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How disasters linked to climate crisis have cost Germany tens of billions

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
How disasters linked to climate crisis have cost Germany tens of billions
Clouds pass over wind turbines used to generate electricity. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

Weather catastrophes triggered by climate change have cost Germany at least €80 billion since 2018, a "horrifying" official study said on Monday, as disasters grow more frequent and intense.

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The report commissioned by the economy and environment ministries estimated the impact of drought, floods and extreme heat in Germany between 2000 and 2021 was nearly €145 billion, most of it seen in recent years.

Since 2018 alone, damage to buildings and infrastructure as well as lost revenue in sectors such as forestry and farming in Europe's top economy reached over €80 billion.

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Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said the "horrifying scientific data" illustrated the "enormous damage and costs" of the climate crisis.

"The numbers sound the alarm for more prevention when it comes to the climate," she said in a statement.

"We have got to and will invest more in climate protection and adaptation to protect our people."

READ ALSO: More floods, droughts and heatwaves: How climate change will impact Germany

Economy Minister Robert Habeck, whose brief includes climate policy, said national measures would have to go hand-in-hand with accelerated global action to "keep the impact of the climate crisis at a bearable level".

The study showed accelerated effects over time, with the abnormally hot, dry summers of 2018 and 2019 and deadly floods in the Rhineland one year ago recorded as particularly devastating.

The 2018-2019 droughts were shown to have cost €34.9 billion, the floods an estimated €40.5 billion, and damage from severe storms another €5.2 billion.

However, the authors of the study said their estimates were almost certainly too low as key factors including health effects and the consequences for biodiversity were not included.

The report came as a heatwave engulfing parts of southwest Europe was expected to reach regions of Germany. Scientists blame climate change and predict more frequent and intense episodes of extreme weather.

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