Open Source Model for Analyzing Austria’s Transition to a Low Carbon Society by 2050 – a Research Plan (ClimTrans2050)

ClimTrans2050 addresses the requirement to design and implement mitigation and adaptation measures to meet very long term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction commitments.


The project aims at developing a framework and a research plan for an open-source modelling approach for Austria by moving beyond the boundaries of current modelling practices. Emphasis will be given to functionalities for wellbeing, the interactions of stocks and flows, and the consequences for emissions. The modelling will be carried out in a dynamic setting that distinguishes between the impacts of transition measures in the investment phase and those in the operating phase. Within this common framework, operational prototype modules of the open source model will be developed. Emission paths for Austria will be embedded into those that meet the 2°C temperature target in the global context. The guiding question for this research project is: What kind of modelling framework is most suitable for assessing the long-term transformation processes needed to drastically reduce Austria’s GHG emissions? The modelling framework is meant to improve the understanding of policy options and allowing these to be analyzed and assessed. Policy options need to be compatible with emerging visions of human lifestyles and economic activities and, additionally, with limiting factors such as GHG emissions.

IIASA Research

Climate change positions all countries within a global context, irrespective of whether or not—or, indeed, how—they respond and take action. This also holds true for small countries like Austria. ASA will provide the quantified global context of a potential open source model, within which Austria’s GHG emission reduction paths will be embedded. Providing the global context is a necessary condition for modelling emission reduction paths for Austria in an open source model environment and is of high utility. Recognizing that national emission reduction efforts will not be effective in isolation, the important question is how to establish an international context. To this end the recently published IIASA Emissions-Temperature-Uncertainty (ETU) framework (Jonas et al. 2014) will be employed. It allows any country to understand its national and near-term mitigation and adaptation efforts in a globally consistent and long-term emissions-temperature context (worldwide coverage; warming range of 2–4°C). This is achieved by establishing national emission target paths which are consistently embedded globally. In this systems context cumulative emissions are constrained and globally binding but exhibit quantitative uncertainty (i.e., they can be estimated only imprecisely), and whether or not compliance with an agreed temperature target will be achieved is also uncertain. In a nutshell, the ETU framework can be used to monitor a country’s performance–that is, past as well as projected achievements—in complying with a future warming target in a quantified uncertainty-risk context.


ClimTrans2050 has been conducted in collaboration with the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO; lead), the Environment Agency Austria (UBA) and the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (WegCenter) of the University of Graz.


ClimTrans2050 has been funded by the Austrian Climate Research Programme  of Austria’s Climate and Energy Fund.

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Last edited: 18 July 2016


Matthias Jonas

Guest Senior Research Scholar Advancing Systems Analysis Program


January 2015 - April 2016

Project Website


Supplementary Materials

ETU framework dataset


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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