Climate Impact and Vulnerability Assessment 2021: How vulnerable is Germany to climate change?

Hochwasser Elbe Straße

Heat waves in summer, more intensive heavy rainfall events, an increasing frequency of droughts - the consequences of climate change pose major challenges for Germany. Because these challenges are likely to increase in the near and distant future, it is important to set the course for tomorrow already today. This requires the most precise knowledge of the fields of action, sectors and natural areas in which Germany is and will be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Based on this knowledge, targeted measures can then be developed and implemented that reduce vulnerability and increase the adaptive capacity of society and ecosystems.

In 2015, adelphi published a vulnerability assessment for Germany. Since then, the results of this central national survey have served as the basis for adaptation planning in Germany and have been incorporated into the further development of the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (DAS). In view of the advancement of climate change, the progress already made in adaptation, and conceptual developments in the assessment of vulnerability, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has commissioned adelphi with carrying out a further vulnerability assessment of Germany. In cooperation with its project partners, adelphi developed a methodology for the previous assessment that allows for a nationwide and comparable assessment of climate impacts and vulnerability in various fields of action. The methodology has been included in a guideline for climate impact and vulnerability assessments and is currently in use at the state level in Germany, among others. For the new edition of the analysis, the methodology is to be reviewed and further developed from the current perspective.

Under the leadership of adelphi, the Climate Impact and Vulnerability Assessment 2021 will be carried out with two project partners. adelphi is organising the cooperation with a network of federal authorities and with the German Meteorological Office (DWD) in order to bundle existing knowledge and expertise on adaptation to climate change. The aim is also to deepen the exchange between fields of actions and to ensure the relevance of the results via close involvement of federal authorities.

In the course of the project, the methodology will be even more strongly geared to the needs of political actors to support the identification of needs for action. This will include a reconsideration of the operationalisation of adaptive capacity. Another focus of methodological development is the combination of quantitative and qualitative data and information, which presents a methodological challenge given the spatial dimensions of climate impacts and sensitivity factors. Close involvement of external experts ensures that the latest scientific methods and findings will be taken up in the analysis. The aggregation, the normative evaluation and the prioritization of the results will particularly take account of interactions between different fields of action. The redesigned methodology will then be used for the Climate Impact and Vulnerability Assessment 2021 and will serve as template for related projects.

News related to this project

Publications of this project

  • Germany’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

    Buth, Mareike; Walter Kahlenborn, Jonas Savelsberg, Nina Becker, Philip Bubeck, Sibylle Kabisch, Christian Kind, Annkathrin Tempel, Franziska Tucci et al 2015: Germany’s Vulnerability to Climate Change. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt.