07 June 2013

IIASA and Laxenburg come together for climate awareness

On 6 June, 2013, the community of Laxenburg, Austria and IIASA hosted an event to share information about Austria’s impact on climate and what people can do in their daily lives to help reduce carbon emissions.

©Gemeinde Laxenburg, Barbara Formann

©Gemeinde Laxenburg, Barbara Formann

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), located in Laxenburg, focuses on finding solutions to global problems. But yesterday’s event took a different focus, from global to local, bringing together Laxenburg residents with IIASA researchers and local policymakers who work on climate issues.

“This event was really intended to bridge the gap between global science and the practical questions about what people can do on an individual level,” says IIASA researcher Jens Borken-Kleefeld, who spoke to the crowd of around 40 people about the general science of climate change – the warming of Earth’s atmosphere caused by emissions of greenhouse gases - and Austria’s contribution to that change. Austria’s emissions are approximately 80 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq) annually, about 10 tons per person per year. That’s about average for Europe, Borken-Kleefeld says, but twice the current global average and more than 3 times a sustainable level.

Speakers at the event emphasized that individual efforts can make a difference in climate change.

Petra Schön, director of Klimabündnis Niederösterreich then explained how much small lifestyle changes, such as riding bicycles or shopping locally, can help mitigate climate change. Christian Mokricky, of Lower Austria’s Energy and Climate Agency, provided a detailed accounting of how actions to reduce emissions save money. For example, he said, by renovating a house with new insulation, or updating appliances that consume less energy. Mockricky pointed out that also changes in usage can make a big difference: washing clothes at 40°C instead of 60°C, he said, can save up to 40% of the energy use – without any extra investment.

The event also included activities for children, including an exhibit of projects by local schoolchildren. Laxenburg Mayor Robert Dienst opened the evening with an introductory speech, where he highlighted Laxenburg’s participation in the Klimabündnis Österreich, an Austrian association of communities committed to taking action on climate change. 

For information in German about the event, visit the Laxenburg Web site. For additional photos visit IIASA on Facebook.



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Last edited: 07 June 2013

CONTACT DETAILS

Jens Borken-Kleefeld

Senior Research Scholar

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

T +43(0) 2236 807 570

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313