Australians Must Adapt to Changing Climate

NAPSNet Policy Forum

Recommended Citation

"Australians Must Adapt to Changing Climate", NAPSNet Policy Forum, May 17, 2012, http://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-policy-forum/australians-must-adapt-to-changing-climate/

Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly Report—Contributor’s blog entry for Climate Change Adaptation.

Go to the Weekly Report for 17 May 2012.

In recent years, climate change has become a key policy and governance challenge that contains potentially severe implications for building peace, creating security, and restoring sustainability. The draft report of the Australian Productivity Commission concedes that climate change adaptation mainly takes place without the need of government involvement – all the way through customary risk management practices. However, it argues that there is still need for policy reforms and initiatives at government levels to boost this process.

I find that one of the interesting points that the Commission has made in its draft report is about the support provided to sufferers of droughts, fires and floods. The Commission states that such support could avert people adapting to climate change. It suggests that the government postpone proposed reforms to force insurers to present households flood cover unless it can demonstrate community benefit, and barriers to climate change adaptation are also considered thoroughly. In this regard, the report mentions support to Victorian bushfire and Queensland flood sufferers of more than $100,000, and says such monetary support “reduces incentives to manage risks.” I am of the view that drought support, or any other type of monetary support, does not bring people to a halt from adapting to climate change. Also, such monetary support does not trim down enticements to manage risks; however, it reduces stress (of sufferers) and could provide people the opening to continue to exist, and to manage their short- and long-term risks.

The final version of the report will be made public at the end of this year. However, still in draft shape, it shows that a strong policy shift is taking place from mitigation to adaptation in Australia. Around the globe, it is also acknowledged broadly that adaptation (whether the basis of climate change is ‘man-made’ or ‘natural’) is now a main policy area, as it spotlights institutions, processes, and multiplicity. There was only one chapter on ‘adaptation’ in the 2001 and 2007 reports of the IPCC. However, as per the chapter outline of the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC 2013 Assessment Report (AR5), the adaptation portion will consist of four chapters (14-17).

This new focus on adaptation is understandable. I don’t think global emissions will be lessened to the levels the IPCC considers is vital and needed. Adapting to the changing climate for building resilience and promoting sustainable development would do more to protect a future for humans on a warming earth than just reducing emissions.

We can’t stop climate change – let’s adapt to it!

Saleem Janjua, NAPSNet Contributor

The Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly Report presents articles and full length reports each week in six categories: Austral security, nuclear deterrence, energy security, climate change adaptation, the DPRK, and governance and civil society. Our team of contributors carefully select items that highlight the links between these themes and the three regions in which our offices are found—North America, Northeast Asia, and the Austral-Asia region. Each week, one of our authors also provides a short blog that explores these inter-relationships. 


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