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Help with Decision-Making

Apr 30, 2014
Unused knowledge is useless knowledge. In a world of climate change, CIPRA guidelines show how to prepare for unpredictable scenarios.
Image caption:
Lernen von Pionieren: Die CIPRA vermittelt gute Beispiele für den Umgang mit dem Klimawandel (c) CIPRA International

The mayor of a small municipality in the Tyrol sits at his desk studying a damage schedule. He sighs quietly. The flooding in May is costing the local authority a lot of money, and the heat wave in summer caused crop failures. "Time to do something about it," he says to himself. But what?
Throughout the Alps, there are many people in this mayor's shoes. During the last century, temperatures in the Alps rose almost twice as fast as the global average. The impact of this includes heavy precipitation and parched Alpine meadows - and their associated economic, environmental and social consequences. CIPRA is responding by showing how to pre-empt such events. Intact wetlands, for example, soak up water like a sponge and thus offer protection from flooding. But today, many of these areas are seriously degraded. One simple and cost-effective restoration measure is to clear the land of trees and shrub cover so that the marshland can flourish again. The advantages are clear - the peat bogs store water and bind carbon, and valuable habitats are created for human beings, flora and fauna.
CIPRA is very experienced in collecting, processing and communicating such knowledge. Guidelines and background reports translate scientific findings into practical applications. Like mountain guides, they show the way through pathless terrain. Pioneers of sustainable development - politicians, business people and energy experts - provide background information and show how to avoid mistakes.
The CIPRA compacts, for example, provide useful information on climate change and mitigation measures in ten areas ranging from agriculture to urban planning. CIPRA guidelines prepared as part of the pan-alpine Alpstar project (see box) show how more efficient use can be made of energy and how demand can be met with the help of regional green energy. And the C3 Alps project has produced a guide containing useful tips on communicating, debating and also visualising the subject of adaptation to climate change.
With the right arguments and the help of ecologists, the Tyrolean mayor mentioned above could, for example, motivate volunteers to get out their axes and chainsaws to revitalise the local peat bog. This would be a simple way of protecting his municipality today and preparing it for the challenges of tomorrow.
Jakob Dietachmair
CIPRA International

Relaxed Commuting
With Alpstar, partners from all Alpine countries are demonstrating ways of reducing CO2 emissions in the Alps. This is contributing towards the climate action goals of the Alpine Convention. In the Alpine Rhine Valley pilot region, Vorarlberg/A, Liechtenstein and the Swiss canton of St. Gallen are motivating commuters to use sustainable methods of transport to travel to work. CIPRA International and Energieinstitut Vorarlberg are coordinating these activities on their behalf. Alpstar is financed by the EU's Regional Development Fund.

Learning to adapt to Climate Change
The C3 Alps project is closing the gap between theories of adaptation to climate change and their practical application. It is consolidating findings of earlier climate projects in the Alps and making them available to regional and national decision makers.
CIPRA International works for the Office of the Environment in Liechtenstein and the Chamber of Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria in Germany. C3 Alps is partly financed by the EU's Regional Development Fund.


Source: Annual Report 2013, CIPRA International,