NCCARF Newsletter - April 2015
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April 2015

Director's message

Professor Jean Palutikof, NCCARF Director

Planning for coastal climate change and sea-level rise: what do decision-makers need?

In preparation for construction of the Coastal Climate Risk Management Tool (a major deliverable for Phase 2 – see our Project Plan available from our website), we are carrying out an intensive program of stakeholder consultation, through workshops and an online survey.  Thank you to everyone who has participated. I thought in this newsletter you might be interested to know about some of the things we learned from the online survey.
Around 300 people completed the survey, and around three-quarters are potential end users of NCCARF products: around half (44%) work in government, and a quarter in NGOs and the private sector.  The remainder were researchers or students.  Because NCCARF Phase 2 focuses on coastal adaptation, the on-line survey placed the emphasis on Australia’s coasts.
Below, I show you the answers we got to three questions:
  1. What are the most important impacts resulting from climate change and sea-level rise that you believe coastal organisations must address?
  2. What do you think are the greatest challenges for organisations responsible for managing and adapting to these impacts?
  3. What knowledge gaps prevent the best possible decisions being made about present and future climate-related risks?
For each question, people were given a list of possible answers and asked to choose the three most important to them.
For Question 1, respondents placed an emphasis on:
  • storm surge and inundation, and
  • impacts on the natural environment.
Increases in extreme events ran a close third.  However, looking into respondents’ backgrounds, whereas all groups highlighted storm surge and inundation and increased risk of extreme events, this was not the case for risks to the natural environment.  More than half of state and federal government respondents selected impacts on the natural environment, but only a quarter of business/industry respondents and 36% of consultants.  
For Question 2, we asked respondents about challenges to adaptation action.  Two clear, and related, winners emerged:
  • engaging with the community, and
  • conflict between decision-makers and coastal residents. 
A clear challenge, particularly for local and state government, is effective community engagement – over half of respondents in these two categories selected this option.  Local government respondents also identified issues around legal liability.

For Question 3, we asked people to tell us about knowledge gaps. Management options, local climate change, and law, planning and regulation came out on top.
Federal government employees were the only group to consider present-day risks from climate extremes to be an important gap. The present-day risk of flooding and engineering solutions were not seen to be knowledge gaps. 

A full discussion of the feedback from stakeholders can be found in our Analysis of End User Needs report, which should appear on the NCCARF website shortly.  This feedback will inform the next activities of NCCARF in Phase 2, which are to plan and begin development of the Coastal Climate Risk Management Tool.

Climate Adaptation 2016 

5-7 July 2016 - save the date!

We are busy planning the next national Climate Adaptation Conference - from 5-7th July 2016 - to be hosted by NCCARF and CSIRO.

To ensure you catch all the news - including the location, key dates, and themes which are to be announced over the coming weeks - register your interest on our new conference website:

Our new conference website now also includes information from previous conferences in the Climate Adaptation Conference series. Previously each conference has had its own website but we have brought these all together to form a single series.  

There will be opportunities to sponsor the conference and, as in previous years, we plan to offer the opportunity to sponsor and run individual sessions. More information will appear on the conference website in the next weeks. Anyone wanting to talk about opportunities to sponsor should contact Anne Leitch 

For more information, please go to the conference website.

New book:

Applied Studies in Climate Change Adaptation

Are you looking for a great resource on adaptation? This book gathers together some of the latest thinking about adaptation in Australia. It is edited by NCCARF, and the authors are researchers involved in projects carried out in NCCARF’s first phase.
In addition to 38 case studies across all sectors of Australian adaptation, the book contains think pieces from international experts in adaptation research, including Hallie Eakin, Susanne Moser, Jonathon Overpeck, Bill Solecki, and Gary Yohe.
The book is published by Wiley and is an essential addition to your library on adaptation.
For more information, visit the Wiley website.

Key activity update:

Supporting coastal adaptation

The major research and delivery focus of NCCARF Phase 2 is the development of a Coastal Climate Risk Management Tool.

This Tool will support coastal stakeholders—particularly in local councils—to incorporate risks from a changing environment into decision-making.  

Specifically the tools aims to provide support:
  • Where substantial assets are already at risk from accelerated erosion and more frequent inundation.
  • In coastal areas of high biodiversity
  • In new developments.
The first phase of the development of the tool—a broad consultation with stakeholders to develop an understanding of user needs—is well underway.

Listening to the needs of coastal decision makers

Coastal decision-makers want more confidence and certainty about future projections of climate change and sea level rise, plus they want practical support to help them make robust decisions for the coast. This was the clear message given to NCCARF throughout a comprehensive round of consultation on the Coastal Tool.

The consultation included a national Kick-Off Meeting with more than 60 representatives from all tiers of coastal management, a program of regional consultation meetings (reaching more than 320 people to date), and an on-line survey (with 299 responses).  NCCARF also took advice from its two advisory groups and its Project Review Committee. 

Coastal decisions makers defined a useful risk management Tool that will achieve widespread take-up, and as one which is:
  • accessible, straightforward and intuitive to use,
  • authoritative and nationally consistent,
  • with guidance developed, reviewed and approved by experts,
  • targeted on issues that concern the user, and
  • up-to-date in terms of the policy context for decision-making. 
It should seek to build a reputation for delivering reliable information. 

The Tool should provide access to information tailored to the needs of senior management, elected representatives and communities on the one hand, and detailed information and guidance for coastal decisions makers, including council officers, on the other.

Ultimately users were clear that the Tool must “make my life easier not harder”!  These needs are summarised in the Analysis of User Needs report which will available soon on the NCCARF website. 

Consultation with users will continue in various forms throughout the development of the Tool.  

Our next steps are to plan the development and delivery of the Tool. NCCARF will continue to engage closely with potential end users throughout these steps. To find out more or to let us know of any engagement opportunities please contact Dave Rissik ( 

Key activity update: Our new adaptation networks are getting ready!

Connecting people around interest areas has been an important function of NCCARF to date and this will continue through our new look Adaptation Networks which are currently gearing up to engage.

NCCARF’s Adaptation Networks, hosted by universities across Australia, are a community of researchers and practitioners working together to build capacity and progress climate change adaptation knowledge.

The current Adaptation Networks focus on four key challenge areas. They are:
Settlements and infrastructure hosted by University of New South Wales and the Network Convenor is Ron Cox:

Social, economic and institutional dimensions hosted by University of the Sunshine Coast and the Convenor is Tim Smith:

Natural Ecosystems is hosted by James Cook University and the Network Convenor is Stephen Williams:

Vulnerable communities is hosted by the University of Adelaide and the Network Convenor is Peng Bi:
For more information see our website:

We would be delighted if you forward this email to any colleagues who may be interested.
For new subscriptions NCCARF newsletters please register your details through the NCCARF website:

Contact NCCARF

Jean Palutikof

Sarah Boulter
Research Fellow

Anne Leitch
Knowledge Communication

Steve Webb
Senior Programmer/Web Developer

David Rissik
Deputy Director General Manager

Jenny West
Business & Operations Manager

Fahim Tonmoy
Coastal Expert

Kylie Lindner
National Climate Change
Adaptation Research Facility
Griffith University Gold Coast Campus
Qld Australia 4222
Tel: 07 5552 9333
Fax: 07 5552 7333
The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility is supported through funding from the Australian Government.

The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained within.
Copyright © 2013 NCCARF, All rights reserved.

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