Phase 3. Compare differences in institutional policies, plans, processes and standards between target/analogue locations and determine if these are a function of climate differences

a) Method

Information on policies, plans, processes and related standards affecting various aspects of the natural and built environments will be gathered for each target and analogue location. For targets (T), both current (CT) and future target (FT) standards and processes will be identified, whilst in the case of analogues (A), only the current situation and standards (CA) will be considered. The proposed method is summarised in Table 2. The aim is to ascertain the differences between current and future standards for target sites (CT/FT), and then to compare future standards for target sites with the current standards for analogues (FT/CA). It will be important to understand the historical context in which the current standards and processes for the analogue have been developed and whether the climate was a key driver for these.

The research will introduce an innovative strategic asset management approach, piloted in SA and in the UN context by the researchers, whereby community needs and expectations drive service delivery programs, policies, strategies, plans and processes – including those related to supporting physical infrastructure and facilities.

In Table 2, each of the main aspects of built and natural systems (land use planning, infrastructure etc) will encompass a number of elements. For example, infrastructure will cover water, energy, transport, communications and utilities; housing/building will cover standards for wind speeds, thermal comfort, design for climate, orientation etc; eco-systems will cover water, land, flora/vegetation, fauna and air.

b) Preliminary identification of policies, plans and processes

Existing policies, plans and processes of relevant institutions for each location will be identified, acquired and examined for evidence of integration of climate change consideration and or adaptation.

In the case of the SA pair, where the target is Adelaide and the Spencer Region (Whyalla/Port Pirie) is the analogue, specific documents likely to be relevant include: SA Strategic Plan; 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide; Strategic Infrastructure Plan for SA; Tackling Climate Change: SA’s Greenhouse Strategy and SA Government Action Plan to 2012. Taking the 30 Year (spatial) Plan for Greater Adelaide as a focus, the risks and potential impacts of climate change for Greater Adelaide are recognised as increased average temperatures, extreme weather events such as heatwaves, and the need to secure water supplies, and this is reflected in Planning Principle 11: Climate change resilience. For Whyalla, the Community Plan: Whyalla Towards 2022 Vision will be relevant, as will the Port Pirie Regional Council Strategic Plan 2010-2019.

Similarly for the other target and analogue locations.

c) Workshops to engage stakeholders

Beginning with South Australia as a pilot, an initial series of workshops are planned in each target and analogue location, involving key stakeholders from those locations. Given that the prime purpose at this stage will be information gathering, these face-face workshops are expected to be more valuable and cost-effective than a large or paired workshops. The workshops will focus upon the main areas of work i.e. urban planning, transport and utilities infrastructure, housing, health and eco-system services. They will introduce and scope the Part I project, its objectives, methodology (as described in Tables 1-3), timings, highlight the justification for pairing (including presentation of data from other relevant analogue or target location), potential benefits for participants, and discuss barriers/risks and how these may be managed.

In addition, the workshops will ascertain:

  • What participants would like to gain from the project and how they may contribute
  • Identify all relevant plans, policies and processes, including (for target sites) projections for 2030 and 2070.
  • To what extent has climate change impacted upon and been integrated in these plans, policies, processes and standards.
  • Is it still to be addressed?
  • Which impacts are considered most relevant and important, and why?
  • Impacts of climate change projections on future policies etc. for 2030 and 2070.
  • Identify evidence-based case studies of climate driven adaptation, especially in analogue locations.
  • Identify any gaps and areas requiring attention in data, policies etc.

A key objective of the workshops will be to identify whether differences are climate-related (as opposed to differences that are not climate related). This will be informed by the case studies, identification of changes in climate (especially more extreme events e.g. floods) and how these have impacted upon policies, plans, processes and on the ground responses. During the opening workshops in each location, and especially the analogues, the opportunity will be taken to examine primary sources and, where possible, to observe adaptations resulting from implementation of changes to policies; plans or processes. The workshops will also highlight relationships between the various areas of work i.e. urban planning, utilities and transport infrastructure, housing developments, health and eco-system services.

Contact persons for further follow-up enquiries will be identified, including any other informants that may usefully be approached.

d) Further data collection and analysis

Via the nominated contact persons, the workshops will be followed by collection of additional data, with a series of telephone interviews.

Existing NCCARF Adaptation Research Networks (e.g. ARN Human Health, Social, Economic and Institutional Dimensions of Adaptation SEI, etc) will also be consulted for links to relevant research institutions and stakeholders in various locations to ensure the most up to date studies on reviews of policy and operational responses to climate change are obtained.

The research team will then review and analyse data and documents gleaned from the workshops and other sources. The data on standards related to aspects of built and natural systems will be examined in regards to various climatic factors, including temperature, rainfall, and extreme weather events, and will be summarised in a matrix similar to that shown in Table 3.

Table 3 is intended to highlight, for each pairing, the degree of adaptation to climate change in policies, plans, processes and on the ground actions – including evaluation of whether this adaptation is sustainable. It is to be expected that some of the adaptations may not be valid and sustainable e.g. provision of more air-conditioning units to cope with increased temperatures.

The categorisation (using colours) will be based upon holistic and integrated analysis, using risk management methodology as in AS/NZS 4360-2004: Risk Management, utilising the team’s experience in application of this standard. This will use criteria such as fatalities, heat stresses on health, greenhouse gas increases or decreases, system disruption, and impact on ecology and biodiversity. In this regard, the team will bring to bear its knowledge of integrated sustainability assessment covering economic, social and environmental sustainability.

An important part of this risk analysis will be determination of whether adaptations and differences are climate related. This will be informed by the evidence-based case studies, including examination of primary data for various locations, on-site observation, and the key questions addressed in the workshops and follow-up interrogation, as previously explained. Hence some boxes in the matrix may in fact not be coloured as they may not pose a risk that is required to be addressed in policies, plans or processes. The example in Table 3 is where less rainfall may not be seen to pose a risk for health in either the analogue or future target locations.

In addition, the table is intended to highlight priorities for further investigation in Part II of the Regional Climate Analogues Project. The largest gaps will signify the highest priorities requiring attention. Prioritisation will also be informed by ‘cross-issue’ analysis of the gaps, in discussion with stakeholders. For example, land use planning and housing patterns may be seen as more significant areas to affect changes than, say, individual housing. Moreover, risk analysis and prioritisation will also be undertaken across the range of climate change impacts. Thus, taking the previous example, coastal storm surges may represent higher risk to land use planning than higher temperatures. All this will provide a sound underpinning for Part II of the project.

In its final form, therefore, Table 3 will include hyperlinks to the above more in-depth investigation and analysis. This will be especially useful in examining the influence of climatic factors on the various policies, plans, processes and standards for land use planning, infrastructure, etc. The Historical Case Studies of Extreme Events (including heatwaves, floods, drought, water security, storms and cyclones) that formed part of Phase 1 of the Synthesis and Integrative Research Programme are a further source of data on climate adaption, helping to inform whether or not these differences and changes are climate related.