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Climate Services in Germany: Stakeholders, Challenges and Factor of Success

Climate Services in Germany: Stakeholders, Challenges and Factor of Success
Enhancing Climate Services for Infrastructure Investments

Executive Summary

This resource was submitted by the Climate Risk Institute for theCanAdapt Climate Change Adaptation Community of Practice.

This article is an abridged version of the original text, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.

Within the German Adaptation Strategy, municipalities in Germany are given a special role in its implementation that is why they represent one of the largest target groups for Climate Services. Local climate information and services are therefore necessary for tailored adaptation measures in urban development or civil engineering projects. Since local authorities often do not have sufficient time or capacities for a scientific evaluation of climate data, a climate value chain has been established in Germany in which providers and intermediates guarantee the provision and processing of demand-oriented information and products.

In this study, the most important providers and intermediates as well as their linkages and contexts are presented (chapter 4). Whereas the DWD has the legal mandate as data provider and is strongly embedded in international and national networks of government institutions, private operators use, visualize or further process the data provided by federal authorities in Germany. Being part of the vertical climate value chain, these private engineering or planning companies offer a wide range of tailored climate products which are used by municipalities to carry out advisory activities for their citizens. These stakeholders are complemented by other actors within the institutions and administrative levels (horizontal climate value chain).

Chapter 5 gives an overview about the identified challenges of the climate value chain in Germany. A major challenge lies in disseminating Climate Services right up to the municipalities at the local level since the actual use of climate information requires a certain know-how which in most cases is not sufficiently available in the administrational level of the municipalities. Additionally, freely available data are usually just country- or region-specific and do not suffice as a data basis for local adaptation measures. Appropriate interaction between providers and users of Climate Services is not yet available in many cases in Germany and leads to communication difficulties in the selection and development of climate products. Furthermore, the landscape of providers of Climate Services does not appear transparent to many users, as many players have now established themselves on the market under the label of “Climate Service providers”.

The study also discovered success factors for an enhanced utilisation of Climate Services for adaptation planning which are completely or partly implemented in Germany (chapter 6). As it is of great relevance for municipalities to obtain context-specific and high-resolution data and information on the specific climate in order to be able to implement appropriate adaptation measures, some (private) providers already generate data and products in high spatial resolution. Quality standards, which are maintained by state providers in Germany, guarantee a certain security in the further processing and use of these data. Positives factors regarding the service dimension of Climate Services is on the one hand the facilitated access to climate information through virtual platforms, websites and apps and on the other hand the free of charge provision of climate data by the DWD that leads to an improved dissemination of climate knowledge. Face-to-face exchange at events like conferences or workshops is of great importance to many stakeholders, especially municipalities in Germany, and appears to be an efficient format for spreading knowledge about Climate Services. The explicit statutory mandate of the DWD to take care of the meteorological protection of all important infrastructures in Germany creates clear conditions for the distribution of tasks among Climate Service providers in Germany. Besides the DWD sector- and state-specific actors and institutions are particularly important in Germany and promote the usage of climate information and services.

The study gives 6 main recommendations for an enhanced provision and use of Climate Services for adaptation planning in Germany (chapter 7.1). First of all, un unconditional access to Climate Services as well as advisory for using them is to be ensured by providers and intermediates. Users must be capable to find and use the climate information they need for their adaptation planning. In order to avoid duplication of work and to guarantee the users an easy overview, the competencies of Climate Service providers have to be intelligibly divided and bundled (by mandatory or regulatory requirements) though keeping in mind that a monopoly should be avoided. Private providers of Climate Services should complement the supply of national weather services so that Climate Services can be accessed by a broad mass of users. Despite the uncertainties that come along with future climate projections, decisionmakers must learn through advisory processes how to interpret and use them in decisionmaking situations. More equal and balanced provider-user interactions can additionally ensure a development of appropriate climate products for every single local adaptation issue.

Referring to the provided success factors, lessons learned for the implementation of Climate Services in other regional contexts will be given (chapter 7.2). In order to provide a sustainable and efficient provision of Climate Services, relevant tasks and processes should be institutionalized and a climate value chain consisting of different providers and intermediates should be established. This institutionalisation should be guided by legal foundations and statutory mandates so that a smooth provision process can be ensured. Fruitful cooperations between providers as well as providers and intermediates are highly recommended. The benefit would be a common understanding and access to data, information and knowledge as well as an avoidance of unnecessary duplication. In order to get the best possible adaptation to local-specific effects of climate change, sector- or state-specific institutions must play a major role in the provision of local climate data for end users. Therefore, a strengthening of the provider-user interaction is mandatory for example by regular knowledge exchanges via virtual possibilities on websites as well as in apps or personal exchange at conferences, workshops or bilateral meetings.

Citation: Frisch, C. (2019). Climate Services in Germany: Stakeholders, Challenges and Factor of Success. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). https://climate-resilient-infrastructure.com/wp-content/uploads/2019_GIZ_CSI_Climate_Services_Germany.pdf

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