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Goal of the Field of Excellence Climate Change Graz

Anthropogenic climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In order to limit the rise in temperature to well below 2 degrees - target 1.5 degrees - CO2 emissions must be reduced by at least 50 percent by 2030 and by at least 90 percent by 2050 in line with the Paris climate targets. The transformation to an almost emission-free and climate-robust economy and society requires a profound reorientation. In the Field of Excellence  Climate Change Graz over a hundred researchers are investigating climate change and the economic, production-related, social, political and legal changes that are necessary for a sustainable transformation.

The aim of  Climate Change Graz is to gain a better understanding of the uncertainties, risks and opportunities associated with climate change, particularly with regard to critical thresholds, the exceeding of which would threaten the continued existence of various systems. To this end, possible strategies for a transition to an almost emission-free and climate-robust economy and society are  investigated, which are connected with a fundamental transformation of many economic, technical, social, political and legal processes and ways of life.

The members of Climate Change deal with different areas of climate change:

 How are CO2 increase in the air and temperature rise related? What do we know about climate sensitivity and the development of the climate in the future ? What changes in the climate system have already occurred in the Earth's history and what is so unprecedented about the current situation?


What dimensions does climate change already have and how does it affect us? Which natural, economic, social and health effects are already affecting us, which are we expecting for the future? How high are the damages and how much will climate change costs us and future generations?


What paths or scenarios are there for the transformation towards an almost emission free and sustainable society and economy?


Which technical and social innovations are available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially in line with the Paris climate targets?

What role do technologies for (environmentally friendly) carbon storage, also known as "negative emission technologies", play? Can they really bind more CO2 than they generate and thus actively help to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions?


Which adaptations to a changing climate and weather situation are required and necessary? How can adequate precautions be taken in advance to mitigate expected future climate impacts?


How should global emission reduction commitments be shared between countries, and within each country? What questions of fair distribution and intergenerational justice will be raised?


  How can injustices be prevented by laws and how can they be legally enforced? Can emitting companies be sued for damages or the public sector for failure to exercise due diligence? And must compensation be paid for climate damages?



MMag. Dr.phil.

Harald Stelzer

Research Manager

Research Management & -services
Elisabethstraße 27/II
A- 8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 1295

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.rer.nat.

Gottfried Kirchengast


Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change
Brandhofgasse 5/I
A-8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 8431

Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil.

Lukas Meyer


Institute of Philosophy
Attemsgasse 25/II
A-8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2300

Assoz. Prof. Mag. Dr.rer.soc.oec.

Birgit Bednar-Friedl


Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre

Phone:+43 316 380 - 7107, 8446

Univ.-Prof. Dr.

Bettina Weber


Institut für Biologie

Phone:+43 316 380 - 5694

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