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Austria hard-hit by climate change

VIENNA, Sept. 18 — Austria has been particularly hard-hit by climate change with average temperatures rising almost two degrees Celsius since 1880 compared to the global average of 0.85 degrees, a Europe-wide study into the phenomenon has revealed Wednesday.

The Austrian Assessment Report 2014, conducted by the Austrian Panel on Climate Change (APCC) as part of the wider study, has shown the changes in climate have also brought about more extreme weather such as flooding, heat waves, health effects, and has impacted agriculture, forestry, tourism, and biodiversity in the Central-European nation.

"Climate change is a reality, and it is hitting us hard," Climate Fund Managing Director Ingmar Hoerbarth said at the presentation of the report, Der Standard newspaper reported.

In the period of time since 1980 the average temperature in Austria has also increased by one degree compared to the global average of 0.5 degree over the same period, indicating accelerated climate change. If current trends continue, the authors of the report expect the average temperature in the country to rise by a further 3.5 degrees by the year 2100.

Federal Minister of Agriculture Andrae Rupprechter said the results were "very sobering" and that climate change "can no longer be hindered."

Additionally he said those who claim human activity is not the main reason for the rise in CO2 emissions are "wrong."

Rupprechter said the government is currently pursuing adaptation strategies such as effective flood protection measures, and that he sees potential in e-mobility, with plans to also provide incentives for hydrogen-powered cars.

The Austrian government is also expected to adopt a CO2 emissions-reduction target of 40 percent at the next European Council meeting in October. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/JSD

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