A conference on climate change adaptability is being held in Innsbruck this week, hosted by alpS, the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Science. One of the things they will have to talk about is the more pronounced changes in the alpine regions regarding immediate matters like tourism.
“Climate change is affecting mountainous regions more quickly and more intensively than in other areas”, says Eric Veuilliet, the managing director of alpS, “while the average global temperature rise in the last decades has been 0.8 degrees, it’s risen 2 – 2.2 degrees in the Tyrolean Alps.”
This is a massive threat to the Tyrol’s winter tourism industry, “an enormously important pillar of local business. ” Snow cannons only help so much, and it has to be cold enough for the snow to sick. Also, snow cannons use up a lot of water and energy that could better be used elsewhere.
Discussion topics will center on the impact of climate change on business, resources, society and culture. But the conference isn’t all doom and gloom, apparently. Axel Borsdorf of the Austrian Academy of Science: “One shouldn’t view climate change only as a danger, rather, one needs to also look at the possibilities offered, for example longer vegetation periods.”
The province of Tyrol and the city of Lienz (in East Tyrol) have been commended by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) for their participation in the Making Cities Resilient program.
This is happening at a perfect time. We are in a warm, dry spell here, there’s hardly a speck of snow to be seen up on the mountaintops. All of the area ski slopes have had to push their opening dates back into December. The spin is all optimistic so far (it’s surely not the first mild November). I admit to enjoying the warm autumn, even as I feel a twinge of guilt about liking it. So it’s reassuring to see that experts are convening in order to try to find ways to make the best of this.
Many people may still view skiing as one of those elitist sports for rich people, but here in the Alps it really is part of the culture, and kids learn to ski on the local slopes. However, if those slopes cannot maintain snow through the winter, then only the higher resorts, further away from towns, will be able to remain open, and then it really will be only the rich who ski. Change is coming, one way or another.
Image and a thorough break-down of the impact of climate change in the Alps (English version) here.
Article in German here.