Adapting to climate change

The National Climate Initiative turns ten Adapting to climate change

Rising temperatures, extreme rainfall and drought – the consequences of climate change can be felt in Sendenhorst in Germany’s Münsterland, which has produced a climate change mitigation strategy to ensure it is equipped to face the future. This is only one of the 25,000 projects that the National Climate Initiative (NCI) has supported since 2008.

A view up tree trunks to the leaves above

Vegetation provides some cool during periods of high temperatures

Photo: Colourbox

Since 2016, the Federal Environment Ministry has provided the local authority with a total of 23,850 euros. Since then, much has happened. Alongside the Integrated Climate Change Mitigation Strategy a Sub-strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change has been produced.

Prepared to face extreme weather events

The first step was to include a checklist for adaptation to climate change in urban land-use planning. New buildings are to take into account the consequences of climate change. Extreme rainfall, for instance, will mean that huge quantities of water are channelled into the drainage system. And conversely, during periods of drought rainwater will be stored. Flood protection is another important issue in Sendenhorst. Because extreme rainfall and flooding are becoming increasingly frequent, a dyke has been erected to protect a new housing development.

Vegetation has a cooling effect

During hot spells, the vegetation in green spaces in cities provides natural shade and has a cooling effect. This means that retaining existing green spaces, and developing them, is another important way to make cities fit to face the consequences of climate change. When planting trees in future it will be important to select trees that can cope with the changing climate. Trees that are native to South-Eastern Europe, for instance, tend to cope better with periods of drought and flooding than linden and maples.

Climate change mitigation manager

As of December 2018 the team in Sendenhorst is to have the support of a new climate change mitigation manager. The new manager is to make cycling and public transport more attractive, and better network climate-friendly transport options.

National Climate Initiative turns ten

We can mitigate climate change if everybody does their bit. This challenge for society as a whole was taken up by the Federal Environment Ministry’s National Climate Initiative (NCI). Under the NCI, the ministry has provided some 790 million euros to promote projects throughout Germany since 2008 – triggering overall investments that top 2.5 billion euros. For every euro provided as assistance, three times that sum has been mobilised to protect the climate – a major achievement and an important contribution to achieving Germany’s national climate targets. By 2050 Germany aims to be largely climate neutral.

As of 1 January 2019, there will be new assistance available to local authorities and actors at municipal level to help them implement climate change mitigation measures. The Federal Environment Ministry has published a pertinent new version of its municipal guidelines. Priority areas for support include local energy and environment management and improving conditions for cyclists.