We have been very saddened to hear the news of Stephen Schneider’s death. Just over two weeks ago Stephen delivered a keynote address at the 2010 International Climate Change Adaptation Conference at the Gold Coast. Stephen had an innate ability to engage, inform and challenge people about the reality of climate change and the urgency of the need to respond. Stephen’s contribution to this field of research has been extraordinary and beyond compare, as has his level of personal commitment to influencing and inspiring response to climate change.
Check out the photos of day 1 of the conference
or check out our flickr site here
Closing Plenary: Looking forward
Session 3.5 | 3.45pm – 5.15pm | 1st July 2010
Chairs: Rik Leemans, Earth System Science Partnership and Wageningen University – Presentation (PDF)
• Towards IPCC AR5: Chris Field, Co-Chair, Working Group II, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Presentation (PDF)
• Reflection on conference: Tony McMichael, ANU
• Panel discussion: Future directions in adaptation: needs, barriers and actions– Chris Field Carnegie Institute for Science, USA
– Jean Palutikof, Director, NCCARF, Australia
– Andrew Ash, Director, Climate Adaptation Flagship, CSIRO, Australia
– Martin Parry, Imperial College, London, UK
– Youth Representatives, Johanna Mustelin and Laura Canevari
• Closing remarks: Jean Palutikof (NCCARF) and Andrew Ash (CSIRO)
Video: Closing Plenary: Looking forward
PHOTOS: Closing Plenary: Looking forward
Download the abstract book here (PDF)
Thread: Adaptation at the edge
Parallel Session 3.4.1 | 2.00pm – 3.30pm | 1st July 2010
Poster Session 2.6 | 5.45pm – 7.00pm | 30th June 2010
- Ben Preston, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
- Roger Jones, Victoria University, Australia
Abstracts for Speakers:Circling from Virtuous to Vicious: How the IPCC stopped helping and began hindering adaptive behaviour » Linking Population, Fertility and Family Planning with Adaptation to Climate Change: Views from Ethiopia» National climate policy and local adaptation planning: Comparisons across two continents» The role of decentralized community-based renewable energy systems for climate change adaptation» Current concepts of adaptive capacity and its utility for decision making» Disciplines and post-disciplinarity in climate change and coastal planning» PHOTOS: Session 3.4»
Abstract for Posters:Applying resilience thinking to the governance and activities of Australia's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for marine Biodiversity and Resources» Dealing with uncertainty in climate change adaptation planning and developing triggers for future action» Institutional Adaptation: A framework for climate change adaptation» Planning for climate change: a case study of mainstreaming and integrating adaptation within the department of Sustainability and Environment» Opportunities for Climate Adaptation Learning & Action at the urban Local Level: The Case of Lahore, Pakistan» Adaption strategies for changing fish production as a result of global warming» Development of a Strategic decision Support System to Support Strategic decision making Process in Local governments» New york City's unwitting climate change adaptive technology»
Download the abstract book here (PDF)
A Henderson-Sellers1 1Environment & Geography, Macquarie University, Australia
In the unfolding global tragedy of our planetary commons, painfully depicted in Copenhagen in December 2009, national and international leaders are risking the future of the Earth by policy failure; the mass media highlights ethically bankrupt behaviours but fails to demand alternatives; and the assessment instrument of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has metamorphosed from a useful policy tool into one that, at best, encourages no action and, at worst, justifies bad responses. Climate change entered a different regime in 2007 with the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and the joint award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC. Policy no longer asked “whether” human activities are changing the climate but the more urgent questions of: “how fast?” “with what impacts?” and “demanding what responses?” Climate change became a risk management problem in which the approach, structure and character of the IPCC, horribly transformed by positive media feedback, is now a hindrance. In December 2007 the Director of the WCRP advised the heads of the two UN agencies that jointly sponsor the IPCC to close it because it had “completed its task of assessing the unique challenge that faces humanity”. Climate change is: real and accelerating; derived from use of ‘free’ goods; generationally-postponed (affects grandchildren); managed by a convention (UNFCCC) uniquely initiated by scientists and NGOs rather than nations; wealth creating; and media titillating. In this paper I identify factors that have changed the IPCC from a well-intentioned peer-reviewed research assessment into a system that is impeding urgent climate action. The top ten challenges for the IPCC are: its linear structure (first ‘science’, then ‘impacts’ and, finally, ‘mitigation’); peer review (poorly defined and facing an information avalanche: 1,200 exabytes in 2010); protracted gestation (fifth assessment due in 2014 even though the fourth was out-of-date in January 2007); mandated incapacity to make policy statements; no-preference display of results (failure to “out” bad models); model intercomparison project paradox (gradual community-wide performance improvement masks fundamental failures such as non-conservation); cost of participation vying with national and laboratory kudos; consensus requirement manifested as fear of highlighting shortcomings and failures (in models and observations); unknown(able) fatness of the probability distribution function tail; and poor handling of published errors and a few ”awful emails”. Climate prediction has languished near the top of local ‘highs’ in predictive skill for years and, while there are possible routes to improving the current models, few if any groups seem poised to pursue these (Green, 2006). IPCC’s failings are well known among participants (Doherty et al., 2009): “adding complexity to models, when some basic elements are not working right (e.g. the hydrological cycle), is not sound science;” “until and unless major (climate) oscillations can be predicted to the extent that they are predictable, regional climate is not a well defined problem. It may never be. If that is the case, then climate science must say so” (Henderson-Sellers, 2008). Positive feedback in the media pushed public perception past a tipping point around January 2010, such that future assessments might be argued to be delivering a deceptive view of what we know and even, perhaps, what we can know (Nature V464, no.7288, 11 March 2010). Forty years ago, Albert Crewe said: “It is up to the scientific community to point out where they can help….government cannot be expected to seek our advice and help, because they are much more accustomed to solving problems by new legislation….” and, “Perhaps better solutions exist… (but) until we can make ourselves heard…. problems are in danger of being grossly underestimated”. Climate policy is now a choice between a bad or a very bad future (Stern, 2006; Garnaut, 2008). The debacle of COP-15 was not caused by serious challenges to the fact of global warming nor to the need for action but rather by the inability to reach politically acceptable agreements. I argue that faced by an almost universal preference for obfuscation and denial (Hamilton, 2010), prioritising climate change responses to try to constrain the potential for really dangerous outcomes, that cannot currently be ruled out with less than a 10% chance, is not aided by further research assessments.
K Hardee1, K Rovin2 and A Kidanu3 1Research Department, Population Action International, USA 2Michigan State University, USA 3Miz-Hasab Research Center, Ethiopia
The unfolding effects of global climate change are being felt disproportionately in the world’s poorest countries. Many of the hardest hit countries also face rapid population growth, with their populations on track to double by 2050. This rapid increase in the population is likely to exacerbate the effects of climate change. Scant research exists to link these issues together. Within the “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” literature, few, if any, studies relate population and fertility with vulnerability, resilience and adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, the role of women in adaptation and coping strategies has also been underrepresented in existing literature. This study presents findings from research to investigates how people in Ethiopia, hard hit by the effects of climate change, relate their experiences with changes in climate to various factors affecting their ability to adapt. Ethiopia is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to social, economic and environmental factors. In particular, high levels of poverty, rapid population growth, a high level of reliance on rain-fed agriculture, high levels of environmental degradation, chronic food insecurity and frequent natural drought cycles increase climate change vulnerability in this country. Ethiopia’s 2007 census measured the population as 74 million, growing at a rate of 2.6 percent annually, and expected to more than double by 2050.
The 2008-2009 study included in-depth interviews (IDIs) with national-level and local policymakers and government representatives, community leaders, and civil society groups as well as IDIs and focus group discussions (FGDs) with men and women living in the Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s regions. The study was conducted in peri-urban and rural pastoralist and agricultural areas. The study included 12 FGD conducted separately with 48 men and 48 women, 24 IDI with community members and leaders and 14 IDI with policymakers, government representatives and other key leaders.
Women and men from the two areas described the increasing challenges they face in adapting to climate change. They, along with the community leaders and government representatives, recounted how rising temperatures, more frequent draughts and, paradoxically, increased flooding, receding agricultural grazing land and diminishing forests are making it more difficult for their families and communities to cope. These reflections on increasing hardship are coming from people who are accustomed to enduring struggle to survive. They link population pressure to the effects of climate change and report that families should consider having less children to avoid as much hardship in making a living and in utilizing natural resources for survival. They highlighted the particular vulnerabilities of women and children. They spoke of communities coming together to promote coping strategies and the need for government assistance in the face of increasing frequency of adverse events caused by the effects of climate change.
This research leads to the following recommendations for Ethiopia, donors, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, Germany) and researchers. 1) Support longer-term integrated approaches to climate change adaptation that build on people’s expressed needs, and strengthen community-based adaptation strategies to include expanding access to reproductive health and family planning services. 2) Give more high-level policy support to Ethiopia’s reproductive health and family planning programs to reduce the high unmet need for contraception and to improve maternal and child health.
The government of Ethiopia should review its commitment to reproductive health and family planning. High-level policy support is critical to ensuring that these services are available to women and men who want to use them. Currently one-thirdof women in Ethiopia say they want to postpone or stop childbearing but are not using contraception, leading to millions of unintended pregnancies. Moreover, the prevailing perception that women and children are currently and will continue to be the populations most affected by climate changes necessitates an increased focus on comprehensive maternal and child health programs. 3) Include population, fertility and access to family planning in future IAV studies. This study has paved the way in showing that many Ethiopians do think of population pressure and family size when they conceptualize their ability and the ability of their communities to adapt to climate change. Future studies to assess resilience and adaptive capacity should include components on population, fertility, reproductive health and access to family planning services.
E Hamin1 and N Gurran2 1University of Massachussetts, USA 2 University of Sydney, Australia
Many of the earliest climate change responses were driven by local governments, under the guidance of international networks such as the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, which has been particularly influential in Australia. These responses typically began with local climate mitigation (greenhouse gas reduction) strategies, with some communities then progressing towards more specific adaptation plans (plans designed to reduce the negative impacts of already-entrained climate change). In the absence of State or National level policy requirements for climate change planning, the relationship between these early local action plans and the formal rules governing urban settlement planning and development has been loose.
For the most part, climate change planning remains a voluntary activity at the local level. For instance, in the relatively slow- adopting but high-emitting United States (U.S.) and Australia, formal obligations for considering climate change impacts during plan making and development assessment remain weak. Given this context, to what extent do differences in national or State climate policy frameworks influence local plans – for instance, in relation to the delicate balance between mitigation and adaptation goals? Given the voluntary nature of climate planning, do endogenous municipal factors – for instance exposure to risk, or socio-economic variables – seem to matter more than national or State policy settings?
This paper examines these questions by comparing national and State climate policy frameworks in the U.S. and Australia, focusing on the interface between central climate policy frameworks and local planning responses. Following a comparison of national policy frameworks, we select five case study matched-pairs of cities from Australia and the United States which have developed plans for both mitigation and adaptation, chosen to have similar size of municipality, socio-economics, and primary climate change challenges (for instance, coastal sea rise, drought, fire risk). We use content analysis of the plans to test the levels of similarity and difference between the choices the municipalities make in their plans. This research then is able to suggest whether situation (climate variables, size of municipality, socio-economic variables) matters more than national policy, at least as demonstrated through the selected case studies. We also examine whether there is a clear pattern of a preference for mitigation or adaptation actions by country, or other variable. In conclusion we reflect on the ways in which national policy for climate change affects local planning in the U.S and Australia.
D Ley1 1Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
This paper examines the role that decentralized renewable energy (DRE) systems have in increasing rural populations’ adaptive capacities towards extreme weather events. I argue that DRE is a viable solution to meet climate change adaptation goals by being useful to prepare for and during a disaster; in the aftermath of a disaster, such as for relief and reconstruction; and in the long term, by enabling development and thus increasing adaptive capacities and bridging the gap between adaptation and development. Rural communities throughout Latin America have increasingly suffered the impacts of climate change and few policies exist to help them adapt to these impacts. The basic infrastructure and services that they frequently lack can be provided by low carbon technologies, potentially funded by international carbon finance flows that could enable the Millennium Development Goals of economic growth and poverty alleviation to be met while minimizing carbon emissions. Therefore, DRE can contribute to the mainstreaming of development, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation policies and practices. Political Ecology provides a useful framework for evaluating rural renewable energy projects, focusing on structures, markets, local response to development interventions and to the material effects of development on the physical environment. In addition to applying the theoretical framework of Political Ecology, I used the Pressure and Release (PAR) Model, which explains disasters as the ‘intersection of the natural hazard and the processes that generate vulnerability’. These processes, examined under a political ecology framework as the relationships between political and economic structures and between the physical environment and communities, are categorized as root causes, dynamic pressures and unsafe conditions, and are based on physical, political, economic and social environments. I assessed fifteen community-owned renewable energy projects to analyze whether current renewable energy projects are achieving their goals. The case studies are located in Guatemala and Nicaragua, countries that have a generally low Human Development Index and are most likely on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) in the rural areas. Much of the urban population has access to electricity in contrast to a large rural population that doesn’t have access to the national grid. Rural poverty, land degradationand over-use of natural resources are common. These countries are affected annually by hurricanes and tropical storms, which exacerbates poverty and causes setbacks to development. The prospects for the increased use of rural renewable energy for sustainable development are considerable, as are the need for increased climate change adaptation and the potential for increased climate change mitigation efforts. The case study projects were established primarily as development, emissions reductions, climate change adaptation and disaster relief. The projects were evaluated on economic, development and climate change indicators that include sustainable development, poverty alleviation, emissions reductions, and climate vulnerability. I examined how the existence and type of common property governance, local historical and environmental background and project implementation process influence the project success in meeting multiple objectives of climate adaptation, mitigation and development. Research methods included participatory poverty assessment techniques, semi- structured interviews, stakeholder analysis, and a combination of rapid and participatory methods. Technical inspections of the renewable energy systems were carried out using approved standard inspection protocols. The main finding is that DRE systems can play an important role within climate change adaptation by decreasing vulnerability to extreme weather events. However, DRE can also increase vulnerability if there is the creation of real or perceived danger, creation or exacerbation of social tension and lack of safety and quality practices. DRE is an effective way of ‘mainstreaming’ climate change and development policies and practices. It was also proved that the existence and type of common property governance, the local historical and environmental background of the site and the project implementation process influence the project success in meeting its stated goals. I conclude that actions that enable adaptation also enable development, but not necessarily the reverse. Development projects must be designed with climate change adaptation in mind to ensure the robustness of the technology to withstand extreme weather events and the community organization and unity in the case of an emergency.
P Daffara1, T Smith1 and N Keys1 1University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
Adaptive capacity has become widely acknowledged as a fundamental component of vulnerability to climate change as indicated by the rapid growth of academic publications on the topic. Interpretations of the concept of adaptive capacity vary in the published literature. Its utility for decision making and ultimately for effective adaptation to climate change, have not to this point been the focus of investigation. In order to improve the synergies between climate change adaptation researchers and decision makers, we undertook an assessment of the interpretation of and approach to adaptive capacity research and application among a range of disciplines and institutional settings. The project was undertaken as part of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF, Australia) Synthesis and Integrative Research Programme.
Based on the results of a critical review of recent adaptive capacity publications, an online survey of 299 researchers and decision-makers in the field of climate change, and interviews with key informants, we argue that the concept of adaptive capacity continues to evolve through recognition of the importance of context and system linkages. Further, the approaches and methods used for published adaptive capacity research suggest a paradigm shift from determinism to complexity and from mono-disciplinarity to trans-disciplinarity, multiplicity and participation. Consistent with its evolving, complex nature, researchers in the field report a gap between the theoretical development of adaptive capacity and its practical application by institutions with responsibility for developing and implementing adaptation plans. The utility of adaptive capacity for decision making goes largely unquestioned in the published literature, with much recent focus on refining tools for its application. An exploration of the perceptions of climate change researchers and decision makers reveals that despite a large proportion of the climate change adaptation research community feeling pessimistic about the future generally, most consider applications of adaptive capacity to be somewhat effective. Decision makers in the same field express a slightly higher assessment of its utility.
We conclude that the utility of adaptive capacity could be improved by concurrently addressing multiple issues including knowledge gaps, communication of transferable adaptation lessons, and institutional transformation through multi-scalar approaches.
B Pokrant1 and L Stocker2 1Department of Social Sciences, Curtin University of Technology, Australia 2Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Australia
Academic and policy responses to climate change require a cross–disciplinary focus. The form such a cross–disciplinary focus should take is subject to debate. This paper contributes to this debate through an examination of various approaches to coastal planning that seek to integrate development and climate change objectives; the value of post-–disciplinary approaches in the development of improved culturally informed goverance practices among researchers, policy–makers and local communities; and implications for the promotion of more socially and environmentally sustainable futures for coastal populations.
Part one examines the diverse contributions of disciplinary knowledges such as anthropology, psychology, politics, economics, environmental science, meterology and law to climate change research in the context of coastal adaptation. In fact almost every discipline has a significant contribution to climate change research; few other phenomena have attractedsuch catholic interest. This comprehensive attention is due to the urgency of the timeline, the inescapability and universality of the impacts, and to the consequent politicisation and availability of research funding. Such disciplinary research includes, inter alia, historical understandings and adaptations to weather and climate variability; debates over the social construction of climate change science; the relevance of local knowledge to natural resource management; environmental discourses; unequal ecological exchange and world systems theory; local responses to environmental globalisation; and the relationship between development planning and climate change. However, the very complexity and interrelatedness of climate change issues has meant that disciplinary research alone can never be adequate to the task. Part two critically examines examples of multidisciplinary studies of coastal adaptation to climate change: those in which specialists work together whilst maintaining their disciplinary boundaries and methods. Whilst this approach begins to address the need for multiple fields of research to be focused on climate change, it still does not generate a dynamic interface or genuine dialogue among contributing disciplines. Part three focuses on interdisciplinary knowledge forms such as sustainability. In such studies, areas of overlap or interaction among disciplines are investigated and new methods and synergies emerge in coastal adaptation. We begin to see a process in part four, we discuss the role of transdisciplinary approaches – which seek to transcend disciplinary boundaries using complex system analysis, adaptive learning across disciplines about climate change, in which not only are the substantive contents of disciplines shared, but so are methodological approaches such as community engagement and anticipatory action research. In part four, we discuss the role of transdisciplinary approaches which seek to transcend disciplinary boundaries and transition management – in framing current debates over the relationship between coastal development planning and climate change. In this type of research there needs to be a focus on integration as well as analysis in seeking ‘truth’, on incorporating non-scientific knowledges and qualitative values, and generating interparadigmatic dialogues. Thus we can generate socially robust and fully contextualised knowledge. Transdisciplinary approaches often use units of analysis which are strongly coupled, jointly determined, nonlinear, complex socio-ecological systems.
These kinds of post-normal interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research pave the way for better links between research and policy, as the research generates the type of information that actually reflects the multi-faceted issues in the real world of climate adaptation on the coast. At this challenging level, some climate change anticipatory action research on the coast aims to treat new information and uncertainty explicitly with iterative and adaptive approaches across multiple scales. It can inform policy and planning in such a way as to enable a reflexive, responsive approach to governance. One example that could be usefully applied is the transition management approach.
Bob Pokrant is Professor of Anthropology at Curtin University of Technology. His main research interests are fisheries and aquaculture in South Asia and coastal adaptation to climate change. His most recent publication, co-edited with Michael Gillan, is entitled: Trade, Labour and the transformation of community in Asia, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Laura Stocker is Associate Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute. Her research interests are in sustainability mapping, planning, policy and education. She is currently deputy leader of the new CSIRO Coastal Collaboration Cluster which focuses on enabling better dialog between knowledge-makers and decision- makers about climate change and other impacts on the coast, with a view to improving coastal management.
J Davidson1,2 and NJ Holbrook1,2 1Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources 2School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania
This paper reports on the application of resilience thinking by Australia’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources (a.k.a. the Marine Adaptation Network) to frame and integrate its activities.
The Marine Adaptation Network comprises a holistic framework that cross-cuts climate change risk, marine biodiversity and resources, socioeconomics and policy, and includes ecosystems and species from the tropics to Australian Antarctic waters. The organisational governance of the Network, which is framed around five interconnecting marine themes (integration, biodiversity and resources, communities, markets, and policy), is designed to replicate the governance characteristics of a complex adaptive system – it is multi-level and polycentric, integrative and networked, adaptive, participatory and collaborative, and it is interdisciplinary and draws on diverse sources of knowledge. The governance structure encourages interdisciplinary collaborative research, data-sharing, communication and education, and the synthesis and advancement of climate change adaptationknowledge to assist policy and decision-makers in developing climate change adaptation strategies to build adaptive capacity.
The Network’s synthesis activities are informed by the resilience paradigm in seeking to understand marine social-ecological system (SES) dynamics, to identify the potential for unexpected change, and in using these understandings to generate strategies for enhanced resilience of the marine system. Other Network activities using this thinking include the development of interactive tools to aid decision-making, promotion of a meta-data repository for data-sharing across all marine disciplines, and building the adaptation skill base through targeted involvement of early career researchers and policy-makers.
More particularly, this paper details the Network’s efforts to examine case studies detailing the resilience of the Australian marine SES. The case studies involve social-ecological systems analyses of climate-induced range shifts in marine species, the edible oyster industry, the rock lobster industry, and marine tourism on the Great Barrier Reef.
The principal objectives of this work are to determine the: (i) main issues of concern for the marine SES to identify the most valuable and vulnerable assets of the marine system; (ii) critical feedback mechanisms in operation and their implications for marine SES instability; and (iii) critical factors driving change in order to understand not only the conditions of stability and instability but also possibilities for innovation and adaptation. The overall aim of understanding system dynamics in this way is as a necessary prerequisite for appropriately targeted adaptation interventions.
This work is interdisciplinary in that it seeks to combine a range of different disciplinary understandings in order to provide innovative answers to the complex problems of climate change impacts on the marine SES. It is transdisciplinary in that it seeks to involve marine system operators and policy-makers in processes of building new knowledge and innovative adaptation solutions.
Preliminary conclusions suggest that the marine SES will need help to maintain and build inherent resilience to climate change effects and socioeconomic changes that would damage its capacity to adapt to future climate change.
G Fisk1 and R Kay2 1BMT WBM Pty Ltd, Australia 2Coastal Zone Management Pty Ltd, Australia
The temporal uncertainty presented by climate change can be a significant deterrent to implementation of adaptation plans and associated actions, particularly given the barriers to the implementation of many longer term actions. These barriers typically relate to cost, but can also relate to community opposition, the need for legislative or regulatory changes, the need to engender political will or as a result of a general lack of knowledge or information about the issue to be managed (or options to treat the associated risk).
