Environment Minister Steffi Lemke demands preparation for risks

The German “Climate Adaptation Week” aims to make it clear: The effects of the climate crisis are also clearly felt in Germany. In today’s special interview, German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke demands that authorities and planners anchor adaptation in everyday life. And she calls for a reorienting agricultural policy, which has worked “against nature for centuries.” Read the full interview here:

Ms Lemke, it is only the second time there has been a Climate Adaptation Week in Germany, and since July, there has also been a draft law on the subject. But we have been aware of climate damage for much longer. Why has it taken so long to engage with this issue seriously?
Steffi Lemke: It has been ignored for far too long that the consequences of the climate crisis are also clearly felt in Germany. And many still think that this problem only concerns island nations, where sea levels are rising, or Southern Europe when droughts hit the south of France and Spain. But the climate crisis is also affecting us in Germany. The increasing number of extreme weather events in Germany shows that we must act and prepare for such risks. The German government has now passed the first nationwide climate adaptation law. It creates a binding framework for the federal, state and local governments for the first time.
Public attention to the issue was very high, especially after the flood in the Ahr Valley in 2021. Does it take such a catastrophe first before we act?
The flood disaster in the Ahr Valley in 2021 changed many things. It was a terrible event that claimed many lives and destroyed the property of many families. This disaster is not solely the result of climate change. For decades, we have often built our cities close to the water without keeping the holistic system of a river in mind. The consequences can be dire if a heavy rainfall event occurs in a narrow valley. And this disaster was also an example of how unprepared we are for such events.

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Flood Desaster in Ahr Valley in Germany: 135 people died. (IMAGO / blickwinkel)
Do we need to prepare for the next disaster?
There have been devastating events in various places in Europe and around the world this summer: floods in Slovenia, in Austria, in south-eastern Europe, in Libya; wildfires in Greece or Canada – the list goes on. And we know that the climate will continue to change, that temperatures here are warmer than they used to be – and that they will only get warmer. This summer was the warmest since weather records began. We have had the drought of 2018 and other dry summers in subsequent years. There have been flood disasters heavy rainfall – all events that have been at least massively intensified by the climate crisis. Therefore, We must reduce our carbon emissions to contain the climate crisis. At the same time, however, we must adapt to the climate changes that can no longer be prevented. The latter is only now entering the political and public discourse.
Read the full interview here:

  • Sarah Chabane

    38 w

    CLimate adaptation has to be at the centre of development policy, otherwise it just doesn't make sens. We should be planning for the future!

    • Saustine Lusanzu

      38 w

      Yes planning for the upcoming risks is a good way to overcome the crisis

    • Gorffly mokua

      38 w

      Prevention is always better!

    • Tabitha Kimani

      38 w

      Very important.

      Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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