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The challenge of climate change – offering the best possible protection for the climate and mankind with robust and harmonised measures

Climate change presents the regions with specific challenges and opportunities (e.g. bio-energy, relatively cool climate, etc.). In the meantime we can also make use of regional climate scenarios. Taking the Murau district in Styria as an example, this project is designed to create a harmonising process in which local experts can develop co-ordinated strategies that are as robust as possible.

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Fields: Spatial planning, Forestry, Agriculture and Tourism
Location: Murau district (Upper Styria), Austria
Start: 01.08.2007
Project period: 2 years
Contact: Philipp Späth (IFZ) and Josef Bärnthaler, Energieagentur Obersteiermark (for 'Energievision Murau')

Herausforderung Klimawandel

Objectives

With today’s regional development institutions confronted by wholly new challenges resulting from climate change (uncertainty, interactions, etc), we must first develop the optimum process for co-ordinating integrated activity portfolios (most effective and efficient adaptation possible plus climate protection). This requires intersectoral co-ordination and verification of the robustness of the various measures for different scenarios (relating to climate and societal development). The project serves to experiment with these factors and with six measure planning principles in order to develop a model that can be used by other regions.

Objectives:
a) Triggering a fruitful discussion among experts and the people of Murau to identify effective and efficient responses to the dangers and the best ways to benefit from the opportunities
b) Introducing to the international debate a transferable model for such regional discussion processes.

Activities

In the Murau region, workshops are being held at which regional stakeholders can develop joint strategies for adjustment to the expected effects of climate change for a time horizon of 2041-2050.
The point of departure for the process is a set of specific regional climate scenarios based on a regionalised climate model for the Alps.
The first step was to study international examples of regional processes for their transferability (SEERA, AMICA, etc).
Together with the responsible local experts, a process of sectoral and intersectoral co-ordination is being developed in Murau on the basis of various scenarios (portfolio of robust measures).
The process will then be implemented by the regional experts with the support of representatives of various disciplines (regional planning, climate modelling, political science, etc).
The transferability of the findings will be made the subject of a critical review by international experts.

Results (CO2 savings)

After less than half the project period and one first stakeholder workshop in Murau, the following findings are beginning to emerge:
A well anchored and recognised institution of major importance is essential in order to identify and recruit relevant, competent and suitable actors and thus ensure a participatory process that is as broad-based as possible.
The scientific inputs (climate scenarios) must be of the highest quality and must be communicated with the greatest care (handling uncertainty, degree of detail, etc.) as they relate to stakeholders’ existential interests (tourism, power generation, agriculture, etc). A framework of trust must first be created for a frank debate.
The choice of participants in the various discussion sessions (with different agendas, communication requirements, etc.) and also the chairpersons requires careful consideration and familiarity with the potential participants.

Organisation

IFZ is a competence centre for questions of socially and environmentally friendly technology design and social learning processes. The objective at IFZ is to research the interrelationships between science, knowledge and society so as to develop new approaches to the societal response to technology and climate change.

Main focus:
- Ecological product policy
- Energy und climate