As such, current adaptation planning studies for climate change under the Commonwealth Government’s Local Adaptation Pathways Programme (LAPP) and National Coastal Vulnerability Assessment (NCVA) studies and similar initiatives have tended to focus on actions that are ‘no-regrets’ or ‘win-win’ type actions. Complex or controversial actions are often delayed for future implementers to address in the undefined ‘long term’. However, if climate change adaptation is to be effective, there must be a recognition as part of such adaptation plans that much more difficult decisions that affect tradeoffs will need to be made in the future – particularly as the impacts of climate change become more evident.
Invariably, these adaptation plans will need to address issues both proactively in terms of what can be done at the current time (eg. in the short term such as data gathering) as well as reactively as particular aspects of climate change begin to manifest themselves.
This paper outlines a simple but effective planning tool that has been developed from combining climate change vulnerability assessment concepts used internationally with wetland management approaches used in Australia. The tool assists in adaptation planning initiatives that can be used across a range of climate change issues and scenarios. The tool operates along a time continuum and seeks to identify three stages for each climate change parameter or impact being assessed:
Stage 1: The baseline (current condition) of the climate change parameter being examined at the time of plan preparation
Stage 2: The undesirable end-state of the climate change parameter being examined (eg. what are the impacts from climate change that are trying to be avoided); and
Stage 3 The identification of one or more trigger points along the time continuum that flags to the planning or responsible management agency that more aggressive or decisive adaptation actions need to occur prior to the undesirable impact occurring.
The innovation of the temporal model addressed by the tool is the ability to ‘trigger’ particular adaptation actions in the future but prior to the climate change impact occurring. For example, use of the model for sea level rise can be applied at a local scale to define the current extent of inundation (stage 1), define the undesirable level of inundation where damage or loss of property is certain (stage 3) and an interim trigger level (stage 2) whereby more significant action and decision making is required such as the need for particular properties to be relocated, the construction of a seawall or other capital works or a combination thereof.
In this context, setting a trigger level is critical to adaptation as it gives the management agencies adequate time to act prior to realizing the unacceptable impact (including undertaking adequate consultation about possible treatment options); it prevents the management agency from acting prematurely before impacts are certain (reducing maladaptation); it helps to provide certainty to decision makers over a longer period of time; and it demonstrates to the public a level of preparedness for the future such that as trigger points are approached there is capacity and political will building within the organsiation to act.
The presentation will discuss the tool, some of the key thoughts behind its creation and how it has been used in various climate change planning projects throughout Australia undertaken by the authors.
P Fitzsimons1, M Bond1 and E Liu1 1Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia
Significant change has occurred in people’s perception to and understanding of climate change. As many agriculturalists understood climate change to be part of a larger natural cycle, management practices consisted of planning for seasonal to seasonal variation. Recent research highlighted the need for longer term planning horizons involving diversification of enterprises, an emphasis on higher education and whole farm planning, investment in infrastructure, increasing biodiversity and others.
As a diverse set of personal values and beliefs underlie each individual’s perceptions of climate change, these perceptions impact the centrality of climate change in planning decisions. Whilst values can be slow to change, the evidence that this is occurring more rapidly is supported through research that identified innovative policy development along with associated practices identified above. Emphasis on a systemic approach was also evident as consideration of the human system and its association with the natural world becomes more familiar.
Personal values influence – or bias – decision making in regards to climate change, therefore an organizations’ policies and processes display a particular set of values. Factors influencing decision making in relation to climate change form a complex amalgamation of values that are rarely documented or made transparent. Furthermore, an organisation that wishes to embed climate change in its strategic decision making will benefit from ensuring that sustainability is central to its organisational culture.
These findings form part of the research of the Institutional Adaptation theme of the Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Program (VCCAP). The theme is concerned with the socio-cultural and economic aspects of climate change adaptation that places emphasis on understanding the rules of the game – the underlying factors that influence decision making. An institutional approach is used to analyse differences in people’s understanding of climate change, to consider how an understanding of climate change is being constructed within institutions, the way in which ideas of climate change impacts are being communicated and their influence on shaping adaptation and mitigation responses.
Over three years, VCCAP focussed its research on one region, south west Victoria, so that the development of methods and methodologies could enable an integrated analysis at the regional level to inform state government policy. As climate change threatens assets and livelihoods differently, a focus on building the capacity of regional institutions to adapt to climate change is at the heart of VCCAP whilst ensuring that a regional focus informs state and federal policies.
A framework has been developed aimed at highlighting the nature of the interactions between a series of component parts. The features of the framework include: an analysis of institutional values and how these values inform adaptation practices; the study of institutional networks undertaken through social network mapping to identify sources of trust and distrust; economic modelling to highlight the value of the agricultural sector to the regional economy; application of an Adaptive Capacity Index to identify the key socio-cultural, political and economic aspects of adaptation. An important feature of the framework is to ensure that each component part builds the capacity of regional institutions to manage change as well as identifying current governance arrangements whilst considering the role of government in an adaptive governance environment.
Whilst adaptation can be defined as the “adjustment of ecological, social or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and the effects or impacts of climate change; (Smit et al 2001; Smit and Pilifosova 2003), the related concept of adaptive capacity refers to the ‘potential or ability of a system, region or community to adapt to the effects or impacts of climate change; (Smit et al 2001; Smit and Pilifosova 2003). Planned adaptation is a key feature of this research as we seek to embed long-term planning into an iterative decision-making process that informs policy across all levels of government.
C Hughes1 and P Lyon1 1,Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria, Australia
This case study examines methodological complexities inherent in using climate change science and adaptation frameworks to inform government decision making. Difficulties are created by the need to bridge long term climate science projections with one to five year government business planning cycles. Adaptation mainstreaming efforts present challenges, including understanding context specific impacts, governance arrangements for delivery agencies, effective use of risk and vulnerability frameworks and finding a common language between science, policy and business management approaches. A number of research directions are suggested by the case study.
The Victorian Government recognises its roles in helping the natural environment to prepare for and adapt to climate change and improving the management of Victoria’s ecosystems and biodiversity in the face of climate change. In recognition of this, the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) Environmental Policy and Climate Change division commenced a pilot project with the Forests and Parks division to assess climate change impacts to the division. An adaptation report was prepared for the division. From this pilot a number of preliminary findings can be made.
There are a number of benefits and opportunities that can be generated by undertaking adaptation assessments. By taking action now to prevent future damage to assets there can be financial cost savings compared with projected costs to repair or replace damaged assets. Adaptation can also lock in lasting benefits by preventing long term damage to ecosystems (OECD, 2009). The Forests and Parks division pilot demonstrated adaptation planning can also improve policy linkages across and between different divisions within an organisation. Victoria’s recent Biodiversity White Paper establishes biolinks as a policy response which will: reconnect habitat between existing isolated parks providing climate refugia: facilitate species adaptation; and enhance the value of parks. This policy response addresses and strengthens both biodiversity and climate change adaptation agendas.
Integrating adaptation considerations into existing decision making frameworks is preferable to developing new business compliance mechanisms. All DSE divisions are required to prepare business plans and complete strategic risk assessments as part of attestation requirements on an annual basis. With varying degrees of success, the project encouraged the division to consider physical climate changes over specified time frames in these existing assessment processes. It is envisaged that this approach can be duplicated with delivery agencies by modifying their existing governance arrangements to ensure they consider climate change impacts in their decision making frameworks.
The pilot has enabled the engagement of staff across the department, building their knowledge and providing updated information on climate change projections. The process has identified different understandings of adaptation, vulnerability and adaptive capacity. There is a need for further discussion, research and development of a common language and understanding on these concepts and a need to bring together climate change impact assessment methodologies, risk management, models and business planning approaches to assist government with effective adaptation planning.
S Janjua1 and I Thomas1 1Climate Change Adaptation Program, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
The overall purpose of this paper is to examine the opportunities for climate adaptation learning and action in urban Pakistani local governments. Opportunities have been identified by making a comparison with some of the core learning organization characteristics identified during the review of literature, spotlighting predominantly on those characteristics that are believed to be the most significant and pertinent to the Pakistani context. Initially, the paper makes a broad review of literature related to the learning, and identifies some of the key characteristics that could bring change in the context of climate adaptation learning and action within Pakistani urban local governments. One representative Pakistani urban local public organization (City District Government, Lahore) was selected for this research. The primary data was collected through two research methods: initial interviews and case study interviews to explore as well as explain such characteristics in the Pakistani context. A total of 21 Pakistani professionals, related to the urban local governments, participated in the in-depth interviewing. Thematic analysis of the data collected helped developing a model comprising six different key characteristics that could bring change in the context of climate adaptation learning and action within Pakistani urban local governments, including: leadership for adaptation, vision for adaptation, organizational culture for adaptation, good governance for adaptation, innovation and creativity for adaptation, and resources for adaptation. The paper provides valuable information by identifying some of the characteristics that could bring change for climate adaptation learning and action within the urban Pakistani local governments.
I S F Jones1 and M Hodder1 1Ocean Technology Group, University of Sydney
The majority of the world’s 200 million fisherfolk and their dependents live in areas vulnerable to climate change according to Allison et al (2005). Many of these people represent the poorest people in society, the people with the least capacity to adapt. Some 20% of the protein consumed by poor humans comes from the sea. Away from a narrow coastal fringe, the productivity of the photic zone of the ocean is limited by the supply of nutrients from deeper in the ocean. The thermohaline circulation provides the large scale recirculation of these nutrients within the ocean basins while localised upwelling, driven by the surface marine winds, supports regional fisheries. Changing ocean temperature in the polar regions where dense water sinks to drive the thermohaline circulation and changing wind patterns as a result of global warming are likely to bring about changes. While the vertical circulation may slow, the concentration of nutrients may rise with time as the deep water is subjected to the rain of marine snow for longer.
As the overturning time of the ocean is many centuries, the period of reduced productivity could be significant.
An adaptation strategy that maintains the protein supply from weakening upwelling centres during the above transition is to provide by other means the nutrients that are no longer supplied by upwelling. The Ocean Nourishment technology discussed by Jones and Young (1997) is the marine equivalent of agricultural fertiliser application. Here the primary production is enhanced by providing the limiting nutrients. The extra nutrients can be manufactured or mined and provided to the ocean by broadcasting from ships. Many studies show the result is enhanced primary production. Investigations such as Ware and Thompson (2005) show a good correlation between phytoplankton standing stock as a result of primary productivity and yearly fish catch.
The cost of such adaptation has been estimated and is found to be less than the current value of small pelagics. The increased fishing efficiency expected from a nourishment scheme contributes to the feasibility of the poor artisan fisherman being supported through a period of rapid climate change by such a concept.
H Mirfenderesk1, D Corkill1 1Gold Coast City Council, Australia
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of climate change on strategic decision making and to offer a practical solution for responding to the uncertainties associated with climate change impacts. The paper suggests that achieving a fit between climate change impact and Local governments’ decision making capacity is key to successful adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The study attempts to model the dynamics of such strategic fit as a way forward towards establishing a strategic decision making framework that can support an adaptive strategic decision making process for local governments.
The main contribution of the study to existing literature is the introduction of a Strategic Decision Support System (SDSS). Such SDSS will help senior management to more directly interact with data and information and enable them to navigate through a scientific and systematic decision making process and therefore result in consistency in strategic decision making across the Government. This system comprises of a suite of computer models, data, methodical processes and multi-criteria evaluation methods and is used for continuous improvement of management decision making in an uncertain environment. This system is developed on the premise that strategy is about the synthesis of facts and that a strategist needs to synthesise isolated pieces of knowledge into an integrated picture and this picture should be updated continuously. On this basis the suggested SDSS has three main components:
1. A process to collect data, convert data to information, establish facts from information and generate knowledge. 2. A process that can synthesis isolated pieces of knowledge into the large picture. 3. A process that feedbacks midcourse learning to the system in order to update knowledge regularly and continuously.
The suggested system, once in operation
• Continually scans the environment to capture data.
• Models the impact of future climate change scenarios on planning and design parameters in a systematic and unbiased way.
• Provides plausible policy responses for given future scenarios.
• Estimates the consequence of each policy response.
• Provides a prioritised list of alternative policy responses based on criteria that are determined by stakeholders.
• Monitors, evaluates and assesses the consequences of the implementation of the selected policies.
• Feeds back midcourse learning from this assessment into the decision making process.
• Iterates this process, when new knowledge of future climate or midcourse learning warrant a review, and improves previous management decisions accordingly. The benefits of such a system includes:
• Provision of integrated problem assessment-solution options to management, releasing them from being the first point of integration.
• Filtering great quantities of information about different parts of the decision context into a few, critical elements.
• Allowing for better framing of the problems and therefore, giving a better chance for correct evaluation of the problem.
• Provision of plausible alternative solutions in a short timeframe.
• Assisting organisation leaders to make efficient and effective decisions while maintaining intuitive aspect of decision making process.
J Ornstein1 1New York University, USA
Background: Over the last three hundred years, known storm surges from hurricanes have caused infrastructure damage and casualties in not only low lying areas of New York City, but also higher elevated areas such as Canal Street (1821) and Central Park, Upper Manhattan and the Bronx (1938). But over the last one hundred years, City officials like Robert Moses unknowingly improved an adaptive technology against sea level rise and storm surge. It is well established that wave energy is easily dissipated by a beach’s natural defense mechanisms and that beaches can play a major role in countering storm surge. Through public works projects, beaches were confiscated, built and improved along 17.96 miles of New York City’s coast to give costal recreation access to all of the population. And although the City of New York through its Parks and Recreation Department only manages 14 miles of beaches of the New York City 578 mile coast, these beaches are strategically located along known hurricane corridors.
Problem: Climate change could create significant hazard for the New York City population and infrastructure. Mean annual temperatures are projected by global climate models to increase by 1.5° to 3°F by the 2020s and 3° to 5°F by the 2050s. Mean annual precipitation is projected by global climate models to increase by 0 to 5% by the 2020s and 0 to 10% by the 2050s. Mean sea level rise is projected by global climate models to increase by 2 to 5 inches by the 2020s and 7 to 12 inches by the 2050s. This does not suggest inundation on its own, but this data does not include historical ice-rate melts which suggest much higher figures under the “rapid ice-melt” approach. The combination of sea level rise and ocean surge due to increases in hurricanes and nor-easters subject a large portion of New York City infrastructure to flooding. From the above, the New York City Panel on Climate Change suggests that seal level rise-related impacts on New York City’s critical infrastructure may include inundation of low-lying areas and wetlands.
Methods: By setting the model-based range of values for New York City and the surrounding region set by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, this research looked at what impact New York City’s current beaches have in mitigating future storm surge and the inundation of City infrastructure. Data developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers was placed over climate change forecast to derive predictive analysis. Environmental economics was used to measure the cost benefit ratio of further beach investment under New York City Panel on Climate Change accepted range of values. The research also included interviews with New York City Officials in the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and the Department of Parks and Recreation, and scientists at the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Implications: The research suggests that further nourishment of New York City beaches and the creation of more New York Citybeaches offer the City of New York an efficient and cost effective mechanism to adapt to climate change with anticipated sea level rise and storm surge. The implications of this research extend beyond New York City. New York City is a combination of Islands and a small portion of the mainland New York. But the insured value of its infrastructure and massive population make it a focus of climate change. Because there are significant resources examining both climate changes implications on New York City infrastructure and climate adaptation through beach nourishment, the coupling of this research offers deliverables for other communities.
Theme: Adapting from the grass roots
Parallel Session 3.3.3 | 11.00am – 12.30pm | 1st July 2010
Poster Session 2.6 | 5.45pm – 7.00pm | 30th June 2010
- Donovan Burton, NCCARF, Australia
- Opha Pauline Dube, University of Botswana
Abstracts for Speakers:Partner or Perish: Regional governance for Local Adaptation» Shared Learning on Adapting to Climate Change - Experiences from the Columbia Basin Trust Initiative 'Communities Adapting to Climate Change'» Effective Community Engagement to Reach Agreement over Climate Adaptation: utilising Consensus Building and Joint Fact-Finding Strategies» Adapting through local planning: barriers and opportunities for climate adaptation» Lessons learnt from Fiji rural climate change adaptation project» Developing citizen science as a communication and research tool for monitoring ecological change in the marine environment» Building Resilience to Climate Change through Community Based development Planning: Lessons from Addressing Climate Impacts in a Rural Coastal Community in Hawaii» PHOTOS: Session 3.3»
Abstract for Posters:Communities dealing with transformational change: Insight from a social network approach» Victorian farmers take positive action and stay informed about climate change and emissions» Leaning from experience: deriving lessons from the local level climate adaptation actions in three urban areas of Asia and Africa» Optimising information use in adaptation planning: Examples from kiribati» Climate change risk responses through common interests and collective action behaviour: The case of Sydney Bushcare volunteers» Local government as knowledge brokers for effective climate change adaptation» Building agricultural adaptation through understanding farmer attitudes, knowledge and responses to a changing climate» Adaptation to climate change. Case studies of two rural Australian communities» Talking climate change with the bush» Building the Climate Change Response Capability of Local governments units in the Philippines» Community Landcare Networks, Social Capital and Adaptation Strategies: Lesson Learned for Community Adaptation to Climate Change» A problem-oriented approach to adaptation in a business community: insights and lessons learnt from Alpine Shire, Victoria Australia» Me & my Community» Island Adaptation: Linking knowledge, management and Communities in American Samoa» Developing Policy for Adaptation to Climate Change at the Indonesian Local government Levels»
Download the abstract book here (PDF)
B Preston1 1Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
Adaptation is rapidly becoming a mainstream strategy for the management of climate risk, and formal adaptation planning is emerging at a range of geopolitical scales. Least-developed nations, for example, have completed National Adaptation Programmes of Action as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Australia developed a National Climate Change Adaptation Framework in 2007; the UK is implementing a national adaptation program under the 2008 Climate Change Act; and the United States is laying the groundwork for its own national adaptation policy. Despite such developments at the national scale, it is recognized that climate adaptation is largely a local process.
Australia is an interesting case study of the proliferation of adaptation efforts at the local scale, with a particular emphasis on the role of Local Government. Local Government represents a key stakeholder in climate adaptation, as there is urgent need to address local concerns and Local Government is the most legitimate instrument of government at the community level. Support for Local Government adaptation has come in a variety of forms. In 2006, the Commonwealth Government funded five two-year integrated assessment projects in partnership with Local Government. In addition, the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change launched a Local Adaptation Pathways Program in 2008 that provides grants to Local Government to support climate change risk assessments and adaptation planning. The Commonwealthhas also published overview reports on adaptation options for Local Government across a range of sectors. Meanwhile, State Government is expanding its role in adaptation, including funding for adaptation research centres, investments in climate change projections and geospatial data sets and the development of adaptation planning manuals.
Despite such efforts, there are signs that institutional arrangements have yet to be implemented that empower Australian Local Government to take a leadership role in adaptation. In particular, constraints on financial resources and access to expertise interact with the policy constraints embodied in State legislation to limit the power of Local Government. As a response, there is a clear movement toward systems of regional governance and organizational partnerships to help address these constraints. Australia’s regional organizations of councils (ROCs) are active in leveraging resources for climate change assessment activities, exchanging knowledge and experience, and developing a stronger lobbying foundation to communicate Local Government adaptation needs. In addition, ROCs are increasingly partnering with research institutions to enhance
Local Government access to technical information regarding climate change, its impacts, and adaptation solutions.
Hence, despite ongoing attempts to advance adaptation through the formal three layers of government, ad hoc informal regional networks are proving to be highly effective political structures. Climate change assessment projects undertaken by ROCs have received national recognition for their ability to highlight climate impacts and adaptation challenges at relevant scales. Furthermore, there is evidence that the power wielded by such regional organizations has helped stimulate the emergence of adaptation policy guidance from State government. Examples include planning policies and guidance for sea-level rise in both New South Wales and Victoria.
S Cohen1, M Laurie2, I Liepa3, C Pearce4, E Pond5, and O Schroth6 1Adaptation & Impacts Research Section, Environment Canada and Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, Canada 2Consultant, Columbia Basin Trust, Canada 3Consultant, Kimberley , Canada 4Mountain Labyrinths Inc., Canada 5Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP), University of British Columbia, Canada 6Swiss National Sciences Foundation and CALP, University of British Columbia, Canada
How does a conversation on climate change adaptation begin? How does such a conversation advance from exploratory questions to purposeful planning?
This paper outlines a community-based approach undertaken by Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) to enable adaptation to become part of community planning and decisions in southeast British Columbia (BC), Canada. We provide a snapshot of the history of this activity, from its initiation by CBT to its current status as this effort continues to expand throughout the region.
Building on preliminary surveys of local practitioner and stakeholder views on climate change implications for water management, and subsequent outreach activities, the CBT began to organize its own climate change adaptation initiative. First, CBT commissioned a number of studies on climate change in southeast BC, including climate trends and climate change scenarios, concerns of regional and local water users, and a citizen engagement document entitled “Starting the Dialogue.” These were prepared during 2005-2007. During that period, CBT also engaged representatives from several research groups that were active in regional impacts/adaptation case studies in BC and the state of Washington in the United States, as well as community development specialists from provincial agencies, the local government association, First Nations and consultancies through an Advisory Committee. Subsequently, in 2007, CBT launched a program called “Communities Adapting to Climate Change” (CACC). The goal was to support local governments in preparing for climate change.
Using its existing network for contacting municipal, regional and First Nations governments within southeast BC, CBT invited representatives to a climate change adaptation workshop and issued a call for proposals for communities interested in taking part in the CACC program. In 2008, the first two communities were selected—Kimberley and Elkford. Like most other communities in this region, these are small towns with populations less than 10,000. CBT provided a) funding support for planning assistance, and b) a Coordinator and advisory committee, drawn from the research community, provincial agencies, community development practitioners and regional interests, including First Nations, regional districts, and environmental non-government organizations.
Kimberley and Elkford developed their own processes for community engagement, and completed their CBT-funded adaptation plans in 2009. Kimberley’s project also worked with the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) at UBC in order to gather and integrate spatial data, develop scenarios and visualizations of vulnerabilities, impacts, and response options. Both projects resulted in recommendations of adaptation strategies for the specific issues facing each community. For example, Elkford participants identified a number of measures to address potential changes in flood risk, water availability and water quality. Elkford’s plan was integrated with their Official Community Plan review. Kimberley’s plan identified over 75 actionable items that are now being integrated into existing planning and operations structures. Meanwhile, a second round of community planning projects is being undertaken in 2009-2010 in Rossland, Castlegar and Kaslo.
