Analysis of climate-related risks and opportunities in Switzerland

The Federal Office for the Environment is coordinating the development of Switzerland’s adaptation strategy. To what climate-related risks and opportunities do we have to adapt? EBP developed an analysis method and tested it in two case studies.

The fourth assessment report of the IPCC has shown that it is no longer possible to prevent anthropogenic climate change, but only to reduce it. Switzerland will also be affected by climate change in the long term in terms of the underlying environmental, human and economic conditions. As well as seeking an urgent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the effects of climate change is becoming ever more important. The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), working together with the affected departments and government bodies, is currently developing a national adaptation strategy.

As a basis for the implementation of the strategy for adapting to climate change, EBP has been commissioned by FOEN as part of a pilot project to develop a method for analysing and evaluating the risks and opportunities in Switzerland.

This method will be used throughout Switzerland to identify, individually evaluate and compare on a cross-sectoral basis the most important climate-related risks and opportunities. It should form the basis for a subsequent stage in which priority areas of activity for adapting to climate change are designated and appropriate measures planned. The development of methods in this pilot study is the first stage towards such a climate-related risk analysis for Switzerland.

The methods will be applied in a case study for the municipality of Davos. Finally, with the participation of and co-financing by the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), the applicability of the methods to urban areas has been tested using the City of Zurich as an example. The pilot project is being handled by EBP together with the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF (research group Risk Management) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (research group Regional Economics and Development).