Due to a high proportion of hydropower, Austria is rated as good in the renewable energies category.

The last coal power plant

Austria landed, again behind, in 36th place behind countries such as China, India, Romania and Egypt. “Due to a high proportion of hydropower, Austria is rated as good in the renewable energies category. However, the country is rated as poor in the greenhouse gas category,” the report says. Experts are particularly critical of the lack of measures to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector. The lax climate policy goals and energy consumption are also criticized. It is also astonishing: Austria has not yet turned its back on coal power. The 35-year-old district heating plant in Mellach in Styria is the last coal-fired power plant in Austria. It is to close in 2020 after the district heating supply contract with the city of Graz expires. The Dürnrohr coal-fired power plant in Lower Austria only closed at the beginning of August. However, there are several fossil-thermal power plants that use natural gas or heating oil as energy sources.

“In energy production, for heat and electricity, more than 50 percent are still fossil fuels,” says Jasmin Duregger, climate and energy expert from Greenpeace Austria. The highest emissions occur in the steel industry, but companies such as the plastics manufacturer Borealis, the oil refinery in Schwechat and cement factories also emit large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG).

Fits to:

What will it look like in Austria if global warming is not stopped?

A problem that the Climate Protection Index reveals: From a global perspective, the phase-out from the fossil fuels coal, oil and gas is making slow progress. Greenhouse gas emissions in Austria have been increasing steadily since 2014. Since 1990 Austria has recorded an increase of 4.5 percent, whereas in the same period EU-wide emissions have fallen by an average of 23 percent. The main driver of greenhouse gas emissions in Austria is traffic. There has been an increase of 70 percent since 1990. And so far there is a lack of solutions to actually reduce emissions in this sector over the long term.

© Federal Environment Agency 2019

Expert: “There is no such thing as a national strategy”

The European Council decided in 2014 that greenhouse gas emissions in the EU must be reduced by at least 40 percent (compared to 1990) by 2030. The environmental protection organization Greenpeace calls for a 65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Austria has the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030. And according to forecasts for 2018, Austria is apparently on the right track – but only apparently:

According to the prognosis of the Federal Environment Agency, greenhouse gases were emitted in Austria in 2018 by 3.8 percent compared to the previous year.paying for a paper But the numbers do not reflect how well climate protection measures are working. Rather, a mild winter, the failure of a blast furnace of the “Voest” and the decline in electricity production in natural gas power plants are responsible for the lower emissions. “There is no national strategy for how we can achieve the emission reduction target of 36 percent by 2030, nothing by hand,” says climate expert Duregger. Concrete measures, budgets and objectives would be missing. This is exactly what the Climate Protection Index criticizes Austria. Because the current national energy and climate plan is not convincing. One

Report of the “European Climate Foundation”

has analyzed the energy and climate plans of 28 EU countries. Austria’s draft only lands in 19th place (23.5 points), far behind the leader Spain (52.4 out of 100 points). Now it is the turn of politics. The Austrian government has to revise the plan by the end of December and send it to Brussels.

Why the CO2 tax is not a “panacea”

In Austria politicians tear themselves – just in

Campaign times

– about popular topics such as climate protection. Suddenly all parties are green. According to the climate protection organization “Global 2000”, all parties are in agreement to rely on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. In addition, the Greens, Neos and Liste Jetzt are campaigning for a CO2 tax, among other things, the FPÖ advocates decarbonisation of transport in general, the SPÖ wants a reduced CO2 tax (only for Europe’s major climate offenders) and expansion of public transport (trans-European high-speed trains are intended to reduce air traffic within Europe) and the ÖVP is building on renewable energy in road transport through innovations such as hydrogen, biogenic fuels or electricity.

A study by the European NGO “Climate Action Network” (CAN) analyzed the voting behavior of the Austrian parties in the EU Parliament on the subject of “Climate change and environmental protection”. Who voted most often for a climate-friendly policy:

And how effective are the political demands? Many experts agree: the CO2 tax alone cannot be a miracle cure for the climate crisis. It is just one of many measures. On closer inspection, Sweden, which is often used as an example, does not attribute its emission reductions only to the CO2 tax. Often only the greenhouse gases emitted in the country itself are recorded, but not the imported CO2-intensive products. The economic institute (Wifo) suggests one for Austria

Tax of 120 euros per ton of CO2

(in Sweden it is currently 114 euros per tonne of CO2). The aim is to reduce emissions by around three percent by 2030. The political proposals are mostly below that, experts demand far higher numbers than those from Wifo.

For Greenpeace expert Duregger, a climate protection bonus is definitely important so that low-wage earners are not taxed. However, the measure could have an effect by directing the changed consumer behavior and production. If fewer CO2 products are manufactured, this also strengthens the regional economy.

“Hydrogen sounds too good to be true”

According to Duregger, investments in rail and local transport make sense. For example, trains are 31 times more climate-friendly than airplanes. But the demand for a switch to public transport should be treated with caution. To do this, the infrastructure would first have to be created. There are still massive gaps in Austria, especially in rural areas. The cancellation of climate-damaging subsidies, which is also often called for, makes sense, because it would free up 4.7 billion euros per year. Above all, the sales tax exemption for international flights should fall. The railways would have to pay this tax, which gives a competitive advantage for climate-damaging modes of transport.

