The study was presented jointly by the Federal Ministry of Economics, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Institute for Ecological Economic Research (IÖW) involved in the study. "The results of the study show that we have to take ambitious climate protection very seriously. Otherwise there is a risk of burdening future generations with high damage costs," emphasized the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Stefan Wenzel (Greens).
The study examined three scenarios based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: According to this, the costs of "weak" climate change could be up to 280 billion euros by 2050, of "medium" climate change 530 billion euros and of "strong" climate change up to 910 billion euros Billion euro.
The authors of the study distinguish between direct and indirect consequential costs of climate change: Direct costs result from flood damage to buildings or crop failures in agriculture, for example. Indirectly, however, heat and drought would not only lead to yield losses in agriculture, but also to rising prices in the food industry.
However, the authors of the study point out that adaptation measures could significantly reduce the costs - in the case of mild climate change, the costs could be avoided completely, in the case of moderate climate change, damage could be reduced by 110 billion euros and in the case of severe climate change by 350 billion euros.
According to this, for example, carbon storage in the soil by preserving forests or moors can reduce greenhouse gases and contribute to adaptation to the consequences of climate change. At the presentation of the study in Berlin, State Secretary for the Environment Christiane Rohleder emphasized that climate protection is the "first priority for adaptation". The more that can be throttled, the less damage there will be.
In addition, Rohleder drew attention to the federal government's planned climate adaptation law, which is intended to promote preventive climate adaptation. The draft bill of the law will soon be put to the departmental vote. She also pointed out that the Basic Law has not yet allowed the federal, state and local governments to jointly finance the economic consequences of climate change. She pleaded for a change in the Basic Law to anchor this as a community issue.
The General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) called the study results "worrying". "In our view, the economic consequences caused by climate change and extreme weather events can only be reduced through climate-adapted construction," explained GDV Managing Director Jörg Asmussen. "Prevention and adaptation to the consequences of climate change are the linchpin so that damage caused by natural disasters and thus insurance premiums do not get out of hand financially."
The IÖW, the Society for Economic Structure Research (GWS) and Prognos AG worked on the study. The Federal Ministry of Economics commissioned the investigation, and the Federal Ministry for the Environment accompanied it.
The ministries involved pointed out that in addition to the financially measurable damage caused by climate change, there are many other negative consequences - for example health impairments, deaths from heat and floods, the strain on ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity.