Report on alternative futures for climate change adaptation

Past, present and future landscapes: Understanding alternative futures for climate change adaptation of coastal settlements and communities

Authors: Philip Morley, Jamie Trammell, Ian Reeve, Judith McNeill, David Brunckhorst and Scott Bassett

National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)

4 February 2013

Though shaped by past elements, history demonstrates that future landscapes will be very different from those of the present. This is particularly so in coastal areas of rapid urban growth. The effects of climate change in the future will therefore be impacting on these quite different landscapes, not on those we see today.

To gauge the severity of these impacts we must understand the future settlement patterns likely to emerge. This project examines the past and present drivers of landscape change in the Northern Rivers region of north-eastern New South Wales, and then models several scenarios for the future, based on land use planning decisions that might be taken. For example, the two extremes are a scenario of ‘deregulated’ growth, and one which takes a high degree of precaution, a ‘high climate adapted’ scenario. The effects of these ‘alternative futures’ can be visualised, and the area of land, and number of people affected by climate change impacts, quantified. The approach enables important elements of the landscape to be integrated. Also, by enabling alternative futures to be visualised, the method may also be used to engage the community to have a say in their preferred pathway.

  • Publication Type : Report
  • Publisher Type : Academic research centre
  • Coverage : Australia, New South Wales
  • Copyright : Institute for Rural Futures and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
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Report on barriers to climate change adaptation

Cross-scale barriers to climate change adaptation in local government, Australia

Authors: Pierre Mukheibir, Natasha Kuruppu, Anna Gero, Jade Herriman

National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)

4 February 2013

This report documents a study aimed at identifying cross-scale barriers to planned adaptation within the context of local government in Australia, and the development of enabling actions to overcome these barriers. Many of the impacts of climate change and variability have been, or will be, experienced at the local level. As a result, local governments in Australia (and overseas) have initiated plans to adapt to these impacts. However, the pathway to planning and implementation of adaptation is not a barrier-free process. Local governments are embedded in a larger governance context that has the potential to limit the effectiveness of planned adaptation initiatives on the ground. Identifying barriers or constraints to adaptation is an important process in supporting successful adaptation planning, particularly where reworking the path-dependent institutional structures, organisational cultures and policy-making procedures is required.

The report outlines the theoretical and conceptual framework underpinning the research, and explains the methodology and activities undertaken to gather data throughout the project. The study used a mixed-methods social research approach, drawing on interviews, case examples and stakeholder workshops, and including participants from within local government and also located in other government agencies and industry groups. A literature review provides background to the regulatory context as well as the types of adaptation funds and programs that have supported local government in adaptation planning to date in Australia. The common barriers to adaptation within the local government context in Australia and internationally are synthesised.

The research revealed that the cross-scale barriers faced by local government in relation to climate change adaptation are not unique to the field of climate change adaptation in Australia. It also showed that many of the barriers are faced by councils around Australia, and can be considered to fall into four main thematic areas: (1) poor understanding of the risks of limited access to and the uncertainty of climate change impact-related information; (2) inconsistent governance structures, coordination, communications and leadership between the vertical tiers and horizontal levels of government; (3) inconsistent problem definition and appropriate climate change adaptation frameworks to use for planning; and (4) competing priorities in planning and implementing responses due to limited operational resourcing, in areas such as staffing and funding.

  • Publication Type: Report
  • Publisher Type: Academic research centre
  • Coverage: Australia
  • Copyright: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
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Modelling for policy analysis of climate change adaptation

Integrated whole-farm modelling: an application for policy analysis of climate change adaptation

Oscar Cacho, Chris Chan, Rukman Wimalasuriya – Department of Primary Industries

7 February 2012

This paper describes an integrated modelling approach suitable for analysing a wide range of policy, economic and environmental issues where spatial heterogeneity is important.The approach involves overlaying whole-farm models onto GIS map layers of land use, soil, climate and topographic information. The integration is implemented through a Matlab® platform connected to a suite of Excel® based farm models. This approach enables flexible, efficient data processing and scenario analysis. The integrated modelling platform can be used to assess Victoria-wide and regional farm-level impacts of climate and weather changes, policies, market developments and new technologies. It supports comparative assessments of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenarios, but not the identification of farm adjustment paths over time. To demonstrate its functionality, we present an application that evaluates possible consequences of technological adaptation under a common climate change scenario in affecting farming systems and land-use patterns in Victoria.