2013 Keynote speakers

Keynote speakers and their plenary presentations

Speaker_Cohen Stewart J. Cohen is senior researcher with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Section of Environment Canada, and an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Forest Resources Management, at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. His research interests are in climate change impacts and adaptation through shared learning between researchers and practitioners, a process sometimes referred to as Participatory Integrated Assessment. Dr. Cohen has been a member of various author teams for national climate change reports in Canada and the United States, and since 1992, has contributed to publications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.  He is a member of the author team for the ongoing IPCC 5th Assessment Report, due to be completed in 2014.

Download Stewart J. Cohen’s plenary presentation: ‘Where do people fit into adaptation?’



David Dodman is a researcher in the Climate Change and Human Settlements Groups at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). His is a geographer with a background in urban environmental management, climate change, and urbanisation. His research interests are primarily adaptation to climate change in low-income urban centres. He recently co-edited Global Change and Caribbean Vulnerability: environment, economy and society at risk and Adapting Cities to Climate Change: understanding and addressing the development challenges.

Download David Dodman’s plenary presentation: ‘Resilient people and resilient cities: Bringing household coping and urban adaptation together’


Speaker_WilbanksTom Wilbanks is a Corporate Research Fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  He has been active for more than three decades in international and national energy, environmental, and sustainability research and policy analysis, including the international Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for which he shared a part of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and the three US national climate change assessments.   In IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, he is Coordinating Lead Author for the Working Group II chapter on “Climate-resilient Pathways:  Adaptation, Mitigation, and Sustainable Development.”   He has led several reports on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation possibilities for the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Global Change Research Program, and the Department of Energy, emphasizing issues for human settlements and the energy sector, including serving as chair of the NAS/NRC Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change from 2004 to 2010 and as a member of the NAS/NRC Committee on America’s Climate Choices and as chair of the adaptation panel for that study, published in May 2010 as Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change.

Download Tom Wilbanks’s plenary presentation: ‘Commitments to share knowledge: Toward adaptation partnerships that cross boundaries’


Speaker_LoveGeoff Love is currently the World Meteorological Organization’s Director, Weather and Disaster Risk Reduction Services, based in Geneva, Switzerland. While in Geneva DR Love was active in the development of the Global Framework for Climate Services.  Prior to moving to Geneva Dr Love was the Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Meteorology (Director of Meteorology: 2003-2008).  He has worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as its Secretary (2001-2003) and as a Bureau Member of the IPCC through the preparation of the Fourth Assessment Report (2003-2008).  From 1975 to 2001 Dr Love was employed by the Bureau of Meteorology in a variety of roles including as a research scientist, forecaster and administrator.  Dr Love has also been active in the technical programmes of the World Meteorological Organization for over 20 years, serving as the chair of various working groups and as vice president and president of its Commission for Basic Systems. Dr Love has a BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees from La Trobe University, a PhD from Colorado State University, USA (in Atmospheric Sciences), and an MBA from Deakin University.

Download Geoff Love’s plenary presentation: ‘Taking climate research to operations: Responding to the meningitis challenge in Africa’


Speaker_NobleIan Noble is Chief Scientist at the Global Adaptation Institute. He recently retired as Lead Climate Change Specialist at the World Bank. Before joining the Bank in 2002 he was Professor of Global Change Research at the Australian National University. An ecologist by training, he held senior roles in the IPCC process and in international cooperative research on climate change as part of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) including chairing the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE). In Australia he participated in the public and policy debate over responses to climate change and served as a Commissioner in an inquiry into the future of the Australian forests and forest industries.


Speaker_GitayHabiba Gitay is a Senior Environmental Specialist in the Climate Policy and Finance Department of the World Bank. She joined the World Bank in 2007 where she has developed programs for capacity building, seeking innovative ideas for climate resilient development. She also provides technical leadership for integrating climate change into development strategies and plans; country-led work within the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience in Zambia, Samoa and the Pacific region. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was at the Australian National University and an independent consultant for 5 years, working widely with many international organisations on adaptation to climate change, capacity development and science-policy interface.  Habiba has been a Coordinating Lead Author for chapters related to ecosystem impacts of climate change and adaptation options in five IPCC reports; lead author and capacity development lead in Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; Vice-Chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). She has a PhD in Ecology from University of Wales.

Download Habiba Gitay’s plenary presentation: ‘Effective climate resilient development’


Speaker_NurseyBrayMelissa Nursey-Bray is a Senior Lecturer in Geography, Environment and Population (GEP), University of Adelaide. She is Deputy Director of the Centre for Coastal Research and theme leader for adaptive governance as part of the Asia-Pacific Governance Research Centre. She is also co-theme leader for communities, as part of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity, Chair of the REDMAP Community Advisory Committee, winner of an ALTC Outstanding Teacher Award, a past Churchill Fellow (2001) and Tyndall Fellow (2009). Melissa’s research interest is the examination of how communities or communities of interest become involved in decision making and in this context she has worked primarily in the area of Indigenous resource management, protected area management, and more recently in climate change adaptation. Melissa has over 45 publications in these areas of interest. Her current activities include being a researcher within the CSIRO Research Cluster (with a focus on conflict, social learning and communities of practice), comparative work on fisheries, food security and adaptation in India and Australia, and investigation of how Indigenous peoples in Australia are adapting to climate change.

