This practice-oriented research project aims to increase the ability of the Metropolitan Area Bremen-Oldenburg to deal with climate change in selected fields and to implement measures into regional planning and development processes. The Northwest German region is among the selected model regions in Germany that are supported by “Creating Climate Change-Ready Regions (KLIMZUG)”.
In nordwest2050 the method of roadmapping for climate adaptation is used and can be divided in two main components:
1. It is necessary to define the vulnerability of economic sectors for the food industry, the energy production and distribution, and the port management and logistics, evaluate chances for innovation and implement concrete measures. This activity includes e.g. resilient food plants, environmentally friendly cooling and air-conditioning technologies as well as the fitness of electricity grid. These so called sector-oriented roadmaps are focusing on innovation paths within the period of nordwest2050 until spring 2014.
2. All partners will develop a long-term roadmap of change for climate adaptation strategies for the whole Metropolitan Region Bremen-Oldenburg Northwest with the time frame of 2050. The roadmap of change is based on the experiences and results of short-term processes in specific innovation paths to define needs for structural changes until 2050.
The generalisability and the transferability of the approach should be assured through close cooperation with other projects running simultaneously in the support programme, as well as with the Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER) at the University of Maryland. Similarities in the focus sectors - logistics/port management, the food manufacturing industry and energy - along with the circumstances of the natural surroundings make such a transatlantic comparison of the two coastal regions possible. These findings also serve to provide inspiration for the shaping of future-readiness with regard to climate change in both regions.
The impact of climate change on the region and on its economy will be clarified in the first step of the nordwest2050-process within the framework of a vulnerability analysis. The vulnerability; not only within the region itself but also of the exposed export and logistics site; will be analysed, because the impacts of climate change are equally relevant along the entire length of the value added chain. It’s already possible, for example, to assume as a starting point a growing need for cooling in summer, conflicts between food production and biofuel production, and fluctuations in the stability of power supply systems – not least because of the strengthened input from off-shore wind power plants.
In a second step, the abilities of the region to manage and cope with changing conditions will be measured. The core of this interest is to analyse the potential for innovation and how to put those innovation into use. Here, we find another distinctive feature of the project methodology: it’s not simply about adaptation to expected occurrences (“What will happen if…?”) but rather about an improvement in the ability to adapt ("Whatever happens…!”). Not only the ability to adapt to climate change but also the ability of the region to learn and to compete internationally will improve greatly. Together with partners from the respective economic clusters, concrete paths of innovations will be developed and new ground broken. These target not only technical innovations at different stages of development (e.g. solar cooling systems, low exergy solutions, resilient logistics systems, adapted cultivation and processing strategies in the food industry), but also organisational and institutional innovations (e.g. management of regional climate impacts, adaptive governance, further development of mechanisms and structures of the metropolitan region in terms of accompanying the implementation of the “roadmap of change,” land use management, risk communication, capacity building). A fundamental goal of the project also focuses on the understanding and improvement of the structures and processes in the still young metropolitan region of Bremen-Oldenburg in north western Germany. Here too, developing the ability to adapt and innovate – while at the same time securing the ability to implement adaptation options – is important.
The prospect of successfully initiating and even implementing the most important processes in the region is favourable. For one thing, the particular vulnerability of the region was recognised early and valuable preliminary work has already been done. For another, the strong political and economic support for the project are a sign of the modernisation efforts that have been undertaken in the region in recent years.
Metropolitan Region Bremen-Oldenburg in the Northwest e.V.
Sustainability Center Bremen (econtur gGmbH)
University of Bremen
University of Oldenburg
University of Applied Sciences Bremen
BioConsult Schuchardt & Scholle GbR
Information materials in English:
nordwest2050 - the film
Regional Climate Scenarios: How nordwest2050 knows what the climate will be in 40 years
short+sharp No 3 (January 2011): News risks and opportunities for businesses in times of climate change
short+sharp No 4 (May 2011): Regional Vulnerability Analysis