22 April 2016

2016 Climate Change Center Austria Young Scientists Award goes to IIASA Research Scholar

RISK research Scholar, Thomas Schinko, has received the 2016 Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA) Young Scientists Award for his co-authored paper looking into the operationalization of iterative climate risk management in order to exploit the synergies of climate adaptation and disaster risk management.

RISK Scholar, Thomas Schinko

RISK Scholar, Thomas Schinko

Much of the concern surrounding the impacts of climate change is related to projected shifts in intensity, duration and frequency of climate-related extremes such as floods and droughts. Despite considerable uncertainties regarding the exact contribution of anthropogenic climate change to disaster risk, rising losses from extreme events have highlighted the need to comprehensively address climate-related risk. This requires linking climate adaptation to disaster risk management, leading to what has been broadly referred to as climate risk management (CRM). While this concept has received attention in debate, important gaps remain in terms of operationalizing it.

By developing and applying a methodological approach to CRM in the decision context of sovereign risk (flooding) in Austria, Thomas Schinko and RISK colleagues Reinhard Mechler and Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler test, in an article forthcoming in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, the usefulness of CRM and based on these insights inform applications in other decision contexts.

Employing a methodological approach, which builds on multiple lines of evidence and methods, the authors find that a CRM framework is able to inform instrumental as well as reflexive and participatory debate in practice. Due to the complex interaction of social-ecological systems with climate risks, and taking into account the likelihood of future contingent climate-related fiscal liabilities increasing substantially as a result of socioeconomic developments and climate change, the need for advanced learning processes and iterative updates of CRM management plans is identified. Furthermore, the article suggests that strategies comprising a portfolio of policy measures to reduce and manage climate-related risks are particularly effective if they tailor individual instruments to the specific requirements of different risk layers.

The award ceremony for the CCCA Young Scientists Award was part of the closing plenary of the 17th Austrian Climate Day conference, which took place at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz from 7-8 April. The award is meant to give young scientists an incentive to publish their research and to reward an outstanding contribution with a prize. The annual Austrian Climate Day functions as a platform for dialogue among individuals and institutions interested in climate research, and fosters exchange between different research disciplines as well as between researchers and policy makers.

Schinko, T., Mechler, R., Hochrainer-Stigler, S. (forthcoming). A Methodological Framework to Operationalize Climate Risk Management: Managing Sovereign Climate-related Extreme Event risk in Austria. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. DOI: 10.1007/s11027-016-9713-0

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Last edited: 24 August 2016


Thomas Schinko

Research Group Leader and Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler

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

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