Adaptation and Integrated Planning for Climate Change

Thekla Heinel, FEDARENE Vice-President for Climate Protection in Municipalities and Regions and Head of Department at B. & S.U., discusses the role of munipalities and regions regarding climate protection and adaptation.

Adaptation and Integrated Planning for Climate Change
Thekla Heinel

Almost all of us are confronted with the effects of climate change, whether in the form of direct experience of heat waves or heavy rainfall events or in the context of reporting on disastrous events such as the flood catastrophe in Germany 2021, in which many people lost their lives and their existences. We currently have the last chance for a transformation of climate policy to limit climate change according to the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Climate protection and adaptation are two sides of the same important challenge. They must be implemented in an integrated, structured and targeted way, in order to stop global warming without further delay and at the same time protect people from the life- and existence-threatening consequences of climate change.

Municipalities and regions are the most important actors in this context.

As it is the main obligation of municipalities and regions to provide services of general interest and protect citizens and the local economy from damage, they are looking for ways to reduce the impacts of such extreme weather events.

Regarding adaptation to climate change, they are the interface between political decisions, possible existing threats to the population and the identification and implementation of appropriate measures at the local level, together with the citizens and the various stakeholder groups and in order to enable sustainable and resilient communities.

Such measures cannot be implemented as a package of isolated measures to achieve resilience, but must be developed in a participatory process and implemented and reviewed in a processoriented manner, integrated with other measures, e.g. in the area of climate protection. Only in this way risks can be clearly identified and continuously minimised. Initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors, the European Energy Award or other initiatives in the EU member states like the European Climate Adaptation Award in Germany guide the way to such a process oriented proceeding.

Energy agencies and consultancies can accompany and support municipalities and regions in the initialisation and implementation of this implementation-oriented process, in order to complement the capacities of the municipalities and regions.

It is now important to consistently tackle transformation processes and to drive them forward together with all groups involved in order to use the last chance to save the climate and to limit the negative and dangerous consequences of climate change.