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Press Release from 2019-09-18 / Group

Climatologist Friederike Otto warns of an increase in heat waves

  • Discussion with KfW CEO Günther Bräunig
  • Climate dossier on KfW Stories:

The heat wave between May and August 2017 was an “absolute game changer”, said climate researcher Friederike Otto in a conversation with KfW CEO Günther Bräunig. “This made it clear that climate change had increased the likelihood of these events by several orders of magnitude. Even we were surprised.”

Friederike Otto, Acting Director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, is considered one of the founders of attribution research. This kind of research focuses on calculating correlations and probabilities: for example, the occurrence of an extreme weather event in a world with climate change is compared with its occurrence in a world without climate change. “If we find that what’s now a thirty-year event would only occur on average every three hundred years in a world without climate change, we can say that climate change has increased the likelihood tenfold and that there are clear correlations,” says Otto.

If we know where the vulnerabilities of certain countries and regions are, research can help the people who finance climate measures. Otto says: “If you want to finance measures to adapt to climate change, we can tell you when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t.”

Günther Bräunig says: “Financing structural change is our primary mission – whether driven by digitalisation or by climate change. I’m convinced that we’ll need to invest heavily in our climate over the next twenty years. The European promotional banks will play a major role in that process.” KfW is already financing new business of around EUR 75 billion a year. Of this amount, 40% per cent is for climate and environmental protection alone. “No other bank has this kind of track record,” says Bräunig.

Otto also predicts that her attribution studies could become key building blocks for future climate lawsuits. This work revolves around the extent to which a drought, flood or hurricane can be attributed to a corporate group or country.

You can read the full interview at https://www.kfw.de/stories/dossier-klimawandel.html

In addition to financing examples, the KfW dossier “Our Climate” provides an interactive CO2 world map and an animated film on the topic of the circular economy:

Read KfW Stories


Portrait von Alia Begisheva


Alia Begisheva

Chief Editor KfW Stories


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