Volume 3 Chapter 6: Transformation paths

Mechler R, Rezai A, & Mehdi B (2014). Volume 3 Chapter 6: Transformation paths. In: Austrian Assessment Report 2014 (AAR14). Eds. (APCC), Austrian Panel on Climate Change, Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. DOI:10.1553/aar14s1025.

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Abstract

There is little doubt that the currently observed patterns of climate change are predominantly caused by human activity (Volume 1, Chapter 1). This chapter addresses the challenge of stabilizing climate change at 2 degrees C and particularly focuses on the questions which mitigation and adaptation measures in Austria can contribute to achieve this goal. Additionally, a number of desirable co-benefits pertaining to socio-ecological transformation leading towards limiting climate change are analysed.

In the Copenhagen Accord (UNFCC) and in the EU-Ruling, a goal of limiting the rise of global average temperature to +2 degrees C compared to pre-industrial times has been deemed as necessary to limit dangerous anthropogenic climate change impacts, despite calls from scientists to consider a +1.5 degrees C target. It is an internationally accepted target supported by a broad number of supporters, including industrialized and developing countries as well as non-state actors. Without actions towards reducing emissions, significant negative impacts on the socio-economic conditions in Austria can be expected. This derives an important obligation to undertake necessary mitigation measures in Austria.

Mitigation and adaptation measures are necessary, but by themselves provide insufficient conditions for sustainable development. Achievement of the 2 degrees C target requires a focus on climate friendly technologies, as well as behavioural - and institutional change. In particular, the activities of energy provision and consumption, industrial processes and agriculture deserve attention: in 2012, the energy sector activities caused 74.6% of GHG emissions (with one third originating from road transport), industrial processes caused 13.6%, and agriculture triggered 9.4% of emissions, (excluding emission effects of forest cover expansion, cf. Anderl et al., 2014). The corresponding figures for 2010 are: energy sector 75.9%, industrial processes: 12.7%, agriculture: 8.8% (Anderl et al., 2014). To stabilize the climate, the climate impact criteria have to be integrated in all decisions regarding investment, production, politics and consumption, in order to reduce the risk of irreversible changes. At the same time, the social- and economic framing conditions must be respected. Measures to address climate change have to be integrated into the broader criteria of sustainability.

Discussions of climate protection measures are typically reduced to additional costs and undesirable changes. Thereby the manifold potential co-benefits of such measures, for example with respect to quality of life, health, employment, rural development, environmental protection, security of supply, and international trade balances are mostly ignored. Integrating these criteria and effects into the analysis is required for being able to display the full spectrum of options for addressing climate change.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Bibliographic Reference: In: Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC); Austrian Assessment Report 2014 (AAR14); Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna, Austria pp.1025-1076
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:51
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2016 09:49
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11085

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