Austrian Assessment Report

The next formal assessment of Austrias climate conditions and mitigation/adaptation strategy is scheduled for release in 2024: It is a review and assessment of published works relating to climate, climate vulnerability and solutions specific to Austria. Its a super open process, with the structure and focus of the report under discussion now. As stated on the website: The question is what questions need to be answered. I’m very encouraged by the focus on the specifics of how to decarbonize Austrian society and economy.

The last Austrian Assessment Report was released in 2014 and some of the key findings as presented in the Summary Report are:

The measurements:

  • In Austria, temperature rose by nearly 2 °C in the period since 1880, compared with a global increase of 0.85 °C. Note that the stronger temperature rise in Austria is partly due to the negative anomaly during 1870-1900 and the strong postive anomaly during the last three decades that together lead to a stronger temperature increase for Austria than on the global scale, as described on the ZAMG HISTALP website.
  • Since 1980, global temperatures rose approximately 0.5 °C, compared approximately 1 °C in Austria.
  • Over the last 150 years precipitation in the west (southeast) of Austria increased (decreased) by 10-15%.
  • In the last 130 years sunshine duration at all Alpine stations increased by about 20%.
  • Glaciers are shrinking; for example in Ötztal region the ice area of 144.2 km² in 1969 decreased to 126.6 km² in 1997 and to 116.1 km² by 2006

The future:

  • In 21st century wetter winters and drier summers are expected, with no trend in annual precipitation.
  • In mountainous regions, significant increases in landslides, mudflows, rock falls and other gravitational mass movements are expected.
  • It was noted that winter tourism would come under increasing pressure, although that seems perhaps slightly at odds to the projected increases in winter precipitation.

The actions:

  • It was pointed out that Austrian strategies at that point were inadequate to meet the commitments for a global 2°C warming limit.
  • The economically available potential of renewable resources within Austria is quantified at approximately 600 PJ. As a comparison, the current final energy consumption is 1 100 PJ per year.
  • The achievement of the 2050 targets only appears likely with a paradigm shift in the prevailing consumption and behavior patterns and in the traditional short-term oriented policies and decision-making processes.

In 2012 Austria adopted a national adaptation strategy to cope with climate change. The 2010 Energy Strategy proposed that final energy consumption in 2020 should not exceed that of 2005 (which was the highest point of Austrian greenhouse gas emissions according to World Bank data I saw online). Austria’s 2011 Green Electricity Act stipulates that renewable sources should have generated an additional 10.5 TWh (37.8 PJ) per year up to 2020, but the strategy document here seems to indicate that this was not met, but I find the document quite hard to navigate.

The European Environment Agency data explorer seems to show that:

  • 33% of Austrias gross final energy consumption is from renewable sources.
  • Since 2003 landuse switched from being a strong to a minor sink of carbon.
  • Transport and industry show currently increasing GHG emissions
  • We emit 9.22 Tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita, which is a bit more than the EU average (which is strongly skewed by high GHG emissions per capita of Luxembourg, Iceland and Estonia).

About lindsey

Environmental scientist. I am glaciologist specialising in glacier-climate interactions to better understand the climate system. The point of this is to understand how glaciated envionments might change in the future - how the glaciers will respond and what the impact on associated water resources and hazard potential will be.
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