Although climate change researchers have been communicating their concerns about future climate for a number of years, the CACC project provides an important opportunity to integrate climate change information within the context of local planning. The idea of climate scenario-based planning is meant to enable planning for change, despite inherent uncertainties in any future scenario. Local planning already accounts for population growth scenarios, so there is familiarity with such projections as a source of information. Climate change information differs because of the need to translate this into local impacts which could be different from the historic record of local climate-related events. The use of visualizations, and spatial and temporal data explored using virtual globes, has shown promise as a tool for communicating the complex spatial and temporal implications of climate change. The scenario method in combination with the layer concept of virtual globes facilitated the understanding that decision-makers have alternative adaptation options.
CBT does engage in mitigation activities through other programs, but the approach taken by CBT’s CACC initiative has been to focus on adaptation. Adaptation is generally less understood than emission reduction, targets are harder to quantify, and solutions may be more difficult to design and implement. An important aspect of this kind of endeavour is to foster local innovation and promote ongoing learning, monitoring, and improvement. As a local champion, CBT has positioned this initiative to scale down from global climate science to regional and local planning, and also to scale up from individual communities to a regional network within southeast BC. In this context, the role of the researcher changes from being an initiator of a research project to being an advisor and enabler for capacity building within communities and the regional network as a whole.
We recognize that climate change adaptation will require an ongoing process of monitoring, evaluation, and renewal, as communities grow and change, and as new information on climate change becomes available. Our collective abilities to link global climate science to local scale decisions will depend on our willingness to continually engage in these kinds of learning exercises and planning projects, which have important practical outcomes for communities in southeast BC and other regions.
J Prior1 1School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Australia
Community adaptation to climate change requires a participatory approach involving regional communities. This is because recent, more refined, regional climate modeling has indicated that there will be regional variations in climate changes and their impacts. Regional approaches will thus also be important to identify regionally- relevant and appropriate adaptation strategies.
Community perceptions and acceptance of impacts (risks and opportunities) will largely be socially mediated, and may involve disagreements. Thus regional communities must be engaged in a participatory manner for impact assessment, and to enable appropriate adaptation strategies to be identified and adopted.
Two techniques increasingly used in the field of environmental dispute resolution (EDR) may be relevant to this adaptation processes. These are consensus building and joint fact-finding strategies. This paper briefly describes the nature of these two approaches, and illustrates why and how they could be utilised in regional community engagement strategies for the purposes of climate change adaptation.
The US (and recent Australian) experience with consensus building in natural resource planning, policy negotiations, and EDR has been generally positive. ‘Consensus building’ can be defined as a process of seeking unanimous agreement. It involves a good- faith effort to meet the interests of all stakeholders. Consensus building has been reached when everyone agrees they can live with whatever is proposed, after every effort had been made to meet the interests of all stakeholding parties. Normally consensus- building processes require an independent facilitator, or where there is a greater degree of conflict, an environmental mediator.
Consensus building may involve an extensive range of steps, depending upon the complexity of the issue. The following steps are usually involved: convening, clarifying responsibilities, deliberating, deciding and implementing.
While these steps illustrate a general schema, consensus-building processes should be designed specifically for each situation. Commonly, consensus-building processes will involve scientific and technical information, and social, economic or cultural issues or information. Often there will be disagreement among stakeholders as to who can be trusted to collect, analyse, interpret and present this information. This will be particularly relevant to gaining community agreement on climate change impacts and adaptation. In these situations, joint fact-finding approaches may be used.
Many climate change adaptation issues will involve considerable uncertainty over outcomes. For example, differing stakeholder perceptions over the likely climate impacts on natural resources, and differing assessments of future risk, may mean that the accuracy and validity of scientific and technical information will be contested. Where each party to a disagreement presents their own carefully selected scientific information or scientific experts that support their own interests and claims, the resulting debate is sometimes referred to as ‘adversarial science’. Adversarial science is evident in some aspects of the current climate change debate.
Scientific uncertainty, its complexity, and disagreement among scientific experts, and misunderstandings among lay (non-science trained) stakeholders about the nature of scientific debate, can all prolong conflicts, further damage poor relationships between parties, and postpone decision making.
One alternative to adversarial science gaining support is the ‘joint fact-finding’ approach. Joint fact-finding is a strategy normally used within consensus decision-making, and involves the negotiating parties working collaboratively to identify and collect trustworthy scientific information relevant to the conflict. Joint fact-finding commonly includes the following elements:
• parties to the negotiation pool relevant information, rather than withholding it from each other;
• there is a face-to-face dialogue between technical experts, decision makers, and other key stakeholders, with the dialogue often managed by an independent facilitator or mediator;
• technical information is normally translated into a form that is accessible to all participants;
• areas of scientific agreement and areas of scientific disagreement and uncertainty are mapped; and
• a single negotiating text records the results of the joint fact-finding process.
The claims made in the literature for joint fact-finding approaches are that, compared with other more adversarial approaches, they are more likely to mitigate or resolve intractable environmental disputes; they deal explicitly with differing assessments of environmental risk among the parties; and they are more likely to lead to higher levels of satisfaction among the parties in relation to the environmental assessment process.
Finally, the paper makes recommendations as to how community engagement for climate adaptation – utilising regional consensus-building and joint fact-finding approaches – may be designed and implemented.
T G Measham1, B L Preston2, T F Smith3, C Brooke4, R Gorddard1, G. Withycombe5 and C Morrison5 1CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia 2Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, USA 3University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia 4World Wildlife Fund, Australia 5Sydney Coastal Council Group, Australia
Local planning has been voiced as an important avenue for achieving adaptation and addressing the local environmental and social impacts of global environmental change. Planning is a fundamental activity for local governments, which play a key role in developing and implementing planning at the community level. Local government planning takes two forms. The first is the strategic planning process, which fosters community vision, aspirational goals and place- making, along with defining pathways to achieve these goals. The second form operates at a more immediate scale: the execution of statutory planning and zoning instruments including development approvals which are informed by local environment plans and development control plans. Although these two types of planning are quite different in practice, and in many cases are managed by different departments, both are highly important to climate change adaptation.
To explore these issues, a case study focusing on local government planning was conducted in Sydney as part of a broader project called ‘The Systems Approach to Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Metropolises’ conducted from 2007-2009. This project was a partnership between the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, The University of the Sunshine Coast and the Sydney Coastal Councils Group.
The case study data consist of in-depth interviews with staff from three municipal Councils in 2008 from across the Sydney region: Mosman, Leichardt and Sutherland. The three Councils were selected to reflect diversity in terms of their size, demographic profile and location within Sydney (northern, central and southern). A total of 33 participants from these three Councils took part in the interviews: (12, 11 and 10 each respectively).
The results draw attention to the following factors: leadership, competing planning agendas, lack of information, and limited recognition of climate change in the institutional arrangements that guide local planning. It was evident from interviews that adaptation represents only one area of priority amongst other competing interests for local government planning. Across all three case study councils, interview participants emphasised that climate change was part of their strategic plan in some form, either specifically or grouped as one of a suite of environmental issues. This demonstrates that climate change is being considered in the guiding strategies of the three Councils to varying degrees. However the focus was on mitigation, more so than adaptation. Participants also identified another barrier in the lack of useful, credible and relevant information about the nature of the climate risk to which they must adapt.
Across all three case study Councils, there was consistent evidence that climate change adaptation was not explicitly incorporated into local environment plans and development control plans at the time of conducting this research. We conclude that local planning represents a major avenue for achieving adaptation at the local scale, however significant constraints need to be acknowledged and addressed if adaptation is likely to advance along this pathway. This research was supported by the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship and the Australian Government Department of Climate Change.
L Limalevu1 , W Aalbersberg1, P Dumaru1 and T Weir1 1University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji Islands
The University of the South Pacific has facilitated community-based adaptation projects in six Fijian villages from 2006 to early 2010, with financial support from AusAID. Three of these villages suffer from coastal erosion and three from low and poor water supply systems; with the problems exacerbated during the dry season. Our experience with these projects suggests many lessons for community-based adaptation projects more generally, which can be summarized as: (i) project management system and coordination set-up is essential (ii) proper community-based awareness, information and training programme is essential, (iii) community leadership or management system play an important role in project implementation and uptake (iv) community involvement is essential (v) support from outside groups, both in terms of policies and technology inputs, is important (vi) information about climate change and adaptation needs to be disseminated and shared to ensure uptake of best practices, (vii) long-term monitoring, maintenance and evaluation is needed (5-10 years). Several of these lessons confirm our earlier and ongoing experience with locally managed marine areas.
G Pecl1, S Frusher1 and R Brown1 1University of Tasmania, Australia
Engaging the community in the collection and monitoring of science is generically known as “citizen science”. Citizen science not only provides a mechanism for obtaining observations at a scale that is normally not possible at a scientific researcher scale but, importantly, it provides an opportunity for “citizens” to improve their knowledge. The latter is enhanced when a citizen science program requires the “citizen” to engage with a media interface which also provides information and updates about the science. In Tasmania we developed a web-based on-line database and mapping facility (REDMAP – Range Extension Database and Mapping project) where members of the public submit data on catches/observations of key species that may be impacted by climate change. Since the launch of the website in December 2009 we have had an overwhelming response from the marine community including commercial and recreational fishers, divers and boaters. In addition to engaging the Tasmanian marine community, the site has received over 29,000 page downloads from 64 countries in the eight weeks since its launch. We have also received positive feedback from schools that are using the site as an educational resource. The success of REDMAP has resulted in proposals to extend the concept nationwide. We believe that REDMAP demonstrates the potential of citizen science programs to be powerful communication tools that engage and inform the community.
A Stein1, R Jackson1 and C Courtney2 1National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA 2TetraTech Inc, USA
Community based development planning as practiced in the County of Hawaii (U.S.) provides an ideal opportunity for community scale climate adaptation. The government sponsored planning process engages all sectors of the community in developing long-term strategies to guide development in a way which reflects community values and addresses community needs. The plan, once adopted, carries the weight of law and thus provides the community with a strong voice in future conversations regarding development. The multi-stage planning process includes local, state, and federal government representatives, community leaders, private consultants, subject matter experts, and the general public and addresses thirteen standard planning elements. Over the course of two years the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has provided scientific and planning technical assistance to the County of Hawaii for two communality planning efforts. NOAA’s interest, beyond supporting Hawaii County, was to gain practical experience in integrating natural hazard and climate risk information in community based development planning to inform future products and services for building community resilience. Throughout the process effective communication was paramount, from initial engagement with local government representatives in articulating the benefits of risk-based approaches to engaging community members in determining what community assets could be at risk now or in the future. As with any dynamic stakeholder driven process there were ample opportunities to learn about effectiveness of communication strategies. These experiences are informing NOAA products and services so they can be tailored to ensure they effectively reach their intended audience and provide value to local decisions. Furthermore, the experience is providing Hawaii County and NOAA with critical information on current and future communication strategies for delivering climate and hazard related data and information for community scale climate adaptation in other communities and may have value for other jurisdictions in the Pacific and elsewhere. Outcomes of this work include the development of draft guidance on integrating risk information into community based planning efforts as well as the adoption of numerous community scale climate adaptation strategies in the County of Hawaii.
