Assessing user needs for climate adaptation services. How empirical evidence leads to a webportal and network for adaptation services

18:00 Tuesday 28 May




Kirsten Sander (Germany) 1; Esther Hoffmann (Germany) 2; Johannes Rupp (Germany) 2

1 - German Environment Agency; 2 - Institute for Ecological Economy Research

Climate data, vulnerability maps, guidelines, decision-support tools and knowledge portals for climate adaptation are manifold out there. However, little is known about the real usage intensity and if so, it is determined as rather low. Thus, the objective of this research was to characterize the demand for so called climate adaptation services in Germany. Moreover, the research should indicate how state authorities could improve the landscape of adaptation services in order to reach users better and to motivate them to use adaptation services. Climate adaptation services mean those climate services that support actors to take decisions, plan and act while considering the impacts of climate change.

The empirical research included qualitative and quantitative methods and was complemented by a literature review. We realized two online surveys in 2016 and 2018 with overall 972 participants from administration, business, research and civil society. Moreover, we conducted 55 qualitative expert interviews. Both formats addressed the professional context, experience with climate adaptation, awareness and usage of climate adaptation services, further needs for adaptation services and favored communication tools. The interviews addressed additionally the obstacles for applying climate adaptation services and ideas for a user-provider-network.

It became evident, that even though 82% of the respondents are dealing with climate adaptation in their work routine, only one third knows exemplarily presented climate adaptation services. Only 10% of respondents have actually used adaptation services. Respondents explain that they do not use adaptation services because these are difficult to find, not sufficiently specific and of unclear quality. At the same time, demand is high: about half of the respondents need additional adaptation services for assessing risks and for planning, assessing and implementing adaptation measures. The research also shows sectoral differences, e.g. actors from spatial planning and civil protection know significantly more services than actors from the industrial and finance sector.

We draw three main conclusions: the landscape of adaptation services should be clearly structured to ensure that users find services based on sectoral needs and adaptation activities. A quality control for selected adaptation services can ensure reliability. State authorities should strengthen the awareness for and applicability of services by sectoral and cross-sectoral communication, fostering learning and exchange formats that go beyond information provision.

We will show how we used the research results for developing the meta webportal KLiVO (German climate preparedness portal, and for facilitating a dialog within the user-provider network KlimAdapt.