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Regional Communities Driving Regional Impact Assessments Jo Mummery Head Land Management and Science Branch Presentation to the Second International Conference on Climate Impacts Assessments 30th June 2004
How are we currently placed? • Knowledge of likely change • - Adequate national projections Temperature Rainfall Source: CSIRO 2001
Science knowledge needs • Resolution - scale for decision making • Probabilistic analysis • Extreme events analysis • Likely to become more frequent and severe • Huge economic impact - 2002/3 drought: $6.6 billion & Gov’t assistance of $1.2 billion • Improved projections of extreme events- observations, specialised and high resolution modelling • Variability and change links
Current understanding of adaptation needs & options • Adaptation needs & options explored: • Water resources (learning from real 25% reduction in rainfall, 40% reduction in streamflow in sw WA) • Analysis of agricultural options (learning from variability) • Land use suitability • Biodiversity and climate change • Some analysis of transport infrastructure • Risk assessment for human health • Tools (socio-economic analysis tools lacking) • Sectoral costs of climate change impacts • Overall- there is still a long way to go!
The way forward • New Climate Change Adaptation Programme • Building national capacity • Improving the science/research base • Assessing the costs of impacts/cost-benefit tools • Communication and engagement • Integrated assessment • Developing impact and adaptation tools • Partnerships with States and industry to address national priorities (TAR, national risk assessment, consultation) – water, agriculture, coastal cities and infrastructure, key regions (MDB, sw WA, CGBR)
Case study 1: Cairns - Great Barrier Reef region (CGBR) integrated scoping study Photos courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The Cairns-GBR Region Left photo: courtesy of National Oceans Office
The CGBR region • Extremely significant natural values (2 World Heritage Areas) • Regional economy relies heavily on tourism and agriculture • Population around 250,000 • Gross regional product: $4.4 billion pa Tourism worth approx. $1 billion pa • Vulnerable to increased ocean & atmospheric temperatures, sea level rise, extreme events (cyclones, storm surges) • Vulnerability identified in TAR
Overall design - broad stakeholder base the key • Scoping study for full assessment – benefit transfer opportunities • 150 stakeholder invited to workshops supported by expert presentations. Stakeholders split into 3 groups • Workshops steps: • Stakeholders identify current climate issues & key regional sensitivities supported by expert presentations • Stakeholders determine non-climate stresses & climate change impacts on region, industries & communities • Stakeholders identify possible actions to deal with impacts, including barriers & synergies • Stakeholders prioritise issues & actions for the region
Step 1: climate dependencies • Natural ecosystem sustainability susceptible to temp, rf and extreme events • Tourism – temp extremes in summer (visitor number decline during coral bleaching periods) • Human health – vector borne diseases climate links (certain mosquitoes more difficult to control with increasing temp and rf) • Urban infrastructure – housing design and water provision susceptible to extreme events • Agriculture – variability primary productivity driver. Control of pests and weeds influenced by temp, rf. Fisheries – cyclones destroy habitat • Water resources – irrigation and environmental flows dependent on variations in rf and evaporation, extreme events relevant • Overall – no surprises, but immensely valuable for stakeholders. Provided solid information base for consideration of climate change and impacts
Step 2: climate change impacts • Stakeholders developed matrices linking sector issues to climate attributes • Agriculture (sugar, horticulture, cattle/beef) • Strongly climate dependent with varying impacts between industries • Potential short-term in plant production (CO2-fertilisation) • More than offset by long-term moisture availability • Changes in pest/weed incidence bring greater stress and increase costs • Heat stress on livestock – reduced milk yield (4-9%) • Reduced pasture production (10-30% by 2070) Natural systems and biodiversity Major issue – magnitude of biodiversity loss, limited reversibility • Sea level rise impact on coastal ecosystems (e.g. mangroves) • Reduced moisture for wet tropical rainforests • Endemic vertebrates reduced distribution by 60% with 1°C • Weed spread to upland areas (links to other stresses)
Step 2: climate change impacts ctd • Water resources • Combination of population growth and increases in temp and evaporation will increase demand • Possible reduced water quality through increased frequency of toxic algal blooms. Might be offset by more extreme rainfall events • Extreme rainfall events will increase amount of suspended sediment, negative flow-on effects on reef • Illustrates complexity of stakeholder identified interactions • Challenges to stormwater infrastructure with extreme rainfall events
Current 1-in-100 year storm surge extent 1-in-100 year storm surge extent under 2xCO2 conditions • Coastal regions, GBR • intense cyclones and storm surges: significant damage to infrastructure and essential services (Figure below- storm surge impact on Cairns) • Ocean warming, sea level rise, coral bleaching
Step 3: Possible adaptation actions • Adaptation options were identified by stakeholders eg • Agriculture and water • Cropping and grazing: water efficiency, species selection and modify management cycles • Pests, diseases & health • Design appropriate weed and pest controls (area targeted, improved detection), improve extreme weather early warning systems • Natural systems and GBR • Lower other environmental stresses to improve adaptive capacity • Mangrove buffer to facilitate inland retreat (other benefits) • Coastal and urban regions • Rehabilitate erosion prone coastal areas • New building standards for more extreme weather, development planning • Stormwater design
