Regional Perspectives Concerning Climate Change and Coastal Adaptation
The German Bundesländer Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern both lie on the Baltic Sea coast. However, they have a different history, as the former was part of the Federal Republic of Germany, while the latter belonged to the German Democratic Republic. This has led to different attitudes towards a) climate change adaptation and b) the way in which local communities and industries shape their climate change adaptation measures. While there are a lot of similarities, Doris Knoblauch and Dr. Nico Stelljes, both Fellows at the Ecologic Institute suggest in their article that there are cultural settings which influence the perception of climate change and, as a result, the proposed adaptation measures in the two states.
The authors state that coastal societies are characterised by a certain culture. This culture includes on the one hand benefits, the sea provides for inhabitants of coastal regions (such as tourism), but on the other hand challenges, the sea poses to the inhabitants (e.g. storms). Perceived climate change effects belong to these challenges.
The article is based on insights the authors gained through various interviews conducted for the RADOST project. In comparison, more climate change effects were generally mentioned in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. There were also differences in the perceived effects of high winds, the increase in core temperature, summer droughts, torrential rains, erosion, and poor water quality. The authors analyse those effects and protective measures in detail. As perceptions and predictions do not match, cultural settings seem to shape the perception of effects: For instance, the stronger risk perception of high winds in Schleswig-Holstein might be explained by the facts that a higher level of economic value is at risk of being damaged, and that these values are more highly regarded and protected in Schleswig-Holstein than in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Furthermore, the article explains that both states strongly focus on coastal protection. Therefore, it suggests that more measures to adapt to high winds as well as heat waves and droughts should be taken.