Mission Statement for the Commission Climate and Air Quality of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

(Kommission Klima und Luftqualität der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften)


Mission Statement

The Commission Climate and Air Quality of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (German acronym: KKL) provides independent scientific expertise regarding the status of the atmosphere and climate, the drivers and pressures acting on their status, and their impacts on the human population, fauna, vegetation and materials, which affect society in general. Special consideration is given to causes and consequences of climate change as well as of ambient and indoor air pollutants and human health effects. KKL follows the mission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in the awareness of its social, cultural and economic responsibility based on scientific quality. The commission consults with the scientific community, advises decision makers, and informs the civil society on important issues relating to the natural resources air and climate and their significance for human well-being, health, and ecosystem processes. It reports to the Section for Mathematics and the Natural Sciences of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.


Continued activities based on long-term experience built within the commission

Members of KKL are professional experts in a wide range of scientific fields and have been chosen for their complementary expertise. This allows a truly multidisciplinary approach to reach KKL’s goals. In the interaction of its members, KKL assesses research needs and identifies future directions of research topics.  Working groups are formed as needed to address specific topics and upcoming issues – depending on tasks, such working groups may exist for one specific activity or take over a long-term duty. KKL uses a variety of dissemination tools to promote its activities and to inform the public:

  • Seminars with invited national and international experts as speakers
  • International scientific conferences co-organized by KKL
  • Dissemination workshops for national and regional decision makers in policy and economy
  • Representation in European and international bodies and at international scientific conferences
  • Coordination of independently funded research projects
  • Fact sheets and guidance documents
  • Press conferences
  • Letters to editors and interviews in newspapers, magazines, radio/tv


Vision of future activities

The structure of the commission and the multidisciplinary background of its members allow to develop forward-looking strategies as well as quick responses to the immediate needs of decision makers and the civil society. Accordingly, KKL can react swiftly to changing priorities that are expected for 2025 and beyond. Strictly scientific approaches without compromise for short-term economical, or political needs or technical availability are the top priority for all of KKL’s actions. While KKL cannot provide immediate reaction or emergency service, it is ready to promptly recommend the steps required to address issues within its remit, if needed.

A number of specific new topics have been identified already to be pursued by KKL in the near and medium term future:

  • Climate change, impacts, and society – including economic and legal implications
  • Challenges of transforming to a low-carbon and climate-robust economy and society
  • National climate and energy strategies and their relation to air pollution issues
  • Co-benefit consideration of different issues relating to the atmosphere (air pollution, greenhouse gases, climate change) and aerosol – climate interactions
  • Elemental and material cycles using air as transport medium
  • Exposures to ambient and indoor air pollutants (fine and ultrafine particles)
  • Epidemiology of disease associated with changing urban air pollution
  • Odour and volatile organic compounds
  • Biomonitoring of air pollutants
  • Atmospheric processes and safety issues (human health, environmental effects or economic impacts)

The experts contributing to KKL actively pursue further developments of its scope. Future KKL activities will allow to more strongly take advantage of the unique Austrian opportunity of a well-equipped high-altitude monitoring site at Sonnblick (3105 m a.s.l.) and make this available as a truly European background site. KKL will further use other existing monitoring sites of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (e. g. Lunz) as well as with other institutions within (KIÖS, IGF) and beyond the Academy of Sciences (e.g., Austrian Climate Research Network CCCA, Long-Term Ecological Research Network LTER). Further existing and well equipped facilities, such as the ”roof laboratory” of the Aerosol group at the University of Vienna, will as well provide infrastructure to future activities and research projects.


Structural embedding in the Austrian Academy of Sciences

The Academy supports the activities of the volunteers contributing to the commission works via logistic support (secretariat, meeting rooms, web space). The development and production of fact sheets and brochures by KKL receives support by the Public Relations Office of the Academy, but requires also subcontracts to external staff for literature studies under the direction of the working groups. Administrative support by KKL will be extended to activities of KKL members in international scientific bodies when performed under the auspices of the commission and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

 

Kommission Klima und Luftqualität

Kontakt:

Kommission Klima und Luftqualität
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
1010 Wien
T +43 1 51581-3210
KKL(at)oeaw.ac.at

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