Study finds climate change may cost Germany $1 trillion by 2050
Fridays for Future activists at the Global Climate Strike in Berlin, Germany. /Nadja Wohlleben/Reuters
Fridays for Future activists at the Global Climate Strike in Berlin, Germany. /Nadja Wohlleben/Reuters

Fridays for Future activists at the Global Climate Strike in Berlin, Germany. /Nadja Wohlleben/Reuters

More frequent extreme weather events as a result of climate change could cost Germany close to $1 trillion by 2050, according to a government-commissioned study.

The study, by economic research companies Prognos and GWS and Germany's Institute for Ecological Economic Research, comes as Berlin works on a climate adaptation strategy soon to be presented by the environment ministry.

It also comes amid debates in the ruling coalition on how Germany could cut greenhouse emissions in challenging sectors such as transportation and construction to become carbon neutral by 2045.


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The consequences of increasing global temperatures, such as severe floods or heat, could cost Europe's largest economy up to €910 billion ($979 billion) in a "strong" scenario without any adaptation measures, according to the report.

Even this figure was a "lower-bound" estimate, the economy ministry said, with the analytical model unable to take account of all the potential impacts of climate change. 


'Significantly higher' costs

Extra deaths, falling quality of life and the extinction of animal and plant species were not included "despite their high significance", the ministry said. The total costs were therefore likely to be "significantly higher" than those in the modeled scenarios.

A "weak climate change" outcome would see the costs come to $300 billion were no adaptation made to the impact of rising temperatures.

Mitigation measures considered included investment in climate change resistant plant varieties, better irrigation and public research funding. Together, the steps could "completely" compensate for the costs of climate change in the mildest scenario, while reducing the costs by 60 percent in the most severe situation.

The study underlined the need for "ambitious" climate policies now in order to spare future generations the cost, junior minister Stefan Wenzel said in a statement.

"Climate change is already having serious economic consequences, which can increase massively," Wenzel said.

According to the study, Germany had already registered $155 billion in climate-related costs between 2000 and 2021, with more than half coming since 2018.

The country was struck by historic floods in 2021, which caused $42 billion worth of damages, according to the report. Similar events could "occur more and more frequently", while similar costs could be incurred "every year by the middle of the century," the ministry said.

The study did not mention how much climate adaptation measures could cost the federal and state governments.


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Source(s): AFP

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