Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Bolt vs Bandt – pants on fire

with 10 comments

Adam Bandt published an op-ed in The Guardian on October 16 linking Tony Abbot’s repudiation of the carbon price to increased climate risks for Australian’s then tweeted it with a link to the current fires in NSW. Andrew Bolt had to tell us how morally bankrupt Bandt is in the HeraldSun today. He cited me:

“Nothing in the records shows ­global warming has made bushfires bigger or deadlier in NSW – or ­globally. The US is recording its quietest fire season a decade.

The most telling point against Bandt’s alarmism, of course, is that global temperatures have barely changed for 15 years. Indeed, Canberra last week recorded its coldest October night in history. Like Sydney’s hot spell, it’s called weather, Adam, not climate change.

So Bandt is wrong about the cause of the fire and wrong to pretend these fires are worse. He’s wrong to imply global temperatures have been steadily rising, and wrong to claim Abbott could make the slightest difference.

Just ask Professor Roger Jones, an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which estimates that even if Abbott kept Labor’s carbon tax policies, Australia would at best cut temperatures by an imperceptible 0.0038 degrees by 2100.

So Bandt is wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. And a hypocrite as well as a vulture. Oh, and a disgrace.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

October 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Who should fund Australia’s adaptation to climate change?

leave a comment »

Reposted from The Conversation

If we haven’t heard much about carbon policy this election, we’ve heard even less about the other side of the climate equation – adaptation. We’re already seeing an increase in extreme weather, and climate models predict we’ll see more in the future, costing us potentially billions of dollars. Adaptation attempts to answer how we will deal with the future.

In light of this, the shadow minister for climate change Greg Hunt announced A$9 million for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility in Queensland, or NCCARF.

NCCARF has come to the end of its first five years of funding without renewal, and has been running on a skeleton staff. The funding announced by the Coalition may give the facility a new lease on life, but when it comes to adapting to climate change, is this enough? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

September 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Climate Adaptation Outlook

leave a comment »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

June 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Isn’t stalking illegal?

leave a comment »

But I digress. Kevin Rudd has risen twice, breaking the souffle effect and reinforcing the glass ceiling. Graham Readfearn has a great post on The Grauniad environmental blog: Can Kevin Rudd protect Australia’s climate change credibility?

Given that Greg Combet has resigned, Australia has no climate change minister at present. And what about policy? Let’s see how the government manages (perhaps in its last few days) to manage the “great moral, environmental and economic challenge of our age.”

Written by Roger Jones

June 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Ecosystems – the slippery slope to slime

leave a comment »

NCCARF Adaptation Conference

Day 1 Tuesday 25th June 2013, 1.00-2.30 pm

Whatever we do for our ecosystems we know that climate change means a fundamental shift in what our ecosystems look like. Arguably it is where aggressive mitigation might be the best adaptation option. In the absence of this, what do we do? If we keep doing what we do now (build resilience, biosecurity, reduce fragmentation) is it enough? Should we be pragmatic and start preparing for trade-offs – determine sacrificial species or ecosystems that we can’t save? Is it simply an economic exercise of optimising our investment to get the best diversity bang for our buck? Or are we simply on the slippery-slope to slime with weeds and algae the future of biodiversity.

Facilitator: Craig James (CSIRO)

  • Doing what we already know – is it enough or is there a resilience deficit? (Lesley Hughes – MQU)
  • The marine environment – from coral to slime (Alistair Hobday – CSIRO)
  • Location, location,location – are our National Parks in the right place? (Steve Williams – JCU)
  • Having our cake and eating it – water supply and biodiversity it’s all possible (Max Finlayson – CSU)
  • It’s a simple equation – making the pragmatic decisions of trade-offs, optimisation (Eve McDonald-Madden – UQ)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

June 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm

NCCARF Climate Adaptation Conference 2013

with one comment

The NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility) Climate Adaptation Conference climate adaptation knowledge + partnerships is on from June 25-27 in Sydney. I’m attending to present the results of our recently completed project Valuing Adaptation under Rapid Change. There are many researchers and practitioners of climate adaptation from Australia and overseas here, but there is also a sense of things winding down, because NCCARF finishes up at the end of June with no obvious Commonwealth footprint in climate adaptation beyond that date.

