Sunday, March 10, 2013

Who will speak up for climate change adaptation?

Leigh Glover in the Conversation (Australia): ...Climate change and its associated global changes (prominently sea level rise and ocean acidification) will produce profound social, economic, and environmental changes in Australia. Some of these changes will be gradual. Others will be abrupt and irreversible. There will be great costs (and also some benefits) for households, businesses, governments, and other institutions.

It is now widely agreed that adaptation will become a major focus for public and corporate policy around the world in coming decades. Preparing for climate change isn’t an alternative to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; rather, mitigation is needed to curb the extent of future global warming.

But the momentum of ongoing global warming will continue regardless because of the gases released since the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the global community will limit this warming to an average of 2°C or perhaps it will be higher; in any event, we need to prepare for the associated climate change impacts as best we can.

...Climate change will exert a daily influence on the lives of urban Australians. Australian urban lifestyles will not somehow be immune from climate change impacts; consider how many people and enterprises have been affected by severe natural events in this year alone.

Our problem, nationally, is that we are currently very poorly prepared. Research is essential in understanding these risks, in knowing our response options, for understanding how to pay for adaptation, and considering what roles can be played by households, businesses, governments, and NGOs. Conventional markets produce only weak signals for adaptation research, for a variety of reasons. In short, this is an area of policy that necessitates government initiative...

Smoke from a bushfire reaches Sydney in 1994, shot by Daduschu, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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