Germany experienced historic floods in 2021.
- More frequent extreme weather events due to climate change could cost Germany almost R19 trillion by 2050.
- The total costs could be higher if falling quality of life, extinction of animal and plant species and extra deaths are considered.
- Germany has already recorded ~R2.8 trillion in climate-related costs between 2000 and 2021, more than half of which since 2018.
- For climate change news and analysis, go to News24 Climate Future.
More frequent extreme weather events as a result of climate change could cost Germany close to one trillion euros (or about R19 trillion) by 2050, according to a government-commissioned study published Monday.
The consequences of increasing global temperatures, such as severe floods or heat, could cost Europe’s largest economy up to 910 billion euros (~R17.7 trillion) in a “strong” scenario without any adaptation measures, according to the report.
The 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.
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 modelled scenarios.
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A “weak climate change” outcome would see the costs come to 280 billion euros (~R5.4 trillion) 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% 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 145 billion euros (~R2.8 trillion) 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 40 billions euros’ (~R779 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.