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Climate change mitigation and adaptation to climate change

Two green buildings against a blue sky

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Germany has joined the international community in setting clear targets in order to limit global heating and accelerate adaptation to the impacts that are already being felt.

Impacts from climate change are already very real. Global heating is driving extreme weather systems, droughts and flooding, with its wide-ranging consequences threatening ecosystems and the basis of existence for both animals and humans.

This results in two major challenges. On the one hand, greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically curtailed to achieve the goal of climate neutrality. On the other hand, governments, economies and societies must work to adapt to the impacts of global heating, since the changes already set in motion can no longer be reversed – their impacts can be merely contained and constrained.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change must therefore become accepted practice: in policy-making, in businesses and organisations, cities and communities, private households, clubs and leisure facilities. The Federal Government provides support with funding programmes and financial aid, aiming to make it easier to invest in climate change mitigation and so help to achieve its climate targets.

A mediator between policy, business and society

ZUG manages funding programmes and initiatives, and acts as a mediator between policy, business and society by linking up sponsors with the groups who are implementing local climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. ZUG provides information about funding options, advises applicants and implementing organisations, reviews project proposals and offers, ensures that funds are being used as intended, supports companies in identifying decarbonisation solutions, networks stakeholders, and develops new ideas for climate change mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.     

The projects funded are as diverse as the groups of individuals to whom support is provided: in developing and emerging countries, for example, experts from ZUG provide advice on sustainable agricultural methods or the conservation of biodiversity. City councils create additional green spaces, install solar panel systems or invest in climate-friendly transport solutions. Companies decarbonise their production and make the switch to green hydrogen. Schools, day nurseries and retirement homes prepare to adapt to the impacts of extreme weather events such as heat or heavy rain – to name just two of many examples.

More funding, many initiatives

In recent years, the funds available for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures have been significantly increased – especially at national level. Currently, ZUG supports a range of projects and initiatives in the following areas:

Since 2008, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) is one of the Federal Government’s most significant funding instruments for global climate action and biodiversity conservation. Since 2018, ZUG has operated the IKI Office and supported the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), and the Federal Foreign Office (AA) as a project management agency. In January 2022, ZUG also became the project sponsor for the National Climate Initiative (NKI).

Since 2019, ZUG has operated the Competence Centre on Climate Change Mitigation in Energy-Intensive Industries (KEI) in Cottbus. The KEI provides funding and advice for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to firms in energy-intensive industries in Germany. The Centre’s work focuses on producers of basic materials such as steel, chemicals, cement, lime and non-ferrous metals, as well as other relevant parts of energy-intensive industries with process-related emissions.

The Federal Cabinet adopted the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change in 2008. On behalf of the BMUV, ZUG manages the corresponding funding programmes Measures for Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change (DAS) and Climate Adaptation in Social Services (AnPaSo).

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