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Climate change affects firms

January 9, 2013

A study by a leading economic think tank has revealed that an increasing number of German companies are already feeling the impact of climate change. But the impact does by no means have to be negative.

High water levels in the river Rhine make ship navigation difficult Photo: Martin Gerten/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Climate change was impacting an ever growing number of companies across Germany, a fresh study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) showed on Wednesday.

The think tank had polled some 1,000 firms about whether or not and to what extent climate change was already having or was expected to have an impact on business operations.

In 2011, about 15 percent of respondents said they were negatively affected by increasing signs of global warming, for instance when protracted heat spells made it more expensive for them to run air conditioning systems at their production facilities.

Growing fears

Some 29 percent of those polled said they reckoned they would deal with rising costs in the decades to come, adding that by 2030 the consequences of ongoing climate change would have influenced their operations in a negative way. The study mentioned logistics companies whose shipping operations might increasingly be hampered by low-water rivers or floods.

Apart from direct impacts, climate change would also have some indirect negative effects for a growing number of German companies, the study maintained, such as changing consumption patterns or a tightening of greenhouse emission trading schemes.

But the IW survey also made a point of emphasizing that climate change would also continue to open up brighter business opportunities for some firms, among them companies specializing in the production of anti-heat or storm-resistant materials.

hg/dr (Reuters, dpa)