— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on July 16, 2021, Friday.
Natural disasters happened quite frequently in Germany over the past few months. Preliminary estimates by the German Insurance Association show that the heavy rain and hail during a recent series of thunderstorms in June caused 1.7 billion euros in insured losses in the nation. If we add on the most recent floods, Germany's insurance industry could face the highest claims from storms, floods, heavy rain and hail since 2013 this year, according to the association.
Last year, the Geneva Association, an international organization for the insurance industry, published a report named Flood Risk Management in Germany. This report compiled the 10 floods with the most losses incurred between 1980 and 2019. Floods that happened in 2002 and 2013 caused the most damage, but the death toll of the current flood surpassed either of them.
After the two large-scale floods in 2002 and 2013, Germany has further improved its alarming and defense system against floods, and broadened the coverage of flood insurance to 34% in 2013 from 19% in 2002. However, after 2013, small-scale floods happened frequently and caused damage to the urban areas. This time, the flood came very "suddenly", which is cited as a reason for the heavy casualties.
Some German officials and experts blame climate change as the cause of this flood. They believe that climate change has increased the frequency and impact of extreme weather. Studies find that a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture - about 7 percent more per 1°C of warming. "As an industrial country, Germany is heating up twice as fast as the global warming rate," said Johannes Quass, a scholar at Leipzig University. He told the DW that it means "chances of heavy rainfall are 20% higher compared to the 19th century".
The three largest rivers in Germany are all transboundary. As river floods often impact neighboring countries along the bank, this is in fact an issue for the region. A research arm of the European Commission issued a warning earlier that if the global temperature rose by 3°C at the end of the century, river floods could affect half a million people every year with annual damage reaching 50 billion euros. That's six times higher than the current levels.
Yesterday, the EU unveiled a slew of measures to fight against climate change and global warming. Germany also passed its own Climate Action Law earlier. It's expected that both Germany and the EU will increase spending on climate in the coming years.