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NetZero2040: developing model supported scenarios towards climate neutrality in Austria by 2040

Project Leader
Schmidt Johannes, Project Leader
Austrian Climate Research Programme (ACRP)
Type of Research
Applied Research
BOKU Research Units
Institute for Sustainable Economic Development
Funded by
Klima- und Energiefonds, Leopold-Ungar-Platz 2 / Stiege 1 / 4.OG / Top 142, 1190 Wien, Austria
Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC SR1.5). Further, GHG emissions must reach net-zero around the middle of the century. Accordingly, Austria is committed to achieving “climate neutrality” by 2040 (Regierungsprogramm, 2020). While IPCC SR15 provides global scenarios towards this goal, national pathways consistent with this goal are far less understood.

Existing climate and energy scenarios for Austria are largely aiming to evaluate current or proposed additional policies (BMNT,. 2019; Krutzler et al., 2017, 2016), represent narrow stakeholder interests (Krutzler et al., 2016; Veigl, 2017, Windsperger, 2018) or focus on specific sectors (Geyer, 2019; Windsperger, 2018). Therefore, these scenario analyses do not provide the comprehensive, balanced picture that is necessary to develop and assess potential alternative pathways towards climate neutrality. Moreover, existing scenarios for Austria were developed by a relatively small panel of experts without broader stakeholder involvementengagement. Finally, existing scenarios are frequently missing a detailed representation of the increasingly relevant power sector and generally target climate neutrality not before 2050.

The NetZero2040 project seeks to close these gaps and aims to establish the first set of comprehensive and consistent alternative pathways for achieving climate neutrality in Austria by 2040. As these scenarios should support a broader societal discussion, we complement quantitative modelling efforts with a broad, structured, iterative stakeholder process that informs scenario generation and evaluates modelling results. The central objective of our research project is therefore the design and execution of a scenario generation development process, which

-is a co-production between the modelling team and stakeholders to increase legitimacy, facilitate acceptance of final scenarios and allow their use as guiding principles within the stakeholders’ organizations

-interprets the resulting pathways along several dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to identify synergies and trade-offs with other societal priorities

-creates comprehensive and consistent pathways towards a climate neutral Austria through an iterative process between stakeholders and modellers

-ensures techno-economic consistency by the application of an integrated modelling framework for the energy system, with a particular focus on power systems

-covers a broad range of potential future developments and derives feasible mitigation pathways under these assumptions, ensuring diversity of results
Energy research;
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