A-M Dowd1 and E Mendham1 1CSIRO, Australia
There is a growing body of research investigating adaptive capacity and decision making processes of primary industries across the globe due to climate change. The focus of that research has mainly been on the successful and unsuccessful impacts of incremental adaptation across various sectors and levels of analysis. For some agricultural sectors, the ineffectiveness of short term incremental tactical responses is no longer a valuable strategic approach in securing their future survival. Instead, some Australian primary industries are starting to investigate or actively implement transformational adaptive change in order to achieve sustainability.
From a community perspective, dealing with long term planning and decision making can be an overwhelming and tremendously complex process. There are many factors that affect decision making processes and this project aims to explore these issues, through case studies of major, adaptive shifts in response to climate change. The framework for conceptualising transformational adaptation is a combination of the theory of transitions and transition management. Our research question is: what information sources and social support systems assist communities to make more significant, transformative shifts?
Data was collected from 24 semi-structured interviews from key stakeholders in the Sunraysia and Wimmera communities. Participants were asked to indicate what sources of information and support and advice channels they use in relation to the potential impacts of climate change. In addition, interviewees were asked to identify which people or organisations are the most influential in terms of the adaptation process. Data was analysed using social network analysis, which is a means to represent the interconnections and interdependencies that occur between varieties of relationships. The results show a visual representation of the observed networks reported from an actor-oriented perspective.
Networks among farmers were important in engaging others in adaptation to climate change. Innovative individuals led the way and others observed. There was a shift of knowledge and information occurring as farmers travelled north to learn the farming practices in a drier climate to apply in their own region. Farming groups provided an environment for information sharing and learning amongst farmer members, which was then transferred to the wider farming community. In the Sunraysia case study, local government, education institutions, hospitals and economic development boards had an important role in the adaptation of the community, seeking to expand the economic base of the region by attracting new industry and developing a whole of community plan. As a result of these adaptations at different scales, there was a greater level of community-wide acceptance and conversation around climate change.
In the Wimmera for example, interviewees said the community as a whole had recently been making the link between sustainability and productivity. Community support for the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline was an example of the community recognising that significant change was needed. In summary, this first stage of data collection allowed us to gain insight into the various information and support and advice systems participants, from two communities, utilise in order to address the issue of climate change.
C Gerbing1 and S Holland-Clift2 1Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia 2Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
The Victorian Government’s Future Farming Strategy has an aim to help farm businesses plan for climate change and to provide farmers in key industries with new technologies and strategies to adapt their farming systems to future climate conditions. The Victorian Department of Primary Industries’ project ‘Planning for Climate Change’ is contributing to this mission by enabling the sharing of positive stories of practical action, as well as increasing the capacity of service providers and farm businesses to stay informed about greenhouse gas emissions.
There are many examples throughout Victoria’s rural community where positive actions and adjustments have been made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also preparing for the impacts of climate change and seasonal climate variability. The ‘Farmers Taking Action’ case study series has been developed and is continually expanded to demonstrate how agricultural businesses, industries, groups and individuals have taken positive and practical action towards adapting to and mitigating the likely effects that climate change will have on their businesses. Such actions include adaptive business decisions, the use of new processes and technologies, collaborative community action and changed farming systems. Sharing stories through the ‘Farmers Taking Action’ case study series has been a significant step towards encouraging all Victorian agricultural businesses and industries to consider proven practice changes,by demonstrating that positive action can lead to positive outcomes.
The Carbon Toolkits in Agriculture Network has been established to keep farm businesses and farm service providers up to date with the latest events, training, news, resources and accounting tools relating to agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. A concise monthly update is disseminated to over 270 network members, including farmers, farm consultants, farm accountants, Landcare coordinators, extension staff, researchers and training providers.
Information about ‘Farmers Taking Action’ case studies series and the Carbon Toolkits in Agriculture Network can be found at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/climaterisk.
S Janjua1 and D McEvoy1 1Climate Change Adaptation Program, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
The building and execution of climate adaptation frameworks (strategies, plans) for local urban areas (local governments, municipalities, cities) are still at beginning stage in most parts of Asia and Africa. Even though a few of the Asian and African urban local areas seem to be at the forefront, these have only started analysing climate impacts and identifying adaptation options for not many years. However, some common lessons could be taken out from the know- how and practices of these early urban local areas working on climate adaptation learning and action. Utilising the experiences of three urban local areas (Albay, Cape Town and Durban), this paper exhibits a comparative analysis of the up to date efforts for climate adaptation planning in these urban local areas in connection with some of the inter- linked questions that we considered vital to be answered for taking out common themes that could be advantageous for any local level adaptation planning in Asia and Africa. With the aim of evaluating the climate adaptation actions of Albay, Cape Town and Durban through a questionnaire survey, three criteria were selected by which to weigh the similarities and dissimilarities in planning processes and structures of these three urban local areas, including: (1) background; (2) drivers of adaptation planning (focusing on six elements of the proposed change model for climate adaptation: leadership for adaptation, vision for adaptation, organizational culture for adaptation, good governance for adaptation, innovation and creativity for adaptation, and resources for adaptation); and (3) adaptation strategies (steps involved and mechanisms used). By examining these three urban local case examples, the paper helps test the elements of the change model for climate adaptation, and suggests some key transferable lessons supporting the processes and structures for designing any local level climate adaptation frameworks in Asia and Africa.
R Kay1, C Elrick1 and D Ramsay2 1 Coastal Zone Management Pty Ltd, Australia 2 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), New Zealand
A critical issue for effective adaptation planning is the provision of robust scientific information, provided in appropriate formats. However, decision makers in developing countries such as Kiribati often have limited access to climate information and limited technical capacity to apply such information for adaptation decision- making. Consequently, a priority of the Kiribati Adaptation Project (KAPII) was to provide specific climate change information to fill existing gaps, whilst also providing Government of Kiribati staff with skills in applying this information within a risk assessment framework to underpin and guide adaptation planning.
The case study presented here focuses on the capacity building activities undertaken to support application of coastal information in risk assessment and adaptation planning.
Place-specific probabilistic information on coastal hazard drivers, and how climate change will impact these drivers, was compiled in an interactive database through the development of an Excel based “Coastal Calculator”. The tool enabled site-specific calculations to be made, and comparison between, present day and potential future (based on defined climate change scenarios and timeframes) values of tide levels, storm tide levels, wave heights, run-up and overtopping volumes at the shoreline. The tool also enabled the information to be easily accessed and utilised in decision-making for risk assessment and adaptation planning. In addition, a range of spatial information sources were collected and converted to Google Earth files. These files were shared and accessed readily with Government stakeholders who would not normally have access to such data or have knowledge of GIS.
The combined effect of the Coastal Calculator tool and Google Earth files provided an information rich baseline, accessible to a wider range of decision-makers, upon which to undertake risk assessment. In addition, a range of other capacity building support materials were developed, including handbooks, visual tools and templates to support the process of embedding climate change risk assessment and adaptation planning in the Republic of Kiribati.
The study found:
• Flexibility is important. Application of the Coastal Calculator and associated information broadened in scope as stakeholders recognised the value of the tool in supporting decision making, and requested the tool to be modified to be fit for their purpose. Application to real problems or issues, rather than potential issues or scenarios, is vital to achieving this recognition.
• Visual tools are vital in providing an inclusive decision making environment.
• Uncertainties in climate information and analysis tools must be clearly communicated.
• The case study demonstrates an approach to develop local capacity in applying detailed and specific climate information in risk management and adaptation planning. The process has enabled the Republic of Kiribati to:
• Assess the potential impact of climate change at a range of scales: from island to village level.
• Develop inter-ministerial interaction and decision-making, which is an integral part of ensuring sustainable coastal management.
• Show case its potential vulnerability on the world stage, by presenting scientifically robust information on how climate change will impact existing coastal hazards and resulting problems at a side event at COP 15 in Copenhagen.
J Kithiia1 1Macquarie University, Australia
Building adaptive capacity has been established as a central climate change response. Adaptive capacity can be facilitated by government, but increasingly it also requires working in partnership with other stakeholders like private organizations, non-government organizations and individuals. This paper presents a case study of the collective actions of volunteer environmental groups in Sydney as a means of exploring how the actions and interests of individuals may build adaptive capacity. Using the example of bushcare groups of the City of Ryde in suburban Sydney, the paper examines the socio-economic and cultural qualities that strengthen or create obstacles for collective action among the Bushcare volunteers. The paper finds significant common interests in ecosystems restoration and management, shared values and reciprocal relationships amongst bushcare volunteers and across different local groups. These relationships and motivations, the paper argues, can be leveraged to generate material interventions necessary for climate change response.
A Leitch1,2 1CSIRO, Davies Laboratory, Townsville, QLD, Australia 2James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia
Increasingly it is being advocated that the local scale is the most appropriate level at which climate change adaptation should occur. This is the scale at which impacts of climate change will be felt, at which local knowledge can be utilised and experimentation and learning can take place. Therefore local authorities, as the level of governance closest to the people, are considered to play an important role in supporting their community’s resilience to climate change through facilitating and co-ordinating knowledge and action between the community, industry and higher tiers of government.
A lack of sufficient knowledge of climate change and specifically on local level impacts is frequently identified as a barrier to effective management of climate change adaptation by local authorities. This has resulted in the calls for ‘more and better’ science as well as for ‘more and better’ public understanding of the science. This is despite clear evidence from social science disciplines that ‘more and better’ scientific knowledge is only one aspect of individual or public decision making. Even as there is increasing debate and action on climate change, it remains unclear at the local scale what is the role of knowledge, whose knowledge needs to be included, and how it can be used in effective institutions for adaptation to climate change. Operating as a boundary organisation local government must span the divide between policy and science to function as an intermediary between both the producers and users of knowledge while recognising the cultural limitations and constraints of both (Gurlan 2001, McNie 2007). While there has been an expansion of the suite and breadth of ‘boundary’ concepts that emerged from social and political sciences the application and testing of this concept has been limited and has not been attempted in the context of local government.
To examine the realities of local governments managing knowledge for adaptation to climate change we look at two local authorities in the coastal area of the Great Barrier Reef region. The GBR region, as a social ecological system, is predicted to be one of the regions of Australia most affected by global environmental change due to altered average climatic conditions, elevated sea levels, and increased extreme weather events such as cyclones and associated storm surge. In the GBR region there are a total of 29 councils which comprise one city council, six shire councils, 12 regional councils and 10 Aboriginal councils. Through document analysis and semi-structured interviews with both council staff and elected representatives, our case studies investigated one rural coastal shire council and one coastal regional council. Through these two case studies we explore the capacity of these local authorities to effectively broker knowledge between the research community, the local community and the state government.
The findings from these case studies illustrate the complexities of knowledge brokering within these two local authorities. The ‘thick descriptions’ provided by the case studies will assist knowledge producers and users, as well as decision makers across all tiers of government, to better understand the perspectives and needs of local authorities in the production and integration of knowledge for effective adaptation policy.
P McRae-Williams1, I Schwarz1, L Lehmann1 and M Graymore2 1 Water in Drylands Collaborative Research Program, University of Ballarat, Australia 2Deakin University, Australia
The impact of climate change on agriculture in southern Australia is likely to be severe. There is evidence now emerging that farmers are changing management practices in response to changes in the climate.
This paper provides evidence that these changes are occurring, the extent and why some farmers are more likely to be adapting to climate change than others. It focuses on farmer views about climate change and their current and planned responses. It reports on a survey of more than 1500 farmers across the state of Victoria.The research was undertaken in 2009 by the Water in Drylands Collaborative Research Program (WIDCORP), University of Ballarat in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries Victoria. It explores how farmer attitudes towards in climate change may influence how they are changing the way they farm.
