Proposal for a consulting commission Climate and Air Quality of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

(Kommission Klima und Luftqualität der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften)

Mission Statement

The consulting commission Climate and Air Quality (German acronym: KL) provides independent scientific expertise regarding the status of the atmosphere, the drivers and pressures acting on this status, and its impacts on climate, the population, vegetation and materials, which affect society in general. Special consideration is given to source apportionment of ambient and indoor pollutants and human health effects. KL 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 resource air and its significance for human well being and health, ecosystem processes, and climate. It reports to the Section for Mathematics and the Natural Sciences of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Activities to be continued from the preceding “Clean Air Commission”
Members are professional experts in a wide range of scientific fields and are chosen for their complementary expertise. This allows a truly multidisciplinary approach to reach KL’s goals. In the interaction of its members, KL assesses research needs and identifies future directions of research topics.  Ad-hoc working groups are formed as needed to address specific topics and upcoming issues. KL 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 KL
  • 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 the editors and interviews in daily newspapers and magazines

Future topics (“Vision 2020”)

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, KL can react swiftly to changing priorities that are expected until 2020 and beyond. Strictly scientific approaches without compromise for short-term economical, or political needs or technical availability are the top priority for all actions of KL. KL cannot provide emergency service, however is ready to recommend steps for realization, if needed. Moreover, KL will expand activities to communicate to the interested public including representation in schools.

A number of specific new topics have been identified already to be pursued by KL in the near future:

  • National energy and climate strategies and their relation to air pollution issues
  • Co-benefit consideration of different issues relating to the atmosphere (air pollution, climate change) and aerosol – climate interaction
  • 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 (regarding health, environmental effects or economic impacts)

The experts contributing to KL actively pursue further developments in its scope. Future KL activities will take advantage of the unique Austrian opportunity of a well-equipped high-altitude monitoring site at Sonnblick (3105 m a.s.l.). KL will explore to take advantage of other existing monitoring sites of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (e. g. Lunz). Further existing and well equipped measurement facilities, such as the ”roof laboratory” of the Aerosol group at the University of Vienna, will provide infrastructure to future activities and research projects.

Structural embedding in the Austrian Academy of Sciences

The Academy supports the activities of volunteers in the commissions through logistic support (secretariat, meeting rooms, web space). The development and production of fact sheets and brochures by KL 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 KL will be extended to activities of KL members in international scientific bodies when performed under the auspices of the commission and the academy of sciences.


Kommission Klima und Luftqualität
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
1010 Wien
T +43 1 51581-3210

Kommission Klima und Luftqualität


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