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Climate Change in the European Alps

Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards Management

Climate Change in the European Alps by OECD Publishing
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Edited by Shardul Agrawala

Climate change poses a serious challenge to social and economic development in all countries. While international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are essential, adaptation to the impacts of climate change must also be integrated into sectoral and economic policies worldwide. This volume examines the implications of climate change for the economies in the European Alps. It focuses on adaptation measures to address two key vulnerabilities: increasing losses in winter tourism due to reduced snow cover, and increased exposure of settlements and infrastructure to natural hazards.

Climate Change in the European Alps: Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards Management is the product of a two year study by the OECD Environment Directorate. The volume presents the first systematic cross-country analysis of snow-reliability of Alpine ski areas under climate change for five countries in the region: France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany. It examines the implications of climate change for a range of natural hazards prevalent in the Alps, with a particular focus on frameworks and financial mechanisms to manage natural hazards in three countries: France, Switzerland and Austria. Technological and behavioural adaptation measures, together with institutional structures and risk transfer mechanisms, are also reviewed.

The implications of this assessment extend beyond the European Alps to other mountain systems which may face similar climate and contextual challenges, for example in North America, Australia and New Zealand.  The case of the European Alps, with its high adaptive capacity, provides examples of good practices which are valuable not only for other developed country contexts, but for developing countries as well.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; January 2007
130 pages; ISBN 9789264031692
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Title: Climate Change in the European Alps
Author: OECD Publishing