Energy- & climate change

Final SoClimPact Stakeholder Workshop on Fehmarn

As the SoClimPact project is entering its final months, a stakeholder workshop with the title “Climate change effects on European islands” was held on September 25th, 2020 on Fehmarn island.

The workshop was attended by 10 local stakeholders, ranging from representatives of the environmental council and municipality of Fehmarn, the head of the island’s tourist service, the head of the island’s water sports association to a representative of the local farmers. Prof. Bodo Ahrens from our SoClimPact project partner organisation Goethe University Frankfurt joined our team as a keynote speaker on climate change and climate modelling to inform the stakeholders about Fehmarn’s climate prognoses for the coming years and decades.

In contrast to other islands, a rising sea level is not the most threatening prognosis for Fehmarn. What is more striking for the German island is an increase in extreme weather: Next to more days with temperatures above 25°C it is predicted that there will be more wind, and more intense rainfalls, which might lead to floods. Extreme weather on the one hand poses a risk for the existing infrastructures on Fehmarn island. On the other hand, extreme weather can become a reason for tourists to spend their holidays elsewhere, as indicated in last year’s guests survey.
The stakeholders were informed about the most recent findings of last year’s tourism surveys that were carried out across all project partner islands. Key findings at Fehmarn were the reasons not to visit the island anymore: 45% mentioned health risks as a possible reason, extreme rain was stated by 35% and storm by 20%. Furthermore, 79% of the guests indicated that they wish for less single use plastics, 55% would also appreciate the use of regional and seasonal foods to make tourism on Fehmarn more sustainable ( ).
In this context examples for climate change adaption measures were presented to the stakeholders. The presented measures included calming the traffic in Burg, the greening of rooftops and the cooling of public places. These measures were presented to give the stakeholders an overview about how municipalities can deal with extreme weather as a consequence of climate change.
Later in the workshop a stakeholder tool was used to determine relevant tourism sector adaptation pathways for the island’s future. It was developed by our Portuguese project partners at the University of Lisbon and aims at helping future decision makers to make more adequate choices and to facilitate decision-making in an uncertain climate future. The stakeholders for example needed to decide whether they would want to invest in post-disaster rehabilitation fonds or in pre-disaster rehabilitation plans. The decision had to be made for three different periods of time (until 2030, 2050 and 2100). Furthermore, participants had to go through four different scenarios, in which the attitude of the decision maker towards furthering change in the system and the willingness to invest in climate change adaption measures differed. The results that came from working through the tool have been forwarded to our project partners to be compared with all other project islands and to help develop an EU climate adaptation strategy for small islands.
Afterwards, everyone could discuss Fehmarn’s climate adaptation future in a relaxed atmosphere over a seasonal pumpkin soup. The discussion gave interesting insights and pointed out the differences and particularities of the only Baltic island in the project: Different economic structures, attitudes, and geography make Fehmarn a unique case study within the SoClimPact project and set it apart from many Mediterranean and Atlantic islands.
The discussions gave us lots of food for thought concerning Fehmarn and climate adaptation and provided us with interesting ideas for the final months of project work as well as beyond. In the coming weeks, we will conduct an online webinar with relevant stakeholders in which the newest project findings and results of the stakeholder tool analysis will be discussed. We are looking forward to another interesting event and hope that we can soon return to the island for some work.