COIN: Assessing Costs of Climate Change in Austria

The core objective of COIN (Cost of Inaction) is to assess costs of climate change for public and private budgets in Austria (i.e. damage costs with presently agreed mitigation measures but without adaptation measures) and to scope out information where full assessment is not yet possible.

Flooded street. ID: 151380005 © Dariush M | Shutterstock

Flooded street. ID: 151380005 © Dariush M | Shutterstock

Climate change impact analysis is available in Austria for different thematic areas at very different levels of maturity. Thus, for COIN, a consistent framework will be developed and applied across the various thematic areas.

Application of the outcomes of COIN will encounter some limitations, partly because of a lack of maturity in some areas and partly because of time and budget restrictions. All fields of activity/sectors of the Austrian national adaptation strategy will be explored by recognized experts. Climate scenarios will be interpreted according to each sector’s special needs for specific climate parameters and indices. Instead of delivering a grand total of costs for all sectors with a top‐down assessment from a few average climate triggers, the project will apply a broad bottom‐up approach acknowledging sector specific risks and trends. Cross‐sectoral plausibility checks will allow a realistic total range of costs of climate change without adaptation.

IIASA focus

IIASA will focus on catastrophe management. The focus is mostly on floods and drought (the latter overlapping with heat waves). Special attention will be given to Austria’s natural disaster fund. This “sector” is essentially crosscutting, with cost inputs being derived from the agricultural, water, and other sectors. Catastrophe management is also considered as a policy instrument.

Even without future changes in climate, there is a marked adaptation deficit in managing the impacts from disasters, with 95% of all funds related to managing extremes going to reconstruction, recovery, and relief, and only 5% into risk prevention (which is usually also considered as adaptation). The cost to the public sector incurred through inadequate reduction of impacts and losses before they occur will be considered as a cost of inaction.

Disasters are part of natural variability and the different damage costs will be studied, including the identification of cost-relevant climate sensitivities, drivers, estimation of scenarios, application of cost-assessment tools (cost of damage, cost of reconstruction).

Upcoming publication

Prettenthaler, F., Kortschak, D., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., Mechler, R., and Mollay U. (2014). Cost of Inaction: Assessing Costs of Climate Change for Austria: Catastrophe Management Approaches. In Prettenthaler et al. (2014) Cost of Inaction for Austria, Springer (Forthcoming)

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Last edited: 27 October 2015


Reinhard Mechler

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


01.01.2014 - 30.03.2014

Project web page

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313