The impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly visible on the local level, as the Austrian Assessment Report Climate Change 2014 and the climate status report 2022 reveal. In Austria, the temperature has risen by nearly 2 degrees Celsius in the period since 1880, compared with a global average of 1.15 degrees. Thus, climate change affects Austria badly and both adaptation and mitigation are vital. Despite great efforts on state and federal levels on climate change adaptation, there is a partial lack of knowledge about climate change adaptation and concrete possibilities for action in Austrian municipalities.
The Pilot Programme „ Climate Change Adaptation Model Regions for Austria - KLAR!“ is funded by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund and offers a process-oriented approach for municipalities to raise awareness for climate change adaptation and implement concrete actions on regional level.
The concept is based on 2 phases (cf Figure 1). In a first step, regions submit a general concept to apply for the KLAR! Programme. Regions nominated for funding, develop a regional adaptation concept for their communities and regions with a minimum of 10 specific measures within the first year of the programme. In the following two years, the regions implement these adaptation measures. In the continuation phase, with a duration of three years, the regions continue and monitor with adaptation measures as well as develop and implement further adaptation measures.
Throughout all programme phases, a service platform supports the KLAR! Regions. The regions receive easy to understand regional climate information, as well as advice on adaptation actions and support to prevent maladaptation. The platform consists of experts from the Environment Agency Austria (EAA).
A total of 89 regions with more than 2 million inhabitants throughout Austria (cf. Figure 2) receive funding to develop a local adaptation concept, raise awareness and implement adaptation measures in their regions.In May 2023, 51 regions are in the concept and implementation phase. These regions develop a local adaptation concept with concrete adaptation actions and implement initial local adaptation actions. 38 regions are in the continuation phase and implement further local adaptation actions.
The KLAR!-Pilot Programme aims to:
Strengthen the implementation of the Austrian Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change at the local level
Foster a process-oriented approach comprising the dimensions adaptation, mitigation, nature conservation and the avoidance of maladaptation;
Raise awareness for climate change and climate change adaptation in regions and municipalities;
Implement findings of the Austrian climate research in practice; and
Strengthen regions and municipalities against climate change impacts and help them to exploit the benefits of climate change.