Throw in the recent efforts by some state governments to open up for business and cut green tape, there is a genuine uncertainty about the future of research that aims to improve the three pillars of sustainable development: economy, environment and society, over long time scales. Ahh yes, but I hear you say, research is like policy, it doesn’t only need to be enacted (i.e., published in the peer reviewed literature), it needs to be enabled and implemented. And that’s something that research has not always been able to do. NCCARF has managed to do some of this, but with mixed success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Global warming breaks link between SAM and ENSO

leave a comment »

Global warming has caused SAM and ENSO to divorce according to Guojian Wang and Wenju Cai, published in Nature Science Reports on June 20. This is having major impacts on Australia and has contributed to the warm and dry conditions over the southern part of the continent since the late 1960s.

SAM is the Southern Annular Mode surrounding Antarctica, a band of wind and water that distributes hot, high pressure and cold, low pressure lobes around the Southern Ocean. This transfers atmospheric mass (pressure) between the mid and high latitudes. The positive phase is highly correlated with a positive phase of ENSO (the El Niño-Southern Oscillation), La Niña. A positive phase of SAM forces westerlies further south in autumn-winter, but in summer allows the easterly trades greater access, bringing in more moisture from the tropics and enhancing La Niña summer rainfall.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rethinking rural research in Australia

with one comment

This is an excellent article by Andrew Campbell on The Conversation, republished here under a Creative Commons licence.

Rethinking rural research in Australia

By Andrew Campbell, Charles Darwin University

Rural research is vital. It is about 10% of our national innovation system. Annual investment exceeds $1 billion, according to the Rural Research and Development Council. The rural sector and farm-dependent economy accounts for 12% of GDP, 14% of exports, 17% of employment, 60% of the land mass and between half and two-thirds of total water use. (Mining accounts for 9% of GDP, 35% of exports and 2.2% of employment.)

A vibrant, world-leading rural, environmental and agricultural research sector is more strategically important for Australia now than ever. This is clear from authoritative reviews on climate change, biosecurity, drought policy, biodiversity conservation, food security and energy-water-carbon intersections. The Australian Government has also received the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Rural R&D Corporations and the Rural Research and Development Council’s National Strategic Rural R&D Investment Plan.

All these reviews and reports say we need more and better rural research, development and in some cases extension. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

September 3, 2012 at 11:29 am

2012 Marine Report Card

leave a comment »

Warmer oceans, tropical species being found further south, decline in temperate species, the first signs of CO2 effects on shell production in Australian waters …

These are a few of the headlines from the Marine Climate Change in Australia, Impacts and Adaptation Responses 2012 Report Card (download pdf). Put together by the Marine Biodiversity and Resources Adaptation Network (NCCARF), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship. The reporting comprehensive,  covering the report card itself and six chapters on marine climate and thirteen on marine biodiversity. Alistair Hobday, summarising the report card on The Conversation.

Here’s a summary with some of my own conclusions about observed and projected changes. The latter you can take or leave as they’re based on my personal views about how climate changes. For recent and near future changes, I place a greater emphasis on how climate is likely to change rather than by how much. This places the emphasis more on the diagnosis and understanding of change rather than prediction. There’s a fair bit in doing this, so amongst other things I’m into today (like gardening, cooking and cleaning), I’ll update these sections as I go (Sunday 11 am, SST; Wednesday, SLR). Read the rest of this entry »

Industry Roundtable Context Paper

leave a comment »

The recent VCCCAR Annual Forum featured an industry roundtable breakfast, chaired by Anne Barker of City West Water, to discuss industry and adaptation to climate change. The roundtable was attended by a couple of dozen people from industry, public policy and research. The discussion was really interesting, with industry representatives talking about the opportunities they were pursuing, how targeted R&D could keep down product prices (e.g., in housing construction) and what kinds of supporting policy they would like to see. There are clearly lots of opportunities for collaboration between research and industry but they won’t be successful without close cooperation.

As part of the roundtable, an Industry Roundtable Context Paper (pdf download) was prepared by Celeste Young and myself. We tried to keep it simple and direct. It’s scope is also limited to Victoria, but we hope it also is relevant in a broader context. The main points are (not rocket science!): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

August 15, 2012 at 8:33 am