Adaptation to the consequences of climate change

Bildmosaik Klimawandel

Climate change is known as a process where average temperatures alter over the long term. Over the last 150 years, humankind has contributed to what is called anthropogenic climate change. The expansion of the use of mainly fossil fuels has led to a higher concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. These emissions in high concentration hold back solar radiation which causes higher temperatures on the ground and leads to different, partly extreme weather conditions. Within densely populated areas like cities, the impact of global warming is often much more noticeable. Due to building structures and other city infrastructures, city centres are generally several degrees warmer than the surrounding areas. This is known as the heat island effect.

Berlin has already experienced rising temperatures, severe storms and heavy rainfalls in the recent past. Thus, it is beyond doubt that Berlin should adjust its infrastructures to changing climate conditions, especially in order to maintain healthy living conditions within the city. The city’s efforts in climate adaptation have even been made a legal obligation with the Berlin Energy Turnaround Act of 2016. Alongside different sectoral projects, the relevant strategies and measures on adaptation are set out in the integrated Berlin Energy and Climate Programme 2030 (BEK 2030), which was approved in 2018. They are based on recommendations that were made as a result of a research project Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin, and were presented in 2016. The aim is to mainstream climate adaptation in different areas, e.g. human health and civil protection, buildings and urban development, water supply, environment and nature, energy supply and solid waste management, industries and services, traffic, tourism and culture as well as education. The measures include improving rain water management, taking care of urban greenery, developing a heat warning system as well as increasing the supply of free drinking water.

The BEK 2030’s implementation status is mapped through a digital information and monitoring system – diBEK for short. It also provides comprehensive information in English.