Parallel 4 – Frameworks for enabling adaptation

Chair: Christopher Lee


The new norm is no norm: adaptation for climate disruption (909)

Brendan Mackey 1

  1. Griffith University, QLD, Australia
The science is now clear that human perturbation of Earth’s climate system will continue for millennia, even if anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions cease immediately. The reason is related to the very long atmospheric lifetime of a pulse of COand the slow rate of deep ocean circulation, deposition and sedimentation processes which are the ultimate destination for carbon. It follows that global and regional climates most likely will not “settle down” into a new regime but will be continually disrupted “forever” (at least from a human perspective). The implications for climate change adaptation of continuous climatic disruption need to be addressed. Conventionally, adaptation assumes there is a norm, that is, a statistically definable set of climatic conditions that characterize a given time period, typically 30 years. Based on this norm, adaptation involves, among other things, each sector developing various kinds of standards, prescriptions and guidelines which accommodate both average and extreme weather conditions and anticipate and manage associated risks. If the new norm is no norm, however, conventional approached to adaptation will have to change. Here I consider some of the major implications of climatic disruption for adaptation and whether the adaptive management cycle as developed for natural resource management and conservation provides a useful operational framework.

Science to Solutions Research and Engagement (910)

Victoria Brown 1 , Adam Gray 2 , Rohan Hamden 2

  1. LGA SA, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  2. DEWNR, Adelaide, SA, Australia

From December 2013- June 2014, the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA SA) and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), along with project partners KPMG and RPS undertook a program of in-depth research and engagement designed to expand knowledge of the barriers to implementation of climate change adaptation actions in South Australia.

There is a plethora of existing research that identifies the broad areas where barriers to uptake of climate adaptation actions exist. The purpose of the research was to increase understanding of barriers from a regional/ local level in order to develop effective solutions.

The project team developed an approach to undertaking the research and engagement to achieve the goals of Phase One of the project- Research and Engagement. The outcomes have directly informed the activities currently being progressed in Phase Two of the project- Capacity Building.

The research identified opportunities where climate considerations can be effectively built into existing processes, without the need for onerous modifications or costly tools and resources. The research also highlighted specific barriers that are impeding current efforts to incorporate climate considerations into existing processes.

The presentation will describe the research methodology, research outcomes, and rationale for the approach we are now taking to build capacity across the State. It is expected that the outcomes of the project will be a combination of tools, methods and interventions, with the outputs also informing the policy direction of the LGA and DEWNR for the future of climate adaptation in South Australia.

Informing autonomous adaptation: information instruments in Australia and New Zealand (1090)

Jan McDonald 1 , Judy Lawrence 2

  1. University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia
  2. New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Trusted  and relevant information about climate risks and adaptation options can promote autonomous adaptation and manage the legal risks of responding to future climate change. Information gaps are a potential market failure and the effective and efficient provision of information is considered a critical role for governments.

A range of mechanisms exist for providing information about climate risks. These arise in different adaptation contexts, but have been widely deployed in spatial planning for flood, bushfire and coastal hazards. Measures may form part of a broader adaptation strategy, such as open days, public meetings, brochures, factsheets or web-based hazard maps; or they may have stronger legal force and apply to specific parcels of land, such as land information memoranda, notations on planning certificates and certificates of title.

This paper reviews the literature on information requirements for autonomous adaptation decision-making and the legal framework for their use in Australia and New Zealand. It outlines the range of instruments currently used in these jurisdictions; their legal status; the context in which they are deployed. We consider the legal and political consequences of recent attempts by local governments to use such instruments, including local backlash, litigation, and legislative reform, and explore the circumstances in which governments owe a duty to provide climate risk information. We conclude that greater consistency in the design, framing, implementation, communication and legal force of information instruments would enhance public acceptance, enabling them to fulfil their potential in facilitating autonomous adaptation.

Law as a driver of social change: a comparative case study on climate change adaptation. (912)

Tayanah O’Donnell 1 2

  1. Canberra Urban and Regional Futures, Bruce, ACT, Australia
  2. Institute of Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
A comparative case study has been completed in two coastal local government areas located in New South Wales, Australia. Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie were selected due to the significant amount of residential property ‘at risk’ of expected consequences arising from increased flood, storm surge and coastal hazards. In addition, at the time this work was undertaken each had markedly contrasting policy positions on climate change adaptation. A predominately qualitative methodology was utilised to explore climate change adaptation in the context of the rule of law and place-based governance.

Climbing the Ladder of Adaptation Engagement – a framework for overcoming adaptation inertia (913)

Paul Marshall 1 , Lara Hansen 2

  1. University of Queensland, Alligator Creek, QLD, Australia
  2. EcoAdapt, Washington, USA

Climate change is a daunting challenge for most managers and planners as they attempt to conduct their daily work. Often adaptation frameworks and theory seem equally unapproachable, resulting in practitioners getting lost in the process. Recent State of Adaptation Surveys indicate that even those who know they need to be incorporating the reality of climate change into their work are sometimes not making it through the necessary steps. The Adaptation Ladder of Engagement is a simple tool to track progress and map out next steps. It guides scientists, practitioners and communicators through seven steps to effective adaptation: awareness, assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, integration and sharing. The Ladder has proven a powerful tool for overcoming inertia in adaptation initiatives and identifying weak links in the adaptation chain of effort. It can also help analyze the distribution of effort across different elements of the adaptation process, highlighting aspects of adaptation that have received the most attention and those needing additional focus. Case studies from applying the Adaptation Ladder of Engagement illustrate its utility for detecting areas of need, for increasing engagement with practitioners, and for helping adaptation experts understand the areas of greatest need