Climate change poses extreme challenges for countries, regions and cities. On the one side, the amount of CO2 that is already in the atmosphere is causing changes in the climate that is and will have a significant impact on health and infrastructure, especially in the form of an increase in extreme weather events such as prolonged heat waves and heavy rainfall. This requires appropriate adaptation measures to weaken these impacts and to protect the health of the population and minimise damage to infrastructure. On the other side, sufficient measures must be urgently taken to drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases still being released into the atmosphere on a large scale, to slow down the rise in temperature and thus to prevent catastrophic consequences for the global climate. Therefore, CO2-intensive adaptation measures should be avoided.
For instance, if more and more air-conditioning systems are installed in private homes due to increasing heat waves, or if more people move to sub-urban areas and drive longer commutes in air-conditioned cars, this can lead to climate targets being missed due to increased emissions from the production and operation of cooling equipment and increased car traffic. These aspects are not confined to heat extremes, as similar issues arise with infrastructure measures related to flooding and the conversion of agriculture to ecological production and new environmental conditions.