Extreme weather caused by climate change could cost Germany up to 900 billion euros in cumulative economic damage by mid-century, states a report released on Monday, as Europe’s biggest economy seeks climate adaptation measures to cut the damages bill.
The study, by economic research companies Prognos and GWS and Germany’s Institute for Ecological Economic Research, comes as Berlin works on a climate adaptation strategy soon to be presented by the environment ministry.
It also comes amid controversies in the ruling coalition on how Germany could cut greenhouse emissions in challenging sectors such as transportation and construction to become carbon neutral by 2045.
Germany’s economy and environment ministries cited the study as showing that extreme heat, drought and floods could cost between 280 billion euros and 900 billion euros between 2022 and 2050, depending on the extent of global warming.
The costs include loss of agricultural products, damage or destruction of buildings and infrastructure due to heavy rain and flooding, impairment of goods transportation and impact on the health system.
The study did not account for non-financial damage such as health impairments, deaths from heat and floods and loss in biodiversity.
Climate change extreme weather events have already cost Germany at least 145 billion euros between 2000 and 2021, 80 billion of which were in the past five years only, including the 2021 floods in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, according to the economy ministry.
Possible damage costs could be reduced considerably through climate adaptation measures such as carbon-storing if climate change was only mild, the study found, adding that around 60% to 80% of costs could be spared under such measures depending on how strongly climate would change. The study did not mention how much climate adaptation measures could cost the federal and state governments.