International research suggests agricultural adaptations to climate change are largely place and context specific and are unlikely to be independent of risk management decisions. They are influenced by economic and regulatory environments, technology and social norms and the characteristics of the innovation itself. Farmer’s capacity to adapt continues to evolve. This adaptive capacity can also be influenced by a person’s level of education and training, diversity of on and off-farm income sources, and levels of income.
Using statistical regression analyses, survey data collected in this study was interrogated to identify if different attitudes, levels of knowledge and types of farming influenced the forms and extent of farm practice change in response to changes in climate. The study highlights the diverse range of views and actions of Victorian farmers in relation to climate change and variability. These differences occur across farming sectors (for example; grains, dairy, horticulture, forestry, livestock or mixed farming as well as peri-urban farmers) and across different regions. The results suggest however that adaptation action is more closely aligned with sector-specific rather than regional impacts. The data also suggests that different groups of farmers with common attitudes and behaviours had, or plan to, adapt farming practices in certain ways independent of the sector or region in which they operate.
It appears those farmers who agree with statements aligned with Changing Weather (attitudes towards change in weather patterns and rainfall), are more likely to actively change their farm practices, when compared to those who relate to the Anthropogenic Climate Change (attitudes towards climate change, its seriousness and its human cause). Whilst it seems counterintuitive to the assumption made about the need to believe in climate change to undertake adaptive actions, this analysis provides a basis to question this assumption.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that the development and promotion of specific adaptation choices or policy prescriptions (that is direct adaptation measures) may not be the most useful means of promoting agriculture to adapt to climate change. This prompts the question of what is driving agriculture to adapt and reinforces the need to understand farmer attitudes, knowledge and how they are responding to a changing climate to enhance the types and rate of adaptation.
E Mendham1, A-M Dowd1 and S Park2 1 Science into Society Group, CSIRO Earth Sciences and Resource Engineering, Climate Adaptation Flagship, Australia 2 Cropping Systems Scientist – Climate Change Adaptation, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Climate Adaptation Flagship, Australia
Communities are already adapting to the effects of climate change. Documenting the decision-making process and ways in which a community experiences and adapts to changing conditions is one way to identify means of enhancing adaptive capacity. An understanding of the adaptation process is important for rural communities as adaptations that are potentially successful in the short-term may have longer-term implications and unintended consequences. In this paper we report the initial findings of two rural community case studies (Sunraysia and Wimmera), both of which rely heavily on the agricultural industries in the area. The case studies are part of a five year CSIRO project following the adaptation process of a number of Australian primary industries and communities. The research program addresses how these industries and communities transform in response to climate change.
First, the paper presents the findings of a sustainable livelihoods analysis conducted through a workshop in November 2009 with key Sunraysia stakeholders. The focus of the workshop was to examine the vulnerability context within which these stakeholders operate. Second, the paper includes an analysis of transcripts from 26 semi-structured interviews with key informants from the case study areas. The sustainable livelihoods analysis workshop established that the Sunraysia community faces several challenges, those directly related to climate change such as water quality and quantity, and other factors such as a community identity centred on a ‘green oasis’ landscape and an ageing population. These factors formed the context within which adaptation occurred.
The interviews indicated that adaptation on an individual scale to climate change was occurring in both communities, but not necessarily with the explicit acknowledgement of climate change as a driver. Farmers had been adapting to various drivers for years (such as the costs of production rising faster than the prices received for produce) and adaptation to climate variability has been interacting with these other influences. Indeed, a level of scepticism was seen to exist among some, in part as a coping mechanism which has presented a challenge to agencies attempting to engage the community. Interviewees reflected upon levels of adaptation success. The fact that there were still highly successful farmers in the region (despite many exiting, exacerbating small town decline) and the presence of innovative industries were cited as evidence of successful adaptation. Findings point to the different definitions and criteria of what is a successful adaptation at different spatial and temporal scales.
Interview findings revealed successful engagement in adaptation to climate change and variability, as well as identifying various challenges, from the individual household to the wider community. This is the first phase of a longitudinal study of the communities of the Sunraysia and Wimmera. Future research will focus on following community adaptation to climate change and understanding the economic and social conditions required to support the Sunraysia and Wimmera communities. Overall this research project will add to the understanding of long-term adaptation and decision making in the context of rural communities.
C Mullen1, N Plummer1, S Maguire1 and D Jones1 1National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
Climate variability and climate change are critical issues for Australia, particularly for those in rural communities and agriculture. Ongoing rainfall deficiencies in south-west Western Australia since 1970 and in south-east Australia since 1996 have already sharpened interest on future climate, particularly with respect to future rainfall. What do those involved with agricultural industries want to know about the changing climate? How can that information best be communicated?
The ‘Communicating Climate Change to Agricultural Industries’ project addressed these core questions, using a multidisciplinary and consultative approach. The project was collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology, the Birchip Cropping Group, Meat and Livestock Australia and the Bureau of Rural Sciences. Running workshops with other organisations meant that the discussion could progress well beyond observed and future meteorological changes – the usual Bureau of Meteorology scope. Project findings presented will have a meteorological bias, given that the authors all work for the Bureau of Meteorology.
The project sent a group of climate change experts to three centres in Australia’s southern cropping regions with the aim of improving the understanding of the implications of climate change on farm businesses and the environment by increasing the knowledge of the professionals that support farmers.
Initially, information on weather drivers, past and future climate trends, mitigation practices and options for producers, emissions trading, farm revegetation, carbon and soil carbon, commodities, water resources, sustainable production and managing risk was presented to a group of agribusiness consultants in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Healthy discussion ensured that the two day workshops were lively.
The information was delivered as presentations and printed fact sheets on the day and was available on the Birchip Cropping Group website for reference afterwards (http://www.bcg.org.au/cb_pages/Communicating_Climate_Change.php)
Follow up meetings were held in each of three locations aimed at the wider farming community.
This work has since been extended, with weather driver information now available for other states. Presentations have also been given at meetings with similar formats/topics.
Formal workshop evaluations provided useful feedback about the content and presentation of material provided. Informal discussions were sometimes just as useful as the formal presentations – both as a way of learning about farmers concerns and ensuring that the messages being delivered were clear.
Many informal discussions started with ‘how much rainfall have you had; how much rainfall will I get in the next few days/weeks/months?’ One of the key findings from this project was that farmers prefer the focus of climate change material to be on the next 10 years, as participants generally saw this timeframe as their realistic planning horizon, rather than a future climate 20 or more years away. This will require a restructure on the way the science is presented.
It was clear from the discussions and feedback that much on-farm climate change adaptation is already happening in response to adverse seasonal conditions. As one farmer said: “I don’t believe in that climate change stuff, but “geez” the weather is changing”!
L Peñalba1, D Elazegui1, J Pulhin2, R Cruz2 1College of Public Affairs, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines 2College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines
In the Philippines, local government units (LGUs) have a significant role in climate risk management (CRM). However, many LGUs and their constituents have limited understanding of the climate change phenomenon as well as limited capacity to undertake appropriate climate change adaptation measures. While the existing disaster risk management framework specifies the “Preparedness-Prevention-Mitigation” pattern, strategies have been mainly reactive and rarely guided by science-based vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning.
Thus, it is important to enhance the LGUs’ capacity and strengthen their alliance with scientists to harness science-based climate change planning and policymaking. This paper presents the results of a participatory action research geared towards this objective. With five municipalities in four provinces as study sites, the paper discusses the capacity building processes and the LGU-scientist interface towards the formulation of the climate change adaptation plan (CCAP).
A team of LGU planners and scientists was organized in each municipality and based on the capability assessment results in each site; awareness raising and capacity building activities were undertaken. The training included members of the civil society and local legislative councils whose commitment is critical to the CCAP implementation. Learning and alliance buildingopportunities were maximized through participatory research, coaching and interactive discussion about climate change issues.
Capacity building activities covered data collection and interpretation, situational analysis and understanding the various elements of adaptation programs and policies. Hands-on training on vulnerability assessment and CCAP preparation made use of local data as well as information provided by the community residents. The SCU partners further validated results of consultations with government records and led the preparation of the vulnerability assessment report. Team workshops were conducted to prepare their respective CCAP. The LGU staff appreciated the training, thus facilitating the integration of the CCAP into the local development plan.
Research findings revealed that: 1) the actual adaptive capacity of the LGUs was much lower than their perceived level due to their limited understanding of preparedness and adaptation principles; 2) the communities noted increasing frequency of intense typhoon, flooding and dry spell; 3) coastal residents noticed sea level rise, saline water intrusion and ground subsidence; and 4) the climate events affected the agriculture and fishery sectors, salt-making industry, general public and LGUs themselves.
The CCAP also pointed out socioeconomic and institutional constraints to adaptive capacity enhancement. Recommendation to overcome these include: 1) strengthening public information and education campaigns on CRM; 2) formulating national policy requiring LGUs to conduct vulnerability assessment, establish a knowledge management system and community-based risk monitoring and early warning system; 3) organizing the community for collective action; 4)establishing linkages with the private sector and non-government organizations; 5) livelihood diversification and appropriate agricultural technology options; and 6) integrating climate risk management in local development programs.
The project created a platform for sharing experiences, lessons learned, and “best practices” thereby enhancing LGUs’ respective capacity to appropriately respond to climate change issues. Results of this project were communicated to various stakeholders through forums and scientific conferences and circulation of adaptation planning guide.
J Prior1 and J Bowe2 1School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Australia 2Southern New England Landcare, Australia
Reviewing the literature, this paper asserts that regional communities (both urban and agricultural communities) with high levels of social capital will be better able to assess climate change impacts (risks and opportunities), and to identify, evaluate, extend and implement appropriate adaptive strategies. Social capital refers to the features of social organisation such as networks, norms, and trust, that increase a society’s productive potential. Social capital is generally considered an attribute of communities, whereas human capital is considered an attribute of individuals. It is now broadly accepted that improvements to social capital contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development and to general community well-being.
In the context of community adaptation to climate change (CACC), the paper states that social capital would refer to those aspects of social organisation that contribute to, or enhance, community participation, community innovation, internal and external communication, community decision making, consensus building and conflict resolution. Citing the literature and the authors’ experience, the paper states that, from the point of view of government or industry wishing to engage with regional communities or community sub-sets, those communities with low social capital are less likely to effectively participate, to innovate, to resolve conflict, to build consensus, and to make collaborative decisions and reach agreement. Communities with low levels of social capital are also more likely to feel threatened by change and to deny or resist it, than they will be to adapt to, manage and take advantage of change.
While building social capital is a longer-term and potentially complex process, a number of key lessons relevant to CACC can be distilled from the experience of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in general, and from the Australian Landcare experience in particular. In reviewing the Landcare experience, this paper identifies the following important aspects of social capital that may contribute to CACC: the building of community trust; local resource mobilisation; group learning and co-learning opportunities; the ability to extend knowledge, and influence the attitudes and behaviours, both within groups and between groups; landscape approaches to natural resource and environmental management; the ability to attract and utilise greater resources; within- and between-group reciprocity; and the ability to form horizontal and vertical linkages with other groups.
The Landcare experience highlights both opportunities and challenges for successful CACC. High social capital communities are likely to better enable community adaptation to climate change through:
• collectively assessing and accepting, impacts, risks and opportunities;
• identifying and adopting suitable adaptation mechanisms; • testing, refining, and extending adaptive mechanisms throughout their community;
• developing links with researchers, government and industry organisations; and,
• enabling communities to better articulate their needs and negotiate with policy makers and resource providers.