“Hydrogen sounds too good to be true,” says the climate expert. The problem with hydrogen engines is that the energy loss is extremely high. While the energy efficiency is only 22 percent here, it is 73 percent for electric cars. There will hardly be any excess energy, so the high energy loss cannot be justified. However, e-mobility cannot be the only alternative. “Simply exchanging the old model for a new one is not enough,” says Duregger. You have to position yourself more broadly, for example with the expansion of public transport. Greenpeace supports the call for a ban on internal combustion engines (from 2030 for new registrations). If only because it can be an important driver for converting to alternatives.

Possible solutions

The Danish political scientist and author Bjørn Lomborg believes that only technological innovations can help to combat climate change. “At the moment, around 15 billion euros a year are invested in researching green technologies worldwide. I am convinced that it should be 100 billion,” Lomborg told the

“Handelsblatt”.

Lomborg puts forward a provocative thesis in his book “Cool it”: Even with a “rapid and drastic reduction in CO2 emissions, we would only be able to delay the consequences of global warming by a few years”, the book says. The money that is currently flowing into climate protection should instead be invested more effectively: “For example, in fighting epidemics or in flood protection.” That would help people better. And he said in an interview with the “Handelsblatt”: “If you prevent people from flying around the world, as Greta Thunberg demands, they will spend the money on something else. And this consumption will also cause CO2 emissions. “

What the scientist is addressing is the so-called rebound effect: If someone does something environmentally friendly and consumes more CO2 elsewhere – according to the motto: “I have green electricity and therefore don’t have to pay so much attention to saving electricity”. But that does not apply to aircraft, says Duregger. Because people would then go on vacation in the more climate-friendly train or car when there was no longer any possibility of flying. And on vacation itself, less CO2 is consumed. This does not increase the CO2 balance.

The 10 largest CO2 emitters according to the climate protection index:

Rank countries points 11.

India

62.93 22.

Brazil

59.29 25.

Mexico

56.82 27.

Germany

55.18 33.

China

49.60 38.

Indonesia

48.68 49.

Japan

40.63 52.

Russia

37.59 58.

Iran

23.94 59.

United States

18.82

A study in Copenhagen asked why citizens use bicycles so much. The result is that they are not doing it because of climate protection, but because it is the fastest and easiest way. According to Duregger, this line of thought must also be followed in Austria at the regional level.

Society needs “a transformation in the way of thinking,” says the climate expert, “but responsibility for climate protection must not only be shifted onto the citizen; political measures are also required.”

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China has overtaken Austria, at least on the subject

Climate protection.

Why is that, what consequences climate change has for Austria and what measures to reduce CO2 emissions – keyword CO2 tax – really make sense.

In Austria, the average temperatures are loud

Greenpeace report

has risen by almost two degrees Celsius since the weather records began in 1880. Worldwide, the increase is around one degree Celsius. There is a risk of drastic consequences for our ecosystem: a falling groundwater level, the immigration of foreign species or the displacement of native species and the decline in soil quality. The Austrian glaciers – drinking water reservoir and cultural asset at the same time – are already melting away. The forests are burning more and more often and numerous spruces are dying.

Read here:

The Austrian parties in the climate check before the election

Climate sinner Austria

in the

current climate protection index

Austria does poorly. The report is produced annually by the environmental organization “Germanwatch” and the Berlin New Climate Institute. 56 countries, which account for around 90 percent of global energy-related emissions, were examined. The bottom line is: no country makes its necessary contribution to limit global warming to well below 2 or better to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as in

Paris Climate Agreement

decided.

The ranking records the results of 14 indicators from a total of 4 categories, with the data referring to calculations per capita.

Index categories

  • Greenhouse gases (40% weighting)
  • Renewable energies (20% weighting)
  • Energy consumption (20% weighting)
  • Climate policy (20% weighting, assessed by experts from the respective country)

A total of 100 points could be achieved, not a single country received the rating “very good”, therefore the first 3 places in the ranking of the climate protection index are vacant.

The last coal power plant

Austria landed, again behind, in 36th place behind countries such as China, India, Romania and Egypt. “Due to a high proportion of hydropower, Austria is rated as good in the renewable energies category. However, the country is rated as poor in the greenhouse gas category,” the report says. Experts are particularly critical of the lack of measures to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector. The lax climate policy goals and energy consumption are also criticized. It is also astonishing: Austria has not yet turned its back on coal power. The 35-year-old district heating plant in Mellach in Styria is the last coal-fired power plant in Austria. It is to close in 2020 after the district heating supply contract with the city of Graz expires. The Dürnrohr coal-fired power plant in Lower Austria only closed at the beginning of August. However, there are several fossil-thermal power plants that use natural gas or heating oil as energy sources.

“In energy production, for heat and electricity, more than 50 percent are still fossil fuels,” says Jasmin Duregger, climate and energy expert from Greenpeace Austria. The highest emissions occur in the steel industry, but companies such as the plastics manufacturer Borealis, the oil refinery in Schwechat and cement factories also emit large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG).

Fits to:

What will it look like in Austria if global warming is not stopped?

A problem that the Climate Protection Index reveals: From a global perspective, the phase-out from the fossil fuels coal, oil and gas is making slow progress. Greenhouse gas emissions in Austria have been increasing steadily since 2014. Since 1990 Austria has recorded an increase of 4.5 percent, whereas in the same period EU-wide emissions have fallen by an average of 23 percent. The main driver of greenhouse gas emissions in Austria is traffic. There has been an increase of 70 percent since 1990. And so far there is a lack of solutions to actually reduce emissions in this sector over the long term.

© Federal Environment Agency 2019

Expert: “There is no such thing as a national strategy”

The European Council decided in 2014 that greenhouse gas emissions in the EU must be reduced by at least 40 percent (compared to 1990) by 2030.