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Powering ahead towards carbon-neutral Alps

Apr 12, 2012
Emit no more greenhouse gases than the environment is capable of absorbing – that’s the vision the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) is advocating for sustainable climate protection. In its Annual Report it highlights ways in which the Alps could become carbon-neutral and how people might be motivated to achieve that objective.

The Report features a head administrator who wants to influence the climate and, in doing so, achieve energy savings of EUR 160 m for his home town of Bolzano. Then there are the young people who come up with ideas on how to mitigate climate change and how people could be motivated to do more for climate protection. There are also architects and developers who show other architects and developers how to build “feel-good houses” and protect the climate at the same time. In all these features CIPRA International’s 2011 Annual Report illustrates how such visions can become a reality through encounters and the exchange of knowledge and experience.

Learning across borders
The energy plan devised by Bolzano’s head administrator Helmuth Moroder should certainly be setting a precedent beyond the borders of South Tyrol – thanks to the international Alpstar project. A dozen pilot regions in the Alps are developing and trialling climate protection concepts together. The guiding vision is to “make the Alps carbon-neutral by 2050”, i.e. achieved a balanced CO2 footprint. Besides Bolzano, the Alpine Rhine Valley in the three-border region of Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland is also a pilot region. There CIPRA has been commissioned by Liechtenstein and the Canton of St. Gallen together with the Vorarlberg Energy Institute to carry out a mobility campaign aimed at motivating commuters to switch to sustainable modes of transport.

Without CIPRA Alpstar would not exist. Together with twelve partner organisations, in July 2011 it initiated the EU project that emerged from the climate action plan of the Alpine Convention. One of the partners is the Alpine Town of the Year Association, whose executive office is run by CIPRA. And as a pilot region, the Alpine Town of the Year 2011, Idrija, is now setting milestones in local climate policy.

Addressing problems at several levels
For all its activities CIPRA is able to draw on its many years of experience as a networker and trendsetter – essential qualities particularly when it comes to dealing with climate change, which affects virtually all areas of life and work. For many years now it has been highlighting what is being done in the Alps in matters of climate protection and which measures are eco-friendly; it also addresses its demands to politicians and puts forward suggestions for solutions. This interdisciplinary approach has proved its worth, also with regard to other issues such as the networking of habitats, energy-efficient construction and lots more – full details of which can be found in the CIPRA Annual Report 2011.

The Annual Report is available for download at

For all enquiries please contact:
Andreas Götz, Director CIPRA International
Phone: +41 79 651 51 19, eMail

Claire Simon, Deputy Director CIPRA International
Phone: +423 237 53 53, eMail

Barbara Wülser, PR Manager CIPRA International
Phone: +423 237 53 11, eMail