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International delegation visits climate adaptation experts at the IÖW

Group photo with 9 women and 6 men from different countries in the IÖW conference room

The first excursion of the five-day information tour took the participants to the IÖW in Berlin. Photo: IÖW

Increasing weather extremes are putting cities and countries under pressure worldwide. Adaptation is a comparatively new and complex field of activity that benefits from exchange and mutual learning. The Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut have invited leading experts from fifteen countries on a trip to provide insights into climate change impacts and adaptation measures in Germany. On May 13, 2024, the delegation visited the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). Professor Jesko Hirschfeld and Johannes Rupp discussed climate adaptation strategies and the costs of the climate crisis with the visitors. 

“Germany is one of the countries in which climate change is already clearly becoming apparent, claiming human lives and having a financial impact. The guests enquired about methods for calculating various damage costs, for example,” reports Professor Jesko Hirschfeld, environmental economist at the IÖW. They also discussed how climate adaptation can be shaped politically – for example with regard to coordination between the national and local levels and the participation of local actors in political processes.

Experts from 13 nations 

From Brazil to China, India and Nigeria to the island republic of Fiji: the “Adapting to climate change in Germany” information tour is not only diverse, but also top-class: Guests include representatives from the Thai Ministry of Agriculture, the Israeli Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Jordan and the city government of Lagos. Researchers, for example from the Canadian Climate Risk Institute, journalists and nature conservation organizations are also represented.

From May 12 to 18, the experts will visit various locations in Berlin, Hamburg and Potsdam – including the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, the Federal Environment Agency, the state governments of Berlin and Hamburg, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). 

Working on transdisciplinary solutions 

One of the first stops was the IÖW, which has been researching climate adaptation in Germany for many years. “The exchange with the guests was very enriching. It became clear that climate change presents us with similar challenges worldwide, albeit with very different intensities and adaptation capacities,” says Hirschfeld. The economist presented two projects: firstly, analyses of the costs of climate change impacts in Germany and secondly, an online tool for municipalities that makes the benefits of urban greenery for climate-resilient cities directly tangible. 

“In our presentations for the visitors, we focused on how transdisciplinary research can contribute to the implementation of concrete climate adaptation measures,” explains Johannes Rupp, who recently conducted research primarily on climate-resilient cities. “Integrating practice partners into projects from the outset helps to address hurdles and knowledge gaps in a targeted manner and to prepare results in a way that is useful for policymakers.” The “Green City of the Future” project, in which Rupp was involved, developed implementation aids for local authorities and planning offices – tailored to the needs of the target group.

The information tour is being coordinated by the Goethe-Institut on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office. Focal points range from coastal and erosion protection, forest renewal and national park management to urban climate adaptation.