Download Melissa Nursey-Bray’s plenary presentation: ‘Country – Climate – Change: The Arabana’


Speaker_NelsonKate Nelson has worked in Local Government for over 20 years and is currently the Director Planning and Community at East Gippsland Shire.  Kate holds qualifications in Planning, Rural Resource Management, Business Management and Public Policy development.  Her professional role is now focused on strategic community development with responsibilities for strategic planning, community and social planning, environmental sustainability (including understanding the impacts to the community resulting from climate change), community programs including libraries, disability access, transport, aged, youth and early years services.  Kate also has responsibility for Emergency Management, which is viewed as a key community planning and development function at the Shire.

Download Kate Nelson’s plenary presentation: ‘Where the rubber hits the road: Important things we’ve learnt so far….’


Speaker_LeeChristopher Lee has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of NSW, specialising in development economics and a Masters in Environmental Management from Macquarie University.  He has a broad background having worked at the Reserve Bank, universities in Australia and Singapore, and his own publishing company. Since 2005 he has worked for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in its many forms, firstly as an economist in Economic Services and more recently in climate change policy. Chris is currently the Manager of Impacts and leads NSW policy and program development in Climate Change Adaptation. Chris has been working on climate change policy for the past four years. He has led the development of methodologies and implementation of Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessments in regional NSW, and the ongoing development of an Adaptation Strategy for metropolitan Sydney. He has had a leadership role in the development regional climate projections for NSW and driving end user engagement to deliver locally relevant information. He currently sits as an independent member on the NCCARF Board.

Download Christopher Lee’s plenary presentation: ‘Building capacity in government and local communities – NSW approaches to adaptation’


20090122adf9901_073.JPGMajor General Richard Wilson was an infantryman with extensive practical command experience at all levels from platoon to division. He has served as the Chair of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority since September 2011 and retired from the Army in January 2012. During his 39 years in the military, Major General Wilson held a wide range of staff appointments, mainly in the areas of operations, plans, strategy and intelligence. He also served on exchange with the US Army (1991-1992) and has operational service which includes assignment with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (July 2001-March 2002). A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon (1977), the Australian Army Command and Staff College (1990) and the United States Army War College (2001), Major General Wilson is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has educational qualifications that include a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales (1977), a Master of Letters from the University of New England (1983), and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of New South Wales (1986).

Download Major General Richard Wilson’s plenary presentation: ‘Queensland’s reconstruction challenge’


Speaker_BraganzaKarl Braganza is the manager of the Climate Monitoring Section at the Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate and Water Division. This Section is responsible for collecting and analysing climate data for Australia and the region. It provides sector-relevant climate information related to drought, bushfires, extreme events and climate change. Karl has a doctorate in applied mathematics from Monash University, where his research centred on understanding climate variability and change using climate modelling, instrumental observations and palaeo-climate evidence.


Speaker_NolanMichael Nolan has led over 100 climate change risk and adaptation projects around the world for global corporations and governments at all levels. He has almost 20 years experience in sustainability and climate change. Michael has represented the Australian Green Infrastructure Council in developing an Australian Standard for Climate Change Adaptation for Settlements and Infrastructure. Michael also led the development of economic analysis for climate adaptation for coastal regions, the water, power and transport sectors in Australia and Asia. He is currently supporting USAID in delivery of its Climate Adaptation Knowledge Management Task Order.

Download Michael Nolan’s plenary presentation: ‘San Francisco: Investing in resilience’


Speaker_BrownPeter Brown trained as a Geographer and Urban Planner and now  manages the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Program as well as the environmental compliance program for the agency. He is also a faculty member in the Environmental Science Department at the University of San Francisco teaching urban climate adaptation and sustainable transportation courses. Peter has done biological conservation work in Costa Rica and helped write the first national environmental policy plan for the nation of El Salvador.  He has 15 years of sustainable urban policy and infrastructure experience in cities throughout California. Peter is an avid cyclist and believes that San Francisco can be among the leading world cities in urban adaptation strategies.


Speaker_JefferyStephen Jeffery is an Executive Manager with the Suncorp Group of insurance companies and has more 15 years of industry experience. Starting his career as an actuarial trainee in 1997 Stephen has progressively built an in-depth knowledge of the insurance world through his positions both here in Australia and overseas. In his current position, Stephen is responsible for the Suncorp Group’s home insurance portfolio across brands such as AAMI, APIA, GIO, Vero and Suncorp Insurance, and brings a passion for converting numbers into real world action. On weekends you’ll find Stephen exploring the mountain bike trails of South East Queensland with his wife and two children.