Step 4: Prioritise issues & actions for the region • Stakeholder were asked to prioritise impact importance and adaptation options - Priority 1: Water quality and availability • Priority 2: The Great Barrier Reef and tourism • Priority 3: Agriculture • Etc • Regional economic issues drove priority setting • Addressing knowledge gaps a cross-cutting priority, particularly socio-economic impacts, higher resolution scenarios, and integrated analyses
Some challenges and research priorities revealed from study • Regional projections - spatially understand vulnerability and risk at temporal and spatial scales needed for decision-making • Limited understanding of links between biophysical & socio-economic impacts - integrated assessments for key sectors needed, and tools to assess multiple impacts at regional scale • Regional modelling of land use and socio-economic change – needed to examine trade-offs between different land uses and sectors under different scenarios • Need to incorporate climate change in sectoral models • Enhanced monitoring needed eg sea level rise
Lessons and where to from here • Need to formalise adaptation – better links between Govts and industry, and removal of inconsistent policies • Utilising communication networks – options, what works • Adaptation strategies require engagement of regional authority, community and industry • Local solutions to local problems • AGO is investigating conducting a full integrated assessment of the region in collaboration with State Governments and research agencies • Potential benefit transfer of methods to other regions
Planning for climate change • The context • Regional and Local Government planners have a key role in helping communities adapt to climate change and planning decisions need to consider climate change • Many difficult and potentially costly impacts • The project • The PIA: Sustainable Regional and Urban Communities Adapting to Climate Change
Regional and urban communities adapting to climate change • Four-stage project aimed at preparing our communities and industries for the impacts associated with climate change through delivery of toolkit for planners • Project has been driven and undertaken by a professional body (the Planning Institute of Australia) concerned about climate change impacts • Sponsored by diverse interest groups (Govts, Insurance Australia Group, City Councils etc) • Into stage 3 and already award winning process!
The stages • Scoping study- consultation to establish the project need • Issues paper- establishing the basis for engagement of planners • Developing the tools for planners and communities • Refining tools and capacity building through regional participation
Stage 1- establishing the need • Scoping study to identify the current state of knowledge in the planning profession • Extensive stakeholder consultation • 50 participants were interviewed spanning government and consultant planners plus insurance representatives
Stage 1: results • No current tools, but suggestions included • Risk management framework • Land capability • Vulnerability assessment • Community consultation • Regional level most appropriate for climate change • Forecasts are seen as too uncertain and lack political and community support • There is an expectation nationally and internationally that planning will do 'something'. (PIA 2002)
Stage 2: establishing the basis • A series of issues papers looking at planning for climate change adaptation • Climate science • Natural environment • Built environment • Socio-legal considerations Peer reviewed at a workshop
Stage 2 results - ctd : • Planners need to be proactive in advising govts/statutory agencies on risks and in working with communities on adaptation options • Potential legal liability – duty of care to the community (compensation claims, “do nothing” could lead to a claim of negligence) • Planning measures to limit risk important – need to adopt a precautionary approach • Awareness of potential implications for insurance premiums or availability (eg a 25% increase in peak wind gusts can generate a 6.5 fold increase in building claims,impacting on insurance industry’s underwriting capacity in vulnerable regions) (PIA 2002)
Planning considerations Land use (PIA 2002)
Stage 3: establishing the tools • Based on needs identified by stakeholders, planning tools to be developed to help planners and communities address adaptation to climate change. • A complex framework spanning regional land use planning, natural resource management planning, local government planning schemes and laws • Systematic tools based on risk assessment that relate to infrastructure planning, development assessment guidelines, issues for local legislation, regional strategies
Stage 4: fine tuning and capacity building • Issues papers and tools to be workshopped through Planning Institute • Professional development to be driven by industry association • Tool kit to be web based and updated
Lessons and where to from here • Stages 3 and 4 beckons….. • Increased awareness and regional capacity • Project framework is applicable to other regions • Stakeholder involvement and ownership are the keys to success
Conclusion • Stakeholder involvement is essential in effective approaches to impact assessment and adaptation • Adaptation options and actions site specific and evolve over time. Science enhanced by local knowledge • Involvement processes take time and resources • Aspects of climate changesite specific but assessment methods benefit transfer • Further assessments and tools to come from National Climate Change Adaptation Program • Challenge to science community to support community processes through targeted and relevant information
Further information • Impacts and adaptation in Australia • www.greenhouse.gov.au – links to science and impacts • Case studies • Cairns/Great Barrier Reef • www.greenhouse.gov.au - links to science and impacts • report to be posted shortly • Planning Institute of Australia • http://www.planning.org.au/qld/climatechange/