If climate change continues unchecked, the risks from heat, drought and heavy rainfall throughout Germany will increase sharply in the future. This is shown by the results of the Federal Climate Impact and Risk Assessment (KWRA), which was presented by the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Environment Agency.
The Climate Impact and Risk Assessment 2021 for Germany examined over 100 climate change impacts and their interactions, and around 30 of them were found to require very urgent action. These include deadly heat stress, especially in cities, water shortages in the soil and more frequent low water, with serious consequences for all ecosystems, agriculture, forestry and the goods transport sector. The economic damage caused by heavy rainfall , flash floods and flooding to structures was also studied, as well as the species change caused by the gradual rise in temperature, including the spread of disease vectors and pests.
Only a few regions in Germany have so far been very intensively affected by heat, drought or heavy rainfall. In the event of strong climate change, many more regions would be confronted with these effects by the middle of the century. The greatest changes to the climate relative to today would occur in the west and south of Germany. Climate extremes would occur most frequently in the southwest and east. Rivers and river valleys could be affected by the consequences of water-specific risks such as low water and floods. On the coast, hazards from sea-level rise would increase significantly in the second half of the century. If climate change is strong, all of Germany would become a hotspot for climate change risks by the end of the century.
The report shows the risks associated with various different climate scenarios in the middle and end of the century. For the first time, it analysed how the risks in individual sectors are linked and interact with each other. Adaptation options were also analysed for the highest climate risks and assessed in terms of how much they can reduce future climate risk.
The study was commissioned by the Federal Government and prepared by a research consortium involving experts from 25 federal authorities and institutions from nine government departments in the "Climate Change and Adaptation" network of authorities. The results of the study are an essential basis for the further development of the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (DAS).