However, there are several challenges posed by climate change adaptation for which the Landcare experience does not provide ready answers. The paper briefly discusses the following challenges, and suggests potential solutions.
• How do we deal with potential confusion and disagreement regarding climate change acceptance in regional communities?
• How do we identify, validate, modify and extend new technologies and approaches given that, in many jurisdictions, government-funded NRM and agricultural extension services have generally declined over the last decade?
• How do we learn from, and foster, urban groups that might target adaptation and sustainable livelihood strategies?
• How do we accommodate and resolve the greater degree of value diversity, interests and needs (and potential conflict) likely to be encountered in disparate urban Landcare groups when compared with more uniform rural Landcare groups?
• What are the roles of the three levels of government in building social capital for the purposes of CACC? Finally, the paper makes recommendations relevant to government policy-makers who wish to build social capital for the purposes of CACC.
C Roman1 1School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Australia
Climate change is gaining attention as a significant strategic issue for localities that rely on their business sectors for economic viability. For businesses in the tourism sector, considerable research effort has sought to characterise the vulnerability to the likely impacts of future climate change through scenarios or ‘end-point’ approaches. Whilst useful, there are few demonstrable case studies that complement such work with a ‘start-point’ approach that seeks to explore contextual vulnerability. This broader approach is inclusive of climate change as a process operating within a biophysical system and allows recognition of the complex interactions that occur in the coupled human-environmental system.
A problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach was employed at Alpine Shire, in northeast Victoria Australia, to explore the concept of contextual vulnerability and adaptability to stressors that include, but are not limited to climatic change. Using a policy sciences approach, the objective was to identify factors that influence existing vulnerabilities and that might consequently act as barriers to effective adaptation for the Shire’s business community involved in the tourism sector. Through mapping of the social context, particular attention was placed upon the role of embedded values – those of the researcher and participants alike – and how these influence the way in which problems are defined and constructed.
Analyses of results suggest that many threats, including the effects climate change, compete for the resources, strategy and direction of local tourism management bodies. Further analysis of conditioning factors, such as climatic variability and extremes, showed how these played a role in highlighting the dynamics of this contextual vulnerability. It also highlighted the extent of adaptive capacity of the Shire’s tourism sector to the challenges of broader global change, which collectively have more immediate implications for policy and planning than long-term future climate change scenarios. An approximation of the common interest, i.e. enhancing capacity in business acumen amongst tourism operators, was recognised as a means for facilitating adaptability and sustainability in their pursuit towards achieving tourism sector goals.
T Saal1 and J Bowers1 1Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health Queensland, Australia
Providing leadership training for women and youth involved in rural-oriented businesses in Queensland by developing social and emotional well-being networks through focusing on the individual, families and communities.
The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health Queensland (the Centre) developed a three-day training program that combined elements of rural leadership with mental health literacy programs. This training was provided in the Queensland rural communities of Mt Isa, Longreach, Roma and Kingaroy.
The theoretical basis to the development of the training was that individuals who increased their knowledge about mental health and who were involved in a network or community have a greater capacity to develop personal resilience and adaptability. It was proposed that if the ability for a person to analyse new information could be improved and if they could learn strategies for managing change, they would respond more effectively and confidently to the changing and demanding environments.
The participants, who live and work in rural and remote Queensland, are continually confronted with situations over which they have very little or no control. These situations most commonly are environmental adversities such as drought, floods, bushfires etc. Some of the participants in this initiative have faced one or more of the following challenging situations: up to 10 years of unrelenting drought; severe flooding in the Gulf; recent adjustment and/or removal of Exceptional Circumstance declarations and associated payments in various areas; vegetation management legislation; high Australia dollar against the US dollar and wild rivers legislation.
The first day of the three separate training days focussed on the individual and included strategies for facing change, problem solving and networking. The second day focused on the role of the participant in their household and/or the workplace. The participants determined the content of the third day of training. In two locations, they requested the two-day Mental Health First Aid course. In the other two locations, a local mapping of the network of mental health services and the identification of the referral pathway was requested. Throughout the training the participants were introduced to and encouraged to adopt the learning process of the Active Learning Cycle to improve themselves and the environment in which they live and work.
The evaluation of the project has received ethics approval and consisted of pre, during and post training questionnaires as well as telephone interviews with participants.
Current indications suggest that training has been well received and that the leadership skills the participants have acquired has enabled them to pass on their knowledge about adapting to climate change. It is anticipated that as a consequence of the networking opportunities this initiative has provided, the participants will be able to confidently contribute to their respective community’s capacity to adapt to change, build resilience and reduce the stressors which can lead to mental illness.
A National Workshop is being held in Cairns on the 24th September 2010 where the design, methods and outcomes of the training will be shared with interested organisations.
D Fenner1, L Peau2 and C Shelton3 1American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources 2American Samoa Department of Commerce 2American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group
Pacific islands will be disproportionately impacted by climate change. Their overall contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is much lower than many other nations, yet they will be among the first to experience negative impacts. Coral reefs are recognized as ecosystems that are severely threatened by climate change impacts, including coral bleaching and ocean acidification. Coral reefs are critical to Pacific Island states and American Samoa in particular.
In American Samoa, there have already been several documented severe mass coral bleaching events and some locations now experience annual coral bleaching. Coral reefs not only provide vital shoreline protection from storm surge and waveaction in American Samoa; they also have the potential to contribute significantly to tourism and fisheries. As sea levels rise and mass bleaching events kill corals, coastal areas will become increasingly prone to erosion and inundation from wave action. Additionally, our reefs are unique in their coralline algae proportion. Coralline algae will suffer ocean acidification affects prior to corals, and American Samoa’s reefs contain more coralline algae than other reefs in the region. Both coralline algae and corals are major reef builders, and acidification impacts can result in potentially severe impacts.
To guide our efforts in addressing the climate change threat, American Samoa has created a Local Action Strategy (LAS). The LAS was developed through collaboration between seven government agencies and identifies our vision for the future of American Samoa’s reefs in the face of climate change and highlights objectives and actions that will fulfill our vision. The LAS vision is to “Sustain healthy coral reef ecosystems and build related socio-economic conditions which are resilient to climate change”. This strategy has taken a three-pronged approach to tackling climate change impacts through information gathering, adaptation, and mitigation activities. The LAS goal is to “Address critical knowledge gaps, evaluate strategies, translate information into active management actions, and improve monitoring and predictions”. The five LAS objectives are:
• Objective 1: Increase research and monitoring to implement and support management strategies for reducing climate change and its impacts.
• Objective 2: Establish adaptive management strategies to maximize coral reef ecosystem resilience.
• Objective 3: Foster adaptation and resilience of human communities and economic systems to climate change impacts.
• Objective 4: Reduce American Samoa’s carbon footprint and encourage progress towards a sustainable low carbon economy.
• Objective 5: Create a climate change informed populace, actively taking steps to reduce climate change causes and impacts.
These objectives will increase our understanding of climate change impacts on the territory and assist us in identifying the most successful adaptation strategies.
To fully understand future climate change impacts and what actions will most effectively address those impacts, we are supporting work on coral bleaching mitigation. There are experiments currently underway examining both cooling and shading corals to determine affects these techniques may have on coral bleaching. Early results are encouraging, and forthcoming results can translate directly into management actions.
Communities in American Samoa depend on coral reefs, and community engagement is a vital part of planning for climate change impacts. Projects are underway working at the village level to increase village understanding of their vulnerabilities and risks from climate change, and then determine methods to adapt to the future, including planning for alternative livelihoods, physical relocation, and infrastructure improvements. These projects combined with upcoming PLA (Participatory Learning in Action) workshops and a summit focused on climate change planned for fall 2010 will capture community input in managing for climate change impacts.
Mitigation activities at the territorial level include continuing implementation of an Executive Order reducing American Samoa’s carbon footprint.
Our collaborative efforts and combination of information gathering, adaptation, and mitigation activities are preparing ourselves for a future with adverse climate change impacts on our islands. Coral reefs are fundamental parts of island cultures and ecosystems and we must work to adapt our behaviors and minimize impacts.
R Yoseph1 1School of Environment, Griffith University, Australia
The escalating big policy problem of climate change for Indonesia is to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change in the most effective ways and as quickly as possible because of the increasing trends, variability and extremes of climate related disasters and threats. This was acknowledged by Indonesia when it ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which also created a political and social necessity for Indonesia to adequately respond to climate change (IPCC 2007).
If Indonesia does not develop effective and timely climate change adaptation policy, then “with most Indonesian people living in natural resource-dependent communities and about 30 per cent living in areas less than 10 metres above average sea level” Indonesia may face serious if not disastrous consequences for coastal human settlements with any escalation of climate change impacts. Much is needed to develop suitable policies for Indonesia for climate change adaptation, which lacks coordination, institutional capacity and human resources. This paper outlines the background and progress so far, and what is needed for policy development in key areas for Indonesia.
Session 3.2 | 8.30am – 10.30am | 1st July 2010
Chair: Lesley Hughes, Macquarie University, Australia
- Drought proofing rural economies in semi-arid areas: lessons from NE Brazil: Antonio Magalhães, Esquel Brazil Foundation, Brazil – Presentation (PDF)
- The urban poor in developing countries: the biggest adaptation challenge: David Dodman, International Institute for Environment and Development, UK – Presentation (PDF)
- The challenge of coastal erosion in West Africa: Isabelle Niang, University of Dakar, Senegal – Presentation (PDF)
- Towards better water security in China: the challenge of climate change: Jun Xia, Centre for Water Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China – Presentation (PDF)
Video: 3.2 Plenary: Four Case Studies in Adaptation
Photos: 3.2 Plenary
Video: 3.2 Plenary Q&A
Download the abstract book here (PDF)
Session 1.1 | 8.30am – 10.30am | 29th June 2010
Chair: Professor Ian O’Connor, Vice Chancellor, Griffith University
- Welcome to Country, Mr Graham Dillon, Kombumerri elder
- Welcome by conference convenors Jean Palutikof, NCCARF and Andrew Ash, CSIRO – Jean Palutikof Presentation (PDF)
- Welcome: Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water
- Professor Joseph Alcamo, Chief Scientist, UNEP
- Dr R.K. Pachauri, Chair, IPCC and Dr Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice Chair, IPCC: Climate Change, Adaptation, and IPCC
- Professor Martin Parry, Imperial College, UK, The challenge for adaptation: the legacy from Copenhagen – Presentation (PDF)
- Johanna Mustelin and Laura Canevari Youth perspectives on climate change adaptation
Download the abstract book here (PDF)
Check out the photos of day 2 of the conference
or check out our flickr site here
Session 2.2 | 8.30am – 10.30am | 30th June 2010
Chair: Andrew Haines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
- Equity and the economic impacts of adaptation: Neil Adger, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, UK – Presentation (PDF)
- Climate change adaptation in a post-Copenhagen world: the view from Japan: Nobuo Mimura, Ibaraki University, Japan – Presentation (PDF)
- Bridging the science policy interface: Diana Liverman, University of Arizona, USA- Presentation (PDF)
- New scenarios for adaptation: Mark Stafford Smith, CSIRO, Australia- Presentation (PDF)
2.2 Plenary session video:
2.2 Plenary session photos:
2.2 Plenary session Q&A video: