Awards: Environmental award for climate researcher and wood construction pioneer

The climate researcher Friederike Otto and the timber construction entrepreneur Dagmar Fritz-Kramer received the German Environmental Prize in Lübeck on Sunday.

Awards: Environmental award for climate researcher and wood construction pioneer

The climate researcher Friederike Otto and the timber construction entrepreneur Dagmar Fritz-Kramer received the German Environmental Prize in Lübeck on Sunday. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented the 500,000 euro award from the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) to “two extraordinary women” at a ceremony in the music and congress hall.

According to the foundation, the environmental award is one of the most highly endowed environmental awards in Europe. It was awarded for the 31st time.

The two women fought the consequences of climate change in their own unique way with commitment and conviction, said Steinmeier. The congratulations on the prize are at the same time “another reminder and challenge to all of us”. “We still have to change a lot about ourselves, our habits and our way of life in order to meet the great challenge of climate change,” he said.

“And even if new threats arise in Eastern Europe or the Middle East: the fight against climate change must not be pushed from its place at the top of the political priority list,” emphasized Steinmeier. In the coming years, “an enormous effort” will be required. "But the good news is: We have it in our own hands - all of us, each and every one of us in our everyday lives."

The role of climate change in weather

Climate scientist Friederike Otto, who works at Imperial College London, has made a name for herself with groundbreaking research into so-called attribution science. It explores what role climate change plays in the weather - i.e. whether and what connections there are between climate changes and extreme weather such as heat waves, droughts, floods and heavy rain. In 2015, Otto co-founded the World Weather Attribution (WWA) initiative and played a key role in developing the process of attributing extreme weather events to man-made climate change.

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer is managing director of the Allgäu family business Bau-Fritz GmbH. The company specializes in prefabricated timber construction for houses, apartments and renovations. Wood as a building material is considered an excellent climate protector. Because it stores large amounts of carbon and thus prevents the formation of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. According to the Environmental Foundation, the building sector is a key factor if Germany wants to become climate-neutral by 2045 as planned: it causes around 40 percent of the around 746 million tons of emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide every year nationwide.

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