Protecting the climate

Beach in the town of Elmina in Ghana

Background: Protecting the climate – Time to act

The analysis is clear and now generally accepted: climate change is largely anthropogenic in nature. It can only be kept within manageable limits if we consistently reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The IPCC still believes that we can limit the global temperature rise to two degrees, but if we are to do so we will need a radical technological, economic and institutional– a transformational change. more

Energy and climate

To date the lion's share of harmful greenhouse gases is generated by the combustion of fossil fuels; in transport, power generation or to provide industrial and domestic heating. In the long term, only a shift to low-carbon energy systems worldwide can slow global warming caused by climate change. more

Cities and climate

In the mid-1990s only one person in three lived in a town or a city. Today urban centres are home to half of the world's population, and by 2050 more than two-thirds of humanity are expected to live in an urban setting. Even in Africa, the majority of people will be town- and city-dwellers. There can be no doubt that this is the age of the city. But towns and cities drive global warming. At present they are already responsible for about 70 per cent of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions; without a radical change of course, these figures are set to rise further. more

Water and climate

Climate change is reflected primarily in extremes of water: water falls as torrential rain or unaccustomed aridity occurs. Swelling rivers flood or groundwater levels sink. All in all, according to UN figures, by 2025 about 1.8 billion people will live in countries facing absolute water scarcity, with all this entails for their lives, for agriculture and for world food supply. more

Agriculture and climate

Agriculture and climate change are connected in two ways. Firstly, rural areas are particularly susceptible to climate change: when water becomes scarce, devastating rainfalls occur or crops fail to flourish in changing climatic conditions, harvests and yields are directly impacted. Secondly, agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, partly by clearing forests for cropland, thus releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. more

Forests and climate

Forests are the true treasure-troves of the natural world. They provide food, water, construction and raw materials, fuel, medicinal plants and a habitat for millions of people. They are also home to about 75 per cent of known animal and plant species. The 'lungs of the world', as forests are sometimes known, produce oxygen and function as carbon sinks binding carbon dioxide, and thus have a critical influence on the global climate. They store water and help regulate temperature and rainfall. Put in a nutshell, forests are indispensable for the survival of the human race. more

Climate risk management

Extreme weather events are responsible for immense damage, and this is a problem that is becoming increasingly acute as a result of climate change. A quick glance at the recent past is enough to give an indication of the scale of damage we can expect to see. The IPCC quotes estimates that global loss and damage caused by extreme weather events including hurricanes and flooding have been of the order of up to 200 billion US dollars a year since 1980. This figure does not include the loss of human lives and cultural assets, which are not directly measurable. more

Financing climate action

Climate change is already posing a threat to the development of the world's poorest countries and will be making it far more difficult to achieve progress in the future. Climate action and development policy are thus inextricably linked. Assistance for developing and emerging economies in financing measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation is an important part of Germany's development cooperation. The number and volume of German development projects in this field is growing constantly. Germany has significantly increased its contribution to international climate change mitigation and adaptation in recent years. more

Further information

The following list is a selection of links to documents und websites containing further information on the topic of combating climate change through development cooperation. more

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