Germany Needs Increased Research on the Indirect Impacts of Climate Change

Germany Needs Increased Research on the Indirect Impacts of Climate Change

In Germany, Climate Justice or “Klimagerechtigkeit” is defined as the right for every human being to ‘use’ the atmosphere without greatly impacting it. It is related to having a responsibility towards the society or the world as a whole. The consequences of climate change for individual groups or regions in Germany are not necessarily equal; it is clear that people in the countryside will particularly suffer more than people in the city. Extreme weather events will negatively influence rural infrastructure, more flooding events will lead to loss and damage of property and so will droughts. The interruption of infrastructure will limit access to health facilities, daily grocery stores, and general societal offers.

The middle eastern regions such as Sachsen and Brandenburg will be especially impacted by climate change. These regions are less developed and are said to greatly suffer from higher temperatures, more flooding events, more extreme weathers, biological degradation. The same applies to the somewhat wealthier region of Niedersachsen.

In 2008, Germany released its strategy on mitigation and adaptation. The strategy covers multiple topics and sectors such as infrastructure, water supply, health, energy, forestry and agriculture, tourism and coast & marine protection. The ministry of People Protection and Disaster Management released a report in 2019, which includes the individual regions’ disaster management strategies. Unfortunately, not all regions have a detailed strategy on adaptation and mitigation. Many regions, however, undertake good work in assessing and monitoring the direct impacts of climate change. They do this, for instance, via interactive web-map platforms. An example can be seen on: ReKIS

Most of these strategies do not account for the indirect consequences that climate change will have on both the economic and the societal sector, particularly social groups with less financial resources may be indirectly impacted through economic changes or systemic changes. More research from the federal government is needed to educate and plan ahead.

 Activity Rating: *** Right Direction

The federal and regional government have shown that they can plan ahead and take precautionary measures to prevent and educate about the consequences of climate change. The numerous local and regional projects that are currently undertaken show that different groups responded and reacted based on the adaptation strategy. However, it is not enough to only look at the direct impacts of climate change. More focus needs to be set on the different societal groups and minorities that already are classified as being of a ‘lower’ social class. It is expected that the indirect consequences of climate change, whether they may be systemic, financial or political, need to be known to prevent further damage to low income communities.

Take Action


The working group of Kompass under the federal environment agency is encouraged to investigate and do more research on the indirect impacts of climate change on at-risk communities. Focus needs to be put on the groups that have fewer financial resources and on the populations living in the countryside – particularly in the eastern part of Germany. Direct conversation with those groups need to be undertaken in order to hear their worries and increase their understanding. Including these groups in the planning process will result in well-organised strategies to counterbalance the direct and indirect impacts of climate change in Germany.


Prof. Dr. Harry Lehmann (Working Group Manager:
Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau


Telefon: 0340 – 21 03 26 49

Learn More:

Link to Article on climate justice in Germany:

Link to Summary of article on direct impacts in Germany:

Link to German report:

„Klimawandel: Herausforderung fuer den Bevoelkerungsschutz) (Climate change: A challenge for the protection of people – 2019)


Link to Actionplan on Adaptation and Resilience (Federal Environment Agency):

Link to Federal Environment Agency Website on “Climate Impacts” by region and cluster.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Germany Country Manager Berit Mohr

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