Scenarios for Germany: Climate change could cost 900 billion

Status: 03/06/2023 12:18 p.m

Scientists have calculated several scenarios for the financial consequences of climate change in Germany. Crop failures or damage to buildings could result in costs of up to 900 billion euros.

According to a recent study, climate change could cost Germany up to 900 billion euros by the middle of the century. This is the result of a study presented by the Federal Ministries for the Environment, Economics and Climate Protection.

According to the study, the costs could arise, for example, from loss of earnings in agriculture, damage to buildings and infrastructure as a result of heavy rain, flooding and flooding, or international supply bottlenecks for intermediate products and raw materials. According to the Ministry of the Environment, there are also health impairments, deaths from heat and flooding, the strain on ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity and the reduction in quality of life.

“The results of the study show that we have to take ambitious climate protection very seriously. Otherwise there is a risk of burdening future generations with high damage costs,” emphasized the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Stefan Wenzel (Greens).

Study examines three scenarios

In play the paper the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW), the Society for Economic Structural Research (GWS) and Prognos AG are going through various scenarios for the period from 2022 to 2050. Based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), three scenarios are being examined: According to this, the costs of “weak” climate change could be up to 280 billion euros by 2050, of “medium” climate change 530 billion euros and of “strong” climate change up to 910 billion euros Euro.

According to the models, the average annual costs of extreme events such as heat and flooding over the past 20 years would increase by a factor of one and a half to five times each year up to 2050. For the year 2050, that would mean a loss of 0.6 to 1.8 percent in gross domestic product. This would mean that the economy would shrink even in the best-case scenario if no measures are taken to adapt to global warming.

Measures can greatly reduce costs

However, the authors of the study point out that adaptation measures could significantly reduce the costs – in the case of mild climate change, the costs could be avoided completely, in the case of moderate climate change there is a reduction in damage of 110 billion euros and in the case of severe climate change by 350 billion euros possible.

According to this, for example, carbon storage in the soil by preserving forests or moors can reduce greenhouse gases and contribute to adaptation to the consequences of climate change. At the presentation of the study in Berlin, State Secretary for the Environment Christiane Rohleder emphasized that climate protection is the “first priority for adaptation”. The more that can be throttled, the less damage there will be.

Total could be even higher

At the same time, according to the authors, the determined values ​​represent lower limits, since not all consequences of climate change can be measured in terms of costs and represented in the model. Added to this are, for example, the loss of quality of life and biodiversity as well as deaths. “It is therefore to be expected that the costs of climate change may be significantly higher than those determined by the scenarios in the model context,” the study says.

The results are not to be understood as a prediction, but are intended to give an impression of what could happen under certain assumptions.

Climate Adaptation Act is being prepared

State Secretary Rohleder also drew attention to the Federal Government’s planned Climate Adaptation Act, which is intended to promote preventive climate adaptation. The draft bill of the law will soon be put to the departmental vote.

She also pointed out that the Basic Law has not yet allowed the federal, state and local governments to jointly finance the economic consequences of climate change. She pleaded for a constitutional amendment to enshrine this as a community issue.

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