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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2010  /  August 2010  /  Adaptation to climate change in Australia and Europe

Adaptation to climate change in Australia and Europe

Martin Kernan in exchange of freshwater ecosystem research and policy experience

Adaptation to climate change in Australia and Europe

Dr Martin Kernan attended the 2010 International Climate Change Adaptation Conference, Climate Adaptation Futures, at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia on 29 June -1st July,  where he introduced the UCL-coordinated REFRESH project (Adaptive strategies to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change on European Freshwater Ecosystems).

The Conference attracted over 1000 delegates, about one quarter from 48 overseas countries. Its scale was testament to the resources being directed in Australia to support the research needed by government and vulnerable sectors and communities to manage the risks of climate change. The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) was established in November 2007 to coordinate climate change adaptation research across the country. Eight networks have been created to facilitate collaborative research, addressing Terrestrial Biodiversity, Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity, Marine Biodiversity, Human Health, and the Social, Economic & Institutional Dimensions of climate change.

Martin was then invited by the Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity adaptation network to attend a workshop at the Couran Cove Resort on Stradbroke Island on the impacts of climate change on Freshwater Biodiversity. The aim was to initiate work on three synthesis papers for publication. It was also arranged for Martin to give the seminars at the Monash Sustainability Institute, Melbourne, and the National Water Commission, Canberra, where he summarised work from the Euro-limpacs project, also co-ordinated at UCL.



There was a lot of interest in Australia in the focus of European policy and research on adaptive management to climate change, especially on the size of Projects under EU Frameworks 6 and 7. Like other European delegates, however, Martin was impressed by the level of commitment to such work in Australia and the scale of networks actively involving scientists and stakeholders in identifying research priorities and supporting research programmes. This reflects a long history of responding to climatic extremes in Australia, with climate change posing new threats outside the range of historical experience. Resilience to current climate variability appears already to be well advanced, and there is good potential for building capacity to adapt to the impacts of future change.