Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Archive for the ‘Adaptation’ Category

Pentagon adapts

leave a comment »

The US Department of Defense has just released their FY 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, Secretary Chuck Hagel saying in the foreword “Politics or ideology must not get in the way of sound planning.”

The Department has established three broad adaptation goals:

Goal 1: Identify and assess the effects of climate change on the Department.

Goal 2: Integrate climate change considerations across the Department and manage associated risks.

Goal 3: Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders on climate change challenges.

These goals are supported by four lines of effort:

  1. Plans and Operations include the activities dedicated to preparing for and carrying out the full range of military operations. Also included are the operating environments in the air, on land, and at sea, at home and abroad, that shape the development of plans and execution of operations.
  2. Training and Testing are critical to maintaining a capable and ready Force in the face of a rapidly changing strategic setting. Access to land, air, and sea space that replicate the operational environment for training and testing is essential to readiness.
  3. Built and Natural Infrastructure are both necessary for successful mission preparedness and readiness. While built infrastructure serves as the staging platform for the Department’s national defense and humanitarian missions, natural infrastructure also supports military combat readiness by providing realistic combat conditions and vital resources to personnel.
  4. Acquisition and Supply Chain include the full range of developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining equipment and services and leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet the Department’s current and future needs, including requirements analysis.

It’s a sensible and clearly articulated road map that outlines the complexity of operating a large agency in increasingly complex settings. Go read. It’s the kind of planning we need in Australia – instead we have ideologically-induced paralysis.

Written by Roger Jones

October 14, 2014 at 8:15 am

The problem-solution framework

leave a comment »

A colleague, Celeste Young has just released a guide for adaptation practitioners: The problem solution framework: process guidance for adaptation practitioners. You can download it here: Problem Solution FINAL

This is a really useful guide that doesn’t worry too much about what climate information people have to deal with, but deals with the question – “Ok, you have decided to adapt, so how do you go about it?”

From the introduction:

The problem solution framework was developed by actively working with researchers and climate change practitioners in Australia over a number of years to assist practitioners in making sense of the information they received and how to apply it in their context. What I observed during this time was that successful practitioners in this field often intuitively used innovation techniques, but did not always recognise innovation or understand how it worked. I found that in some cases practitioners were getting stuck in the problem phase and continuing to use problem framing throughout the process, which could cause barriers to action and engagement.

What needed to be understood was the changeover between the problem and solution phases, and which work practices were best suited for the different parts of the adaptation process. I also found in some cases that practitioners were moving into the solution phase without fully understanding the nature of the problem which could lead to unrealistic expectations and poor outcomes.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

The scientific origins of the gradualist adaptation narrative and how to move beyond it

with 2 comments

The following statements are typical of the gradualist adaptation narrative:

  1. Within limits, the impacts of gradual climate change should be manageable.
  2. Therefore, climate change adaptation can be understood as: (a) adapting to gradual changes in average temperature, sea level and precipitation.
  3. Gradual climate change allows for a gradual shift in the mix of crops and to alternative farming systems.

So why are Gauss and Newton in the bath and Ed Lorenz in the hot tub?

Bath&Jacuzzi

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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

Meeting Report: Adaptation Conversations

leave a comment »

The following article was written for an online publication but never made it out the door. It describes the recent Victorian Centre of Climate Change Adaptation Research Annual Forum. It seems a pity to waste, so here it is. Co-written with a colleague, Celeste Young.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change started researching adaptation in the early 1990s, the relationship between science and policy was viewed differently to how it is today. The IPCC’s brief was to offer policy-relevant, not policy-prescriptive advice. Policymakers would take scientist’s findings on climate change and impacts and develop adaptation policy to manage those impacts. These findings were contained in a report handed over from the science to the policy community every five years or so.

Times have changed. Adaptation scholars looked at this methodology (automatic download of pdf) and said “IPCC, You’re doin’ it wrong!” Adaptation is a social process. The focus has therefore shifted from getting better predictions out of science to getting a better understanding of decision-making under climate change. Sure, adaptation needs information on how the climate may change but adaptation decisions are made using information from many other sources; such as “what changes are we seeing in markets, policy, society and the environment?” And, most importantly, “what are the goals of people doing adaptation?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Roger Jones

August 15, 2012 at 7:03 am

Posted in Adaptation, Australia, Conference, Scenarios

Tagged with

Provoking comment and framing risk

with one comment

A couple of my recent forays into the media have provoked comment below the articles themselves and in emails sent querying particular points. They are worth unpacking because they reflect on the different between the straight communication of science and framing risk.

One was in reference to a recent op-ed in The Age. In it, I said:

If people accept the 0.0038 and 0.02 degree benefits as valid then they also accept the science behind a 5.3 degrees warming for business as usual (As in the emission scenario created by Treasury for the 2008 Garnaut Review). Who wants to live in a world warming by 5 degrees or more? Major food crops could not be grown in many parts of the world, projected sea level rise would be tens of metres, most of the shelled species in the ocean would not survive, ecosystems would be disrupted as the pace of change outstripped their ability to adapt and millions to billions of people would lose environmental security leading to mass migrations never before seen.

That prompted an email from an earth scientist wanting to know what peer-reviewed reference I was using for the projected tens of metres of sea level rise. I sent back this now famous diagram and a note saying that I wasn’t putting it on a timetable. He then replied suggesting that people could be misled into thinking that the date was 2100 (because that was tied to the two temperature measures) and that I was being alarmist. Because it would take thousands of years to be realised. Read the rest of this entry »