Austria Austria

Austria continues to rank among the low-performing countries, down two notches to 37th.

In the GHG Emissions and Energy Use categories, Austria marks a low performance. In the former, it falls 12 spots from last year`s CCPI. Austria does, however, show high performance in the Renewable Energy category, while the current RE trend is rated very low. This year`s Climate Policy performance for Austria is ranked as medium.

The Austrian CCPI experts welcomed the government’s new plans on climate action: There are ambitions of reaching climate neutrality by 2040, setting of a 100% renewable electricity target for 2030, announcement of phase-out plans for oil and gas boilers, and creation of an energy efficiency law. Concrete implementation, however, is not yet in place, as the law has already been delayed 1 year. Austria does have subsidies for electric cars and investments for public transport, but big road and highway projects are still planned. The experts criticise the non-existence existence of fossil fuel phase-out plans and an announced carbon price, to be implemented in July 2022. Starting at only 30€/tonne CO2, it is well below what scientists and NGOs demand.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Klara Schenk, Jasmin Duregger, Christian Steiner (Greenpeace Österreich); Forum Wissenschaft und Umwelt; Karl Schellmann (WWF Austria).

3rd of December 2021: After finding a calculation error in the CCPI 2022, we have revised our data. This effects Austria`s ranking slightly (-1 rank).

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage. The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES. For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.