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A partnership of - the State, CSIRO, and the Bureau of Meteorology, formed by the Western Australian Government to support informed decision-making, on.

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Presentation on theme: "A partnership of - the State, CSIRO, and the Bureau of Meteorology, formed by the Western Australian Government to support informed decision-making, on."— Presentation transcript:

1 A partnership of - the State, CSIRO, and the Bureau of Meteorology, formed by the Western Australian Government to support informed decision-making, on climate variability and change in WA. Lessons from living in the changing south-west climate Personal impressions

2 Outline: A discussion of the following aspects of the region’s experience - Nature of issues posed by our changing climate Vulnerability – the potential to be harmed by impacts Awareness and commitment to action Adaptation in decision-processes Information, communication Key observations

3 Nature of issues posed by our changing climate Climate change in this region is a present and significant reality which includes issues which have been quietly developing for decades Some aspects of change (and impact) are insidious – hidden in natural variability (the water experience 70s to now). Surprises have also occurred (steps rather than trends). Although some uncertainty is formidable it is not uniform or universal – uncertainty of state and trend vary with climate elements and detail required Some key uncertainties relate to the present as well as the future climate Actions and planning horizons have become more short term than under previous conditions (muddling through) Current priority issues relate to base conditions more than extremes Past, present and future climate are all relevant to decision-making Issues are socio-politically complex as well as technically complex – they force new concepts of sustainability and create painful public decision-making issues

4 Vulnerability – the potential to be harmed by impacts Two components of vulnerability – 1.Where impacts and change are automatic 2.Where potential impacts may be reduced by adaptive response Planned Adaptation (reduction of vulnerability) Residual Vulnerability Resultant Impacts on WA Climate Change Automatic Adjustment Vulnerability Potential Harm

5 Vulnerability – the potential to be harmed by impacts Within our region vulnerabilities differ markedly with- 1.Aspect of climate change Two components of vulnerability – 1. 1.Where impacts and change are automatic 2. 2.Where potential impacts may be reduced by adaptive response

6 Vulnerability – the potential to be harmed by impacts Within our region vulnerabilities differ markedly with- 1.Aspect of climate change 2. Relation to risk structure of sector – mode of impact 3.Thresholds and non-linearities in hazard and impact Two components of vulnerability – 1. 1.Where impacts and change are automatic 2. 2.Where potential impacts may be reduced by adaptive response Illustrative comparison - selected sectors modes of vulnerability to warming/drying Sector Mode of Impact Regular Production, Sustainability, Function Recurrent Losses, Damage or Disasters Demand for Supply or Service Water Hi - alreadyLow? Some now Agriculture Emergent Hi Potential Inter- nationaI? Biodiversity Emergent Hi PotentialNA Fire & Emergency NAPotential Energy NoLow?Yes

7 Vulnerability – the potential to be harmed by impacts Example comparison - water and agriculture vulnerability to rainfall decline Scale and timing factors Water Water -Agriculture Buffering Threshold NoYes Non-Linear Multiplier YesNo Current Impact Scale Hi - nowEmerging Within our region vulnerabilities differ markedly with- 1.Aspect of climate change 2. Relation to risk structure of sector – mode of impact 3.Thresholds and non-linearities in hazard and impact Two components of vulnerability – 1. 1.Where impacts and change are automatic 2. 2.Where potential impacts may be reduced by adaptive response

8 Vulnerability – the potential to be harmed by impacts Aspect of Change Vulnerable Interests? Drying water, biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, settlements, industry Ocean Warming biodiversity, fisheries, tourism Terrestrial Warming biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, settlements, health, power, water Fire Hazard public safety, biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, settlements Sea Level Rise settlements, infrastructure, biodiversity, tourism, industry Storms and Floods settlements, agriculture, infrastructure Two components of vulnerability – 1.Where impacts and change are automatic 2.Where potential impacts may be reduced by adaptive response Within our region vulnerabilities differ markedly with Aspect of climate change Relation to risk structure of sector – mode of impact 3. 3.Thresholds and non-linearities in hazard and impact Vulnerabilities and associated action priorities remain poorly defined

9 Awareness and Commitment to Action Varying commitment appears to reflect awareness as well as vulnerability Uncertainty may be misinterpreted and inhibiting awareness Science based institutions seem more alert to the issues involved Immediate survival predominates over future oriented strategy Hard decisions tend to be avoided in debate Lessons from parallels with salinity? (The issue-attention cycle)

10 Adaptation in Decision-Processes Adaptive actions as, yet are few - Issues of uncertainty and perception have been a barrier to acceptance of the role of adaptation and even now may be causing some priorities to be overlooked Technically based enterprises appear to adapt more readily Unilateral response is easier than multi-lateral or regulatory action Change of outlook and approach - Outlook, dialogue and decision rules need to adjust to the reality of a non-stationary environment This is not easy and changes are slow in developing. Three levels of response Ease of mobilising ownership 1. Unilateral Actions The first line of actions Highest 2. Coordinated Multi- Lateral Actions Mature community responses Low 3. Regulatory Processes Adjustment for non- stationary climate Low

11 Research, information, communication - the pre-requisites to “informed adaptation” Information demand from decision-makers relates to present more than to the future (survival) but past, present and future are all relevant Sustained, strategically driven regional research and communication is needed to keep pace with evolving climate and science Information needs vary - some adaptation can proceed on qualitative or semi-quantitative information, but some needs quantitative judgements Regional climate science must be issue driven It is now opportune to consider developing more complete, issue driven regional research, encompassing terrestrial, marine and coastal climates With the many sectors affected and the complexity of the problem, effective and strategic communication also needs to develop.

12 Key Observations Climate change is now causing both automatic impacts and actionable vulnerability in SWWA. It will grow as a dominant issue through this century and may include surprises. Vulnerabilities are diverse, with regionally unique characteristics. They vary greatly (in scale and timing) with climate aspect, sector and mode of impact, and warrant systematic review Decision frameworks, analysis and debate need to re-align to a non-stationary, uncertain regime. Amended thinking will involve much debate e.g. re-defining ‘Sustainability’ Uncertainty is not uniform. Some elements show clear trends and some very uncertain. Many decision makers only need ‘confidence’ in directional trends. Issue-driven science support has helped decision-making but should embrace the full breadth of terrestrial, marine, and coastal aspects of climate change and be continuously updating. Present, past and future climate regimes are all relevant Unilateral, multi-lateral and regulatory responses are all relevant but, for empowerment, require different scales of maturity in public awareness Communication must engage the attention of a wide community base, not just those with science background. Uncertainty, fact and contentiousness need better differentiation


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