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Austria: Protecting the glaciers
Zirl bei Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
"The glaciers are the real witnesses of climate change for me. These age-old natural wonders show climate change in a dramatic way. If the permafrost thaws, rocks will lose their grip and mountaineering will become unsafe. A livable coexistence on this planet is possible. We must opt now for climate protection."
Please introduce yourself and your community? What is your name and where do you live?
Helmut Matzka, 71, Zirl bei Innsbruck, Tyrol Austria, Mountain Guide
What is the current situation with the climate impact?
Even 50 years ago, the highest mountains in the Alps were covered with thick snow and ice and the glaciers were in some of the valleys of Tyrol, almost close enough to touch. Nature changes with the retreat of glaciers. If the glaciers melt and the ice thaws the permafrost, mountaineering will become unsafe. It's not only the Alpine region that is feeling the effects of climate change, global warming is a worldwide problem.
What is the history of the struggle? How has the situation changed?
Austria has warmed by 2 ° C, higher than the global average (+ 0.85 ° C ) increase (since 1880 ); half of this warming has occurred since 1980. At present, the weather and climate-related damage in Austria amount to about one billion euros. These costs will increase without countermeasures by mid-century to between 4.2 to 5.2 billion euros. Some climate scenarios even put the damage at up to 8.8 billion euros per year (COIN, 2015).
How did you get involved in the project?
Nature and environmental protection are close to my heart. I have spent all my life in the mountains. I want to see these natural gems preserved for my grandchildren and future generations, so I am committed to protecting the climate.