Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change in the Western Port Region

Over 2005-2006, a scoping study was conducted to establish the knowledge needs for responding to climate change in the Western Port region.

The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Western Port scoping study was initiated in 2005 by the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) and funded by the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

The objectives of this project were to:

  • raise awareness of the potential impacts of climate change in the region;
  • assess natural and human vulnerabilities to climate change impacts in the region; and
  • explore possible adaptation opportunities.

SECCCA engaged Marsden Jacob Associates, CSIRO and the Regional Development Company to deliver the project.

Project Rationale

The Victorian Government recognises that climate change is a global problem but one that also demands action at the local level. Since the 2002 Victorian Greenhouse Strategy the Government has supported a range of community action programs to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consider the impacts of climate change.

Local government plays a crucial role in infrastructure maintenance, emergency response, community planning and is well connected with local communities.

Planning for the impact of climate change on these functions is essential to ensure safe and prosperous communities into the future.

The Western Port Greenhouse Alliance is a regional partnership which provides a framework for local stakeholders to work together on both greenhouse gas abatement and climate change adaptation programs. The Alliance was one of three regions provided with assistance to undertake research into the local impacts of climate change as a basis for further work to develop regional adaptation strategies.

Methodology

The project provides an insight into the future impacts of climate change on Western Port, which will assist the region in preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

The scoping study was undertaken in three major stages as provided in below:

A. Needs Analysis: Identification of the information requirements of key regional stakeholders, including what information is required and how it would be used, obtained through a series of interviews.

B. Climate Change Impacts in Western Port: A regional profile detailing the biophysical, social and economic impacts of climate change in the Western Port region.

C. Stakeholder Engagement: A series of workshops involving over 100 representatives from local government, state government, training institutions and community organisations, were undertaken to identify climate change risks and issues within each sector.

Project Outcomes

1. The Western Port region will not be immune to climate changes. As detailed in the Climate Change Impacts in Western Port document, climate change has the potential to impact on a wide range of activities, services and systems in Western Port, cutting across natural, social and economic domains.

2. Given the long lead time of many planning and investment decisions and projections on future on-going climate change, the Western Port community needs to identify potential risks and opportunities from climate change now.

3. Options for adaptation are wide-ranging. Adaptation need not be limited to reactive technological and infrastructure measures but can also include proactive measures such as community engagement and capacity building, further research and planning and regulatory measures.

4. Eight priority cross-sectoral issues (listed below) have been identified through the stakeholder engagement phase of the project and are intended to set future strategic directions.

Impacts of Climate Change on Human Settlements in the Western Port Region: An Integrated Assessment

The outcomes of this scoping study have led to the “Impacts of Climate Change on Human Settlement in the Western Port Region: An Integrated Assessment” project, which commenced in mid-2006.

The project will focus on the impacts of climate change on the built environment and local adaptation responses to those impacts. The integrated approach will ensure that social, economic and environmental factors are combined and that input is sought from all relevant stakeholders.
The new project continues the partnership between the Western Port Greenhouse Alliance, Marsden Jacob Associates and CSIRO and is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage and Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Project

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change in the Western Port Region

Start 2005   Finish 2006
FUNDER/GRANT

Department of Sustainability and Environment

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