority of cities and municipalities are still not sufficiently prepared to effectively protect people protection.
However, the climate adaptation strategy announced by the traffic light government in the coalition agreement is still pending. “The Federal Environment Ministry is currently making preparations for a new precautionary climate adaptation strategy with measurable goals and joint funding from the federal and state governments,” a ministry spokesman told the Handelsblatt.
The spokesman went on to say: “The national water strategy is to be decided in the cabinet at the beginning of 2023 in order to arm Germany against long periods of drought and to advance the necessary measures to protect water resources.” accept”. That would be in the summer of 2023.
Despite the worsening climate crisis, progress is only being made with individual measures for the time being. Federal Minister of Construction Klara Geywitz (SPD) presented the federal program “Adaptation of Urban Spaces to Climate Change” in Potsdam on Tuesday, for which the budget committee had previously approved new funds of 176 million euros.
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With the program “we support cities and communities in the preservation and development of green and open spaces,” said Geywitz. “Where there is healthy green and water, the environment is cooler,” she continued. Parks and green spaces are therefore “vital”.
Precaution against increasing heat waves
The program was first launched in 2020. It is financed with funds from the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF). In the first two funding rounds, almost 300 million euros were made available for around 250 projects approved by the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag. The new funds will be approved in the 2022 budget year and will be available from 2022 to 2025. Cities and municipalities are eligible to apply; the deadline is October 15.
The German Association of Towns and Municipalities considers better precautions against the increasing heat waves to be urgently required. “Municipal heat action plans are therefore necessary in view of the changing climatic conditions,” said managing director Gerd Landsberg of the Handelsblatt.
He refers to the Federal Environment Ministry, which launched a package of immediate climate adaptation measures for municipalities in March. The action paper envisages a significant expansion of advisory services and the transfer of knowledge on climate protection in Germany.
Also against the background of the lessons learned from the flood disaster of last summer, the ministry headed by department head Lemke wants to provide an additional 60 million euros by 2026 to prepare cities and communities for the extreme weather events of the future.
Adaptation of the cities necessary
In addition to advice, Landsberg believes that “adequate funding” for inner-city adaptation measures is necessary. As examples, the head of the association of cities named investments in green roofs and facades as well as public drinking water dispensers. But the use of public cold storage rooms or water retention measures in city centers are also important building blocks.
“We have to establish green climate oases in the cities,” emphasized Landsberg. This includes seating with a cool environment, so-called water nebulizers are also conceivable.
“In the long term, we will also have to change the development,” said Landsberg. In countries like Spain, the buildings are designed in such a way that the houses shade each other. That’s the right model. “Considerations of replacing the black asphalt with lighter asphalt can also bring about temperature reductions.”
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The climate crisis is now also causing enormous damage and costs in Germany. The extreme weather alone, such as the exceptionally hot and dry summers of recent years and the flood disaster of 2021, caused damage totaling more than 80 billion euros in Germany.
Since the turn of the millennium, the damage has amounted to at least 145 billion euros, according to three studies published on Monday by the analysis and consulting company Prognos on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate.