Climate adaptation

Alessio Sogetti on Unsplash

Adapting to climate change

Climate-related changes to the environment are already noticeable today. Measures for adaptation are becoming more urgent. This calls for a considered approach in the areas of environment, economy and society. In a climate adaptation strategy, natural cycles are strengthened and technical as well as behavioral measures are pursued with the aim of ensuring a controlled transition to meet the challenges of the future. We create climate adaptation strategies and concepts that are adapted to your individual starting position.

Typical climate change impacts are already visible and tangible today, with implications for our health, agriculture, transport and energy production. For example: extreme heat and drought, shifts in vegetation periods, heavy rainfall/flooding, high/low water in inland waterways, damage to road surfaces and railways, limited cooling water extraction from watercourses.

 

A successful climate adaptation strategy is characterized by different overlapping sub-areas and combines the area of tension in the “sustainability triangle”. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions; each situation must be assessed individually together with all those affected and taking local conditions into account. The focus is on both operational and concrete practical approaches.

 

The following measures can be reflected in a climate adaptation strategy:

“Green” measures refer to the creation of climate-adapted gardens, parks, greened courtyards/street sides, the management of contiguous green and open spaces, or green roofs and facades. This prevents a large amount of solar radiation from being converted into heat. Evaporation and shading create cold air production areas, which additionally allow infiltration during heavy rainfall or filter pollutants and fine dust from the air.

 

The “blue” measures include the creation of ponds, the renaturation of watercourses or the creation of floodplains (retention areas). In this way, flood events can be mitigated and the microclimate improved.

 

“Gray” measures relate to infrastructure or construction policies. These for example include the construction of dikes and dams to protect densely built-up areas and the review of wastewater management regarding future flood events. Assessments of future energy consumption are also included. This concerns measures regarding alternative approaches to cooling systems and a considered arrangement of building components. The goal is to use cooling systems to prevent additional heating of the urban climate and to estimate the resulting energy demand in an early planning stage. A roofed arrangement of urban elements can also help to ensure that thermal winds contribute to cooling.

 

Last but not least, “soft” measures promote participation and sharing of information among all stakeholders. A climate strategy is only successful if it is supported by those affected. Incentives for adaptation can also be set among stakeholders. These can be, for example, discounted insurance offers, tax incentives or specifications in planning. An example of this type of measure is a reduction in construction fees for homeowners who install green roofs.

 

Finally, the goal of the measures addressed is to predict today what climate-related challenges may arise in the future. In this context, an investment made today can prevent major damage and expensive follow-up costs in the future.

 

Intep supports the public and private sector with concepts and strategies for timely adaptation to climate change. Our broad-based and interdisciplinary team of experts for this offer a comprehensive range of competencies to tackle this cross-thematic task and can draw on diverse experience in various fields.