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Effective and timely implementation of climate change mitigation measures should be on the top of the political agenda. Meanwhile, this appears to be more and more accepted and is receiving ever broader consensus, not only within the scientific community. However, climate change is already taking place. Even the most optimistic GHG-reduction scenarios show significant climate change impacts that will adversely affect our societies, economic activities, infrastructure and technological systems. Current efforts to initiate climate adaptation strategies reflect the urgency of this issue from regional, to national, European and global scale.
The core objective of this project is to identify the possible impacts of climate change on the energy sector in Austria up to 2050 and beyond and to derive priority measures for adapting the energy system to climate change.
The project focuses on three fields of the energy system that will be most affected:
The methodological approach of this project included the following steps:
The analysis of the climate sensitivity of the hydropower potential and its impact on the electricity sector results in a reduced hydropower generation until 2050 between 1.1 and 4.8 TWhel compared to the reference scenario without any climate impacts. Moreover, hydropower generation to some extent shifts from summer to winter. Only in the B1 scenario, which results in a 100% renewable electricity supply in Austria, the vulnerability towards climate change is reduced, hand in hand with a simultaneously lower climate change signal. The analysis of climate-sensitive bioenergy potentials from forestry in different regions show contrary tendencies: in higher regions, there is an increased growth due to extended vegetation periods; in lower regions drought can lead to reduced biomass production. In the space-heating and hot-water sector, huge efficiency improvements could be achieved until the mid of this century (almost a 60% reduction of final energy demand in the reference case). Climate change results in an additional reduction between 3% and 6% (depending on the climate change scenario). In contrary, cooling and air conditioning of buildings could increase a lot: the maximum scenario (high diffusion of air conditioning, A2 climate scenario) leads to a vigorous increase of electricity demand for space cooling to about 10 TWhel by 2050. However, other scenarios show that this demand could be strongly reduced by corresponding measures.
17 adaptation measures were identified and described. Based on a stakeholder discussion process we developed a catalogue of evaluation criteria and applied it to the adaptation measures. By this analysis we identified those measures with a simultaneously positive environmental impact, high relevance, robustness and climate change mitigation effect. The study shows that there is a high potential for simultaneous climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in the energy sector. The long lead times require a fast implementation of measures.
It’s in the nature of this complex, highly interlinked and new research area that a lot of research questions remain open, e.g. with respect to the evaluation of extreme events and uncertainty. There is a high urgency to carry out corresponding further analyses and integrate the results in the development of adaptation strategy processes.
last update downloads: 2011-06-25