Environmental Impact of Climate Adaptation

Not only the climate change itself, but also the expected adaptation measures from different areas of society may interfere with nature and the landscape. In addition to the strategically planned, large-scale adaptation measures, the unplanned, decentralised adaptation measures with potentially cumulative effects have to be considered. A well-known example is widespread water withdrawal for snow cannons in tourist mountain regions.

Prof. Karsten Runge conducted a workshop about these issues for the University of Lüneburg as part of the research project KLIMZUG NORD funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), where specific considerations were developed and specified. This raises the question of whether and to what extent unintended and undesirable side effects and consequences of climate change adaptation measures can be collected and recorded in the different instruments of environmental impact assessment (especially SEA, EIA and impact regulation).

Various approaches have been developed in the project. Among other things it is recommended to not only take informed scenarios of regional climate development as a basis, but also to include scenarios of anticipated environmental land use changes, given the long-term aspect of adaptation measures in the context of environmental audits. It is expected that reports which go beyond the scope of an individual, project-specific environmental assessment are required.