Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Climate Adaptation Outlook

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The Department of Everything (DIICCSRTE) has released Climate Adaptation Outlook: A Proposed National Adaptation Assessment Framework (pdf) for public comment. So I am asking, begging, imploring anyone who has a serious interest in how this country adapts to climate change to read it, think about it and respond. It’s not a formal public submission process with a specific submission date. The document and website both say this:

In the second half of 2013, the Department will consult stakeholders on the proposed assessment framework and indicators set out in this report. Those wishing to provide comments on the proposed framework can email them to adaptationoutlook@innovation.gov.au.

So what is the framework like? I was handed a copy earlier today and have had a quick look on the way back from the NCCARF Adaptation Conference. It is a handsome document that is very sensible, like a new pair of shoes. Given the sheer resistance to evidence-driven policy-making that we see in Australian politics and the media, this approach is not surprising. It separates thinking about adaptation into drivers (the factors we have to deal with), activities (what we can do) and outcomes. The latter are value-based: what attributes of the future do we value given a specific set of actions?  The document deals with a number of sectors and also addresses the issue of indicators for drivers, activities and outcomes.

The good thing about this outlook is that it doesn’t depend on scientific predictions, but focuses on what do we, as Australians, want in a future where climate – and many other things – are changing? It is a document that concentrates on awareness and encouragement. What it lacks is a clear discussion on roles, responsibilities and resources. I encourage you to read this document, consider and make a submission – you never know – an invitation to a stakeholder workshop might be the outcome. But if dozens, or maybe hundreds of people respond, policy development in this area will be seen as politically rewarding. So go for it. We will get better policy outcomes as a result.

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Written by Roger Jones

June 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

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