Info

Birds

Population increases in black-browed albatross and king penguin on Heard Island; population declines on Campbell Island of rockhopper penguins, grey-headed albatross and black-browed albatross related to ocean warming and changed fishing practices.

Waugh et al., 1999; Woehler et al., 2002; Weimerskirch et al., 2003

Vertebrates

Population increases in fur seals on Heard Island and elephant seals on Campbell Island, linked to changes in food supply, warming and oceanic circulation; rats moving into upland herb-fields and breeding more often on Macquarie Island.

Budd, 2000; Weimerskirch et al., 2003; Frenot et al., 2005

Plant communities

Plant colonisation of areas exposed by glacial retreat on Heard Island; decline in area of sphagnum moss since 1992 on Macquarie Island associated with drying trend.

Whinam and Copson, 2006

11.2.5 Current adaptation

Since vulnerability is influenced by adaptation, a summary of current adaptation is given here rather than in Section 11.5 (which looks at future adaptation). Adaptation refers to planned and autonomous (or spontaneous) adjustments in natural or human systems in response to climatic stimuli. Adaptation can reduce harmful effects or exploit opportunities (see Chapter 17). An example of autonomous adaptation is the intensification of grazing in the rangelands of north-west Australia over the last 30 years, as graziers have exploited more reliable and better pasture growth following an increase in monsoon rainfall (Ash et al., 2006). However, there is currently insufficient information to comprehensively quantify this capacity. While planned adaptation usually refers to specific measures or actions, it can also be viewed as a dynamic process that evolves over time, involving five major pre-conditions for encouraging implementation (Figure 11.1). This section assesses how well Australia and New Zealand are engaged in the adaptation process.

Provision of knowledge, data and tools.

Since the TAR, the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has created a separate strategic fund for global change research (FRST, 2005). Operational research and development related to climate impacts on specific sectors have also increased over the last 10 years (e.g., agricultural impacts, decision-support systems and extension activities for integration with farmers' knowledge) (Kenny, 2002; MAF, 2006). One of Australia's four National Research Priorities is "an environmentally sustainable Australia", which includes "responding to climate change and variability" (DEST, 2004). The Australian Climate Change Science Programme and the National Climate Change Adaptation Programme are part of this effort (Allen Consulting Group, 2005). All Australian state and territory governments have greenhouse action plans that include development of knowledge, data and tools.

Risk assessments

A wide range of regional and sectoral risk assessments has been undertaken since 2001 (see Section 11.4). Both countries

Knowledge, Data, Tools e.g. integrated assessment models

Awareness Raising & Risk

Capacity Building Assessments e.g. coastal flood risk

^ Implementation of I

^^ adaptation measures i

Evaluation & "Mainstreaming"

Monitoring for adaptation feedback and change _ _ .ยป --into plans, policies, strategies

Figure 11.1. Adaptation as a process (Warrick, 2000, 2006).

occasionally produce national reports that synthesise these assessments and provide a foundation for adaptation (MfE, 2001; Warrick et al., 2001; Howden et al., 2003a; Pittock, 2003). Regionally relevant guidelines are available for use in risk assessments (Wratt et al., 2004; AGO, 2006).

Mainstreaming

Climate change issues are gradually being 'mainstreamed' into policies, plans and strategies for development and management. For example, in New Zealand, the Coastal Policy Statement included consideration of sea-level rise (DoC, 1994), the Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004 made explicit provisions for the effects of climate change, and the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002 requires regional and local government authorities (LGAs) to plan for future natural hazards. New Zealand farmers, particularly in the east, implemented a range of adaptation measures in response to droughts in the 1980s and 1990s and as a result of the removal of almost all subsidies. Increasing numbers of farmers are focusing on building long-term resilience with a diversity of options (Kenny, 2005; Salinger et al., 2005b). In Australia, climate change is included in several environmentally focused action plans, including the National Agriculture and Climate Change Action Plan (NRMMC, 2006) and the National Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan. A wide range of water adaptation strategies has been implemented or proposed (Table 11.2), including US$1.5 billion for the National Water Fund from 2004 to 2009 and US$1.7 billion for drought relief from 2001 to 2006.

Climate change is listed as a Key Threatening Process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Climate change has been integrated into several state-based and regional strategies, such as the Queensland Coastal Management Plan, the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Action Plan, the Victorian Sustainable Water Strategy and South Australia's Natural Resources Management Plan. The Wild Country (The Wilderness Society), Gondwana Links (Western Australia) and Nature Links (South Australia) and Alps to Atherton (Victoria, NSW, Queensland) initiatives promote connectivity of landscapes and resilience of natural systems in recognition of the fact that some species will need to migrate as climate zones shift. Guidelines prepared for the coastal and ocean engineering profession for implementing coastal management strategies include consideration of climate change (Engineers Australia, 2004).

Evaluation and monitoring

The New Zealand Climate Committee monitors the present state of knowledge of climate science, climate variability and current and future climate impacts, and makes recommendations about research and monitoring needs, priorities and gaps regarding climate, its impacts and the application of climate information (RSNZ, 2002). In Australia, the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) monitors and evaluates performance against objectives in the National Greenhouse Strategy. The AGO and state and territory governments commission research to assess current climate change knowledge, gaps and priorities for research on risk and vulnerability (Allen Consulting Group,

Table 11.2. Examples of government adaptation strategies to cope with water shortages in Australia.

Government

Strategy

Investment

Source

Australia

Drought aid payments to rural communities

US$1.7 billion from 2001 to 2006

DAFF, 2006b

Australia

National Water Initiative, supported by the Australian Water Fund

US$1.5 billion from 2004 to 2009

DAFF, 2006a

Australia

Murray-Darling Basin Water Agreement

US$0.4 billion from 2004 to 2009

DPMC, 2004

Victoria

Melbourne's Eastern Treatment Plant to supply recycled water

US$225 million by 2012

Melbourne Water, 2006

Victoria

New pipeline from Bendigo to Ballarat, water recycling, interconnections between dams, reducing channel seepage, conservation measures

US$153 million by 2015

Premier of Victoria, 2006

Victoria

Wimmera Mallee pipeline replacing open irrigation channels

US$376 million by 2010

Vic DSE, 2006

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