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Climate change costing Germany billions per year

July 18, 2022

A new study shows weather catastrophes triggered by climate change have cost Germany at least €145 billion over the last two decades. Leaders at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue are looking at ways to tackle the impact.

Flooded houses in Germany
Western Germany was hit by devastating floods in 2021Image: WDR

Climate change has cost Germany an average of €6.6 billion ($6.7 billion) per year since 2000, a study commissioned by the country's ministry for economic affairs and climate action has found.

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said the "horrifying scientific data" illustrated the "enormous damage and costs" of the climate crisis.

"The numbers sound the alarm for more prevention when it comes to the climate," she added.

The study was released on Monday at the start of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, where senior officials from 40 countries discussed the fight against climate change and its impact ahead of this year's UN climate summit in Egypt.

At the same event, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described climate change as the world's "biggest security problem."

"We are all in the same boat, which means that we can only turn the tide together," said Baerbock.

Climate change 'threatens stability worldwide'

Germany to present global 'umbrella' against climate change

The German government was due to present a so-called "global protective umbrella" against climate risks at the conference.

The plan aims to strengthen and develop the global architecture of climate risk financing and insurance for the most vulnerable people and countries, according to the Development Ministry.

"It is no longer a question of whether climate damage will occur, but only how often, how severe and how expensive it will be — and above all, who will be particularly affected," said senior ministry official Jochen Flasbarth.

The meeting in Berlin comes as scientists predict the extreme heat slamming large parts of Europe could become the new normal if global warming continues.

Petersberg climate dialogue begins in Berlin

Environmental activists warned that recent efforts by countries such as Germany to tap new sources of fossil fuels could undermine countries' already fragile climate actions.

"No one can be happy with the fact that the share of coal-fired electricity generation is rising, with us as well," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the meeting. 

"This makes it all the more important that we make completely clear: This is a strictly limited temporary emergency measure that will not be at the expense of our climate targets."

lo/dj (dpa, Reuters, AP)