Adapting to climate change

Climate change adaptation helps individuals, communities, organisations and natural systems to deal with those consequences of climate change that cannot be avoided. It involves taking practical actions to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities and strengthen the resilience of the economy. Adaptation can involve gradual transformation with many small steps over time, or major transformation with rapid change.

Adaptation is a shared responsibility. Governments at all levels, businesses and households each have complementary roles to play. Individuals and businesses will often be best placed to make adaptation decisions that reduce climate risks to their assets and livelihoods.

The Australian Government provides the public with access to national climate science information to help Australians understand the potential impacts from a changing climate. For example the website Climate Change in Australia provides comprehensive regional-level data that projects future climate.

The Australian Government provides guidance and information on best practice adaptation to assist businesses and communities to manage their climate change risks. For example CoastAdapt is an online support tool for decision-makers in managing climate risks in Australia's coastal zone.

National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy

On 2 December 2015, the Australian Government released a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy. The Strategy articulates how Australia is managing the risks of a variable and changing climate. It identifies a set of principles to guide effective adaptation practice and resilience building, and outlines the Government's vision for a climate-resilient future.

Australian Government Disaster and Climate Resilience Reference Group

Australian Government agencies are integrating disaster and climate resilience in their policies, programs and asset management. The Australian Government Disaster and Climate Resilience Reference Group is a coordinating group of senior officials which considers the risks and opportunities arising from climate change and natural disasters.

Electricity Sector Climate Information (ESCI) project

The Australian Government is providing $6.1 million over three years, from 2018-19, to improve climate and extreme weather information for the electricity sector, as part of a response to the Finkel review.

The project is designed to deliver specific information and data that electricity sector decision-makers need to manage risks to the reliability and resilience of electricity systems from extreme weather events in the context of a changing climate. It will improve information on likely future changes to extreme weather events such as heatwaves, wind and maximum temperature thresholds, including concurrent and/or compounding events, to inform analysis of long-term climate risk.

The work is funded through the Department of the Environment and Energy and will be undertaken by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in collaboration with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Supporting research in climate change adaptation

CoastAdapt

CoastAdapt, released in May 2017, is an online tool to support local governments and businesses to identify, assess and respond to climate risks in the coastal zone.

CoastAdapt was developed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and funded by the Australian Government.
CoastAdapt supports local governments and businesses by:

  • Helping organisations find maps of their local area under future sea-level scenarios
  • Supporting decision-makers to make informed adaptation plans using a six-step process
  • Providing guidance on working with communities to decide what to protect and how and when to protect it
  • Including information on insurance and legal issues, engineering solutions and undertaking risk assessments.

National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) was established by the Australian Government in 2008 to harness and coordinate the capabilities of Australia's researchers. Australian Government investment in NCCARF supported the organisation to generate and communicate the biophysical, social and economic information decision-makers need for successful adaptation to climate change.
The Australian Government has invested $56.3 million in NCCARF over the period 2008 to 2018. This investment has delivered a wealth of research material, including more than 144 adaptation research projects, and National Adaptation Research Plans to guide priority research for adaptation.

Adaptation Partnership

In May 2017, the Australian Government announced an Adaptation Partnership bringing together expertise on climate resilience and adaptation to support climate risk management. The Partnership consists of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, the CSIRO and the Department of the Environment and Energy.