The increase in extreme weather events as a result of climate change could cost Germany nearly €1,000 billion by 2050, according to a study commissioned by the German government and published on Monday.
The effects of climate change, such as floods or heat waves, could lead to €910 billion in expenditure for Europe’s largest economy if no adaptation measures are taken, according to the report.
This figure is only a “low estimate” of the possible impact, the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate added, because the analytical model used for the study could not take into account all possible implications of climate change.
Actual cost could be higher
For example, additional deaths, degradation of quality of life and the extinction of many species of animals and plants were not included “despite their overriding importance”, the ministry said.
The actual cost of climate change is therefore expected to be “significantly higher” than the study’s estimates.
In the case of weak climate change, the costs would amount to €280 billion, if no adaptation measures are taken in the face of rising temperatures.
The measures envisaged by the report range from the development of climate-resilient plant varieties to better irrigation systems and investment in public research. Together, they could “fully” offset the costs of weak climate change and mitigate up to 60% of the most severe scenario.
Climate events cost Germany €145 billion from 2000 to 2021
The study highlights the need for an “ambitious” climate policy now to spare future generations a burden, German State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Stefan Wenzel said in a statement.
According to the report, Germany has already borne €145 billion in climate-related expenditure between 2000 and 2021, more than half of it since 2018.
In 2021, historic floods hit the country, causing €40 billion in damage according to the study. Such events could “occur with increasing frequency” and, “by mid-century”, Germany could incur similar costs “every year,” according to the ministry.