Australia’s first climate change adaptation conference opens next week

By June 25th, 2010

The first international conference held in Australia to discuss the science and options for adapting to climate change begins on the Gold Coast on Tuesday 29 June.

Almost 1000 delegates from around the world are registered for the three-day Climate Adaptation Futures 2010 Conference, hosted by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship.

Conference chairs NCCARF Director Professor Jean Palutikof and CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Director Dr Andrew Ash said the conference was the first to focus solely on practical ‘adaptation’ measures.

“The science tells us that climate change is happening faster than we thought and that the ‘window’ for us to adapt and prepare is smaller than we thought,” Professor Palutikof said.

“Australia is already experiencing the effects of climate change and is likely to be one of the most severely affected amongst developed countries.

“Regardless of what mitigation actions we take now as a nation or globally to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it is too late to ‘mitigate our way out of the problem’ – we will need a mixture of adaptation and mitigation measures.”

Dr Ash said the conference would bring together scientists and decision-makers from developed and developing countries to share research approaches, methods and results.

“Adaptation is about preparing for climate change in order to minimise its impact on our natural, built and social environment”

Dr Andrew Ash

“Adaptation is about preparing for climate change in order to minimise its impact on our natural, built and social environment. The precise level of impact is difficult to pinpoint so successful adaptation also means building our resilience to cope with uncertainty,” he said.

“Some adaptation is occurring, albeit limited, but there are many new opportunities and options for adaptation that are yet to emerge.”

“The impacts from climate change will be felt first and most severely in developing countries, and international co-operation is required to ensure developing countries have the tools and resources they need to adapt.”

The conference topics span the economic costs of adapting; options for health, emergency and community services to cope with the added strain climate change will place on them; and adapting agriculture to cope with changing weather patterns to ensure long-term food security.

On the eve of the conference, Monday 28 June, a lead-in event, the Adaptation Challenges Workshop will be held to identify key challenges facing Australia in developing a national integrated response. That evening, a public seminar ‘Adapting to Climate Change in Cities – A New York Perspective’ will be given by Dr Cynthia Rosenweig of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

For more information, and to download the Conference Handbook that includes all abstracts, speaker bios and a full program of presentations visit .