Judging by the German government’s own press release (from the Ministry of Environment) regarding the release of the new IPCC report, one could easily argue that it is in a state of complete confusion.
Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka see the latest IPCC report “as further proof that urgent action on climate change” and are therefore “advocating ambitious, rapid climate action in order to slow down the global increase in temperatures.”
Federal Environment Minister Hendricks commented:
Climate change is happening every day. This is why we have to do two things: firstly to combat climate change and make sure that global warming does not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, and secondly to prepare for the consequences of unavoidable climate change.”
The press release states that the government is “taking the risks very seriously” and has “already developed an adaptation strategy and an action plan“.
The press releases outlines a range of actions, “from developing early warning systems for extreme weather events to adaptation concepts for urban planning and specific changes to building legislation“. Then the press release boasts about all the money it is going to spend in “honoring international commitments like funding climate and biodiversity projects in newly industrialising and developing countries with a total of 1.4 billion euros” and allocating “more than 250 million euros for adaptation-related projects.”
If that were not enough of a waste of money, the press release also writes that German Research Minister Johanna Wanka will be using climate models to prepare regionally for the future:
In recent years we have considerably advanced the development of climate models. We will now focus on using and implementing our findings at regional level, for example to back up local investment decisions or develop targeted regional adaptation strategies. Climate and adaptation measures are particularly effective when planned regionally and implemented with scientific support.”
Unfortunately, news of the performance of the climate models have yet to reach the German government:
Germany’s Research Minister Johanna Wanka is impressed by the climate models’ performance.
The Federal Research Ministry is so impressed by the climate models that it boasts having “spent a total of 750 million euros on projects and research institutions in the areas of climate and energy in 2013 alone“.
Moreover, the press release keeps talking about adaptation measures, and makes no mention of curbing greenhouse gases.
Adapting to climate protects climate?
Federal Research Minister Wanka then states that its “KLIMZUG funding programme facilitates the testing of strategies for adaptation to climate change and related weather extremes in various regions“.
Minister of Research Johanna Wanka adds:
Education and research can make a difference in changing climate awareness worldwide. If people are successfully adapting to climate change at home, in their communities, this will make an important contribution to protecting our climate in general.”
So adaptation is climate protection? I’ve always understood it as our protection from the climate. Germany’s Ministry of Environment didn’t do itself any favors making the press release public. One would be hard pressed to find a press release that is more confused. She seems to be mixing up adaptation with mitigation.
Also the German government is pledging more money for climate research in order to close the “knowledge gaps” and for “understanding how climate change works” in a field where it is claimed everything is already understood and the science is settled. Federal Research Minister Wanka:
The report shows that there is a further need for research on climate change. Closing knowledge gaps and understanding how climate change works will help us develop more effective adaptation strategies and protect ourselves better against the effects of climate change.
On the surface the press release tells us that the German government’s plan is all about adaptation and shows no plans to knock down CO2 emissions 80% by 2050. There’s no mention of rapidly expanding renewable energies nor of scaling back fossil fuels.