Australia's Country Towns 2050: What Will A Climate Adapted Settlement Pattern Look Like
Written by: Andrew Beer, Selina Tually, Michael Kroehn, Julia Law, Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planing (CHURP), University of Adelaide
Published by: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Australia's Country Towns 2050: Preliminary Report (1.64M)
This report considers the impact of climate change on Australia's country towns out to the year 2050 and the capacity of this component of Australia's settlement system to adapt. This report is the first output from this project and presents the findings from the initial stages of the investigation.
This report does four things:
- It provides the conceptual foundation for the analysis of the capacity of Australia's country towns to respond to climate change, considering adaptation and maladaptation, the project impact of climate change on Australia's ecosystem and the conceptualisation of vulnerability;
- It reviews the current literature on climate change and Australia's settlement system, with particular reference to country towns, highlighting the challenges country towns will face over the coming decades and the importance of community action in preparing for the future;
- It considers the prospects facing the industries that support country towns currently and which will need to either survive or be replaced if these places are to have a future. It finds here that the evidence is mixed: climate change will have mixed impacts on rural and regional industries and that some industries that might be considered at risk are likely to thrive, at least in the short term.
- It tests the feasibility of developing an Index of Vulnerability for Australia's country towns. It concludes that the development of such an index is both practical and potentially worthwhile and that when mapped the results tell a compelling story about the distribution of country towns at risk.
The report concludes by noting that some of the policy implications of climate change for country towns are already evident. However a fuller understanding of how Australian society and Australian communities can prepare for a climate change-affected future awaits the completion of research in later reports that will present a fuller picture as the outputs of additional stages of analysis are presented.
This publication is attached as a PDF.
Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP (email)
Business: 8313 3304
Barriers to Effective Climate Change Adaptation - Productivity Commission
While most climate change adaptation will occur without the need for government intervention, through normal risk management activities, there is a need for policy reforms and initiatives to enhance this process, according to a draft report - Barriers to Effective Climate Change Adaptation - released by the Productivity Commission.
The Commission was asked to identify policy and regulatory barriers to effective climate change adaptation, and identify high priority reform options to address these barriers.
Presiding Commissioner Dr Wendy Craik noted that ‘the reform priority should be to enable better risk management in the current climate. Reforms to barriers to managing risks in an uncertain future climate should be a lower priority because the costs and benefits are also uncertain.'
High priority reforms identified by the Commission include reforms to enhance the flexibility of the economy, such as replacing taxes on insurance and property transfers, removing regulations inhibiting competition such as barriers to water trade, improving information on climate risks by increasing the quality and availability of natural hazard mapping and improving emergency management arrangements. Such measures would help build adaptive capacity for future climate changes as well as responding to current climate variability.
In the case of adaptation to uncertain future climate trends, the Commission found that the case for action is strongest for reforms with relatively low upfront costs and delivering benefits under a range of scenarios.
The effects of climate change will be experienced at the local level, and local governments are likely to play a leading role in relation to key risks, such as longer term sea level rise. State and territory governments will need to support the adaptation efforts of local governments.
The Commission will be holding public hearings in July and is seeking responses to its draft recommendations and a number of information requests contained in the draft report. A final report will be submitted to the Australian Government in September 2012. Visit the Productivity Commission website for more details.
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