Bundestag approves climate adaptation law

DGermany should prepare better against heat and drought, heavy rain and thunderstorms, i.e. against extreme weather events which are also occurring here more and more frequently due to climate change. For the first time, there is now a binding framework in this regard. The Bundestag passed the federal law on climate adaptation on Thursday with the votes of the traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP. However, it is not clear where the billions earmarked for the planned measures will come from. In a joint resolution, the traffic light parties demand that the federal and state governments work together to ensure sustainable financing.

According to the resolution, the Confederation has already done what was previously legally permitted and possible with individual financing measures, such as natural climate protection, to support municipalities in the area of ​​climate adaptation. But this is not enough for global prevention.

During the expert hearing, experts and representatives of municipal umbrella organizations called for a new joint task of climate adaptation to be created in the Basic Law. This would place additional financial burdens on the federal government. A two-thirds majority of the Bundestag would be required to amend the Basic Law. The Federal Environment Ministry led by Steffi Lemke (Greens) wants to discuss the issue of joint financing at the next conference with the environment ministers of the federal states to be held in Münster at the end of November and beginning of December.

The Climate Adaptation Act obliges the federal government, states and municipalities to develop concepts and strategies to better protect the population, buildings and infrastructure from extreme weather conditions and to ensure adaptation to climate change, for example in urban planning and in agriculture. However, it is not specified what exactly needs to be done to avoid or at least reduce the damage and risks caused by climate change. Besides the unclear funding, this is the main criticism leveled at the CDU and CSU faction.

The federal government’s bill was amended in some places in the Environment Committee. Especially at the initiative of the SPD, workplace safety should also be taken into account in the context of climate adaptation and specific precautions should also be taken for vulnerable groups. Countries will also have more time for their climate adaptation strategies: these will have to be available by 31 January 2027 at the latest, one year later than initially planned.

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