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Analysis and Comment (27)

Coasts are at risk from rising seas, but that risk could be alleviated by coastal ecosystems such as mangroves. Sheep"R"Us/Flickr

How wetlands can help us adapt to rising seas

Instead of costly levees and seawalls, coastal ecosystems could offer an alternative way to protect Australia’s coastal communities from rising seas, saving money and storing carbon along the way. Sea…
Marlgu Billabong in Australia’s Kimberley region, which new research nominates as a smart place to invest in conservation. Lugge

Adapt or die: where in the world we should start on cost-effective conservation

As the dust settles on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the science of climate change, the obvious question is: what do we do next? Our research, published in Nature…
Even when the Climate Commission was taxpayer funded it was good value. The Climate Council

Communicating climate change is great value for money

Many will be relieved at today’s announcement by board members of the Climate Commission that they will be continuing their work by setting up a community-funded Climate Council. Communicating climate…
Climate change means some mountain species are just clinging on, but can they adapt? Australian Alps/Flickr

What can history tell us about species coping with climate change?

In work we published in Science today we look at two conflicting ideas on whether species can adapt to climate change. Are our ideas about extinction too catastrophic, or do we actually need to do more…
Australia is hanging on to flood mitigation measures that other countries have left behind. AAP Image/Pamela Blackburn

Three major floods, four reviews, but still lessons to learn

The last few years provided plenty of data to help us reform our approach to floods. With devastating flooding in Queensland and Victoria in 2011 and 2013, we should have learned a great deal about which…
Australia’s transport planners are better than most at dealing with disasters. AAP Image/Supplied by SES, Samantha Cantwell

Keeping Queensland moving: transport in a flood crisis

Transport access is essential for people to get to the goods and services they need in daily life. Never is that basic access more appreciated, and more desired, than when it’s taken away from us, such…
We assume the trade-offs between fire prevention and impacts can be measured in terms of dollars, but it’s not that simple. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Understanding the true costs of managing fire

Fires are an inescapable part of life in Australia; they have been occurring for millennia, and regardless of our actions, they will continue. Much of the vegetation in Australia has evolved to be tolerant…
Scientists need to feel confident to speak out about the dangers of coming extreme weather. Ramin Talai/EPA

Is Australia prepared for a storm like Sandy?

Last week the global landscape of mitigating and managing disasters changed forever. We heard the news of six Italian scientists charged for manslaughter and jailed for six years each for failing to predict…
Robert McClelland has a roadmap for a FEMA-like disaster management authority. AAP Image/Raoul Wegat

Australia can do better on managing disasters

Who comes to the rescue when there is a disaster? Who pays the bills? It is well accepted doctrine that in Australia the primary responsibility for protecting life and property lies with the states and…
Who’s responsible for this? Better disaster law could answer that question. AAP

Climate change, catastrophic risk and disaster law

On 28 March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its full report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). The IPCC’s essential…
Studies of prehistoric climate change in Victoria’s western lakes imply that future changes might not be smooth. Dacre Smith's painting of Lake Gnotuk, from Views of Victoria in the steps of von Guerard.

Rapid warming in SE Australia challenges plans to adapt gradually

Step changes in warming of a few tenths to 1°C can produce rapid changes in risks such as extreme heat and fire danger. Yet, adaptation-planning that follows the dominant model of smooth climate change…
Climate change is coming - do we plan to just carry on regardless? AAP

We can’t prevent climate change, so what should we do?

When thinking of the challenges we face in responding to climate change, it is time to admit that our political focus has been fairly narrow: limiting emissions and moving beyond carbon-based energy systems…
A Green Climate Fund could help African livestock farmers. International Livestock Research Institute

Planning the Green Climate Fund so it works for African farmers

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: With a backdrop of global financial woes and the European Union’s debt crisis, the Conference of the Parties at Durban convened with lower expectations but high stakes…
Climate change will mean more natural disasters: let’s not be cynical about planning for them. AAP

Emergency Management at the cabinet table long overdue

Much of the commentary surrounding the Prime Minister’s new-look cabinet has focused on the promotion of her loyal lieutenants, Bill Shorten and Mark Arbib, and Nicola Roxon’s elevation to the Attorney-General…
When it comes to weather, scientists and the media have different understandings of risk. Ameel Khan

Spinning uncertainty? The IPCC extreme weather report and the media

The “reasonable person” would agree that disaster risk is best avoided. Under a changing climate, how exposed people are to risk and how socially and physically vulnerable they are affects how often disasters…
Improved modelling will help predict future climatic events, like changing summer rainfall. AAP

Getting projections right: predicting future climate

Region by region projections of how climate is likely to change over the coming decades help to make the prospect of global warming more tangible and relevant. Picturing the climate we are likely to have…
Australia was shocked when the city of Canberra burned, but are we better prepared now? AAP

As the climate shifts, are Australian cities ready?

Climate change challenges some of the fundamental assumptions on which our cities have been built. Within a generation or two, a city like Sydney may become exposed to a climate that is more similar to…

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