NCCARF Newsletter - December 2015
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December 2015 

In this issue

NCCARF wishes you a wonderful holiday 
and a prosperous and happy 2016

Director's message

Professor Jean Palutikof, NCCARF Director
COP21: groundbreaking progress, or not?

The dust has settled at the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP21), amidst loud congratulations by all the parties involved, and we are beginning to be able to see what has been achieved. So the question is, are all those congratulations deserved? And, has the ‘problem’ of climate change been solved? And, most importantly for people working in adaptation, what temperature increases and what amounts of sea-level rise should we be thinking about now?

The outcome from Paris is the ‘Paris Agreement’, a 12-page document which, it has to be said, is long on process and short on goals.  It lays out three main areas of activity:
  • A post-2020 process for reducing emissions through the ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (the INDCs)
  • Mechanisms between now and 2020 to ensure that everything is in place, as the Kyoto Protocol lapses, to allow nations to transition to the INDC-based process
  • Post-2020 processes to track national progress towards achieving their INDCs.
In addition, there is text on adaptation and loss and damage, which confirms the outcomes from earlier COPs at Cancun, Warsaw and Lima. Governments will have a year to sign up to the Agreement, starting from April 2016.  

Essentially, there is little if anything in the Paris Agreement that progresses beyond what we knew before COP21 began. The INDCs have not increased in ambition and, if implemented, will deliver a warming of 2.7 degrees Celsius – insufficient to avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change – a reality that the Agreement acknowledges. The INDCs are non-binding, although the reporting processes to track progress are mandatory.

So, from the perspective of adaptation specialists, what can we conclude?
  • The Agreement is potentially dangerous if it lulls nations into a false sense that the problem has been dealt with.
  • Adaptation will continue to be an essential weapon in the armoury of climate change response.
  • It is far too early to conclude that we can tailor adaptation strategies to a warming of 2.7 degrees Celsius or lower. Nations have to demonstrate their commitment to achieving their INDCs. 
For adaptation specialists, it is business-as-usual. We have, as always, to hope for the best and prepare for the worse. 

The Paris Agreement can be found at:

New keynotes announced for adaptation conference.

Three new keynote speakers, renowned for their insights on ecological and social aspects of adaptation, have confirmed they will present at the NCCARF/CSIRO Climate Adaptation 2016 Conference to be held in Adelaide in July.
Margaret Alston, Professor of Social Work from Monash University is a high profile spokesperson on rural women and social issues, gender and climate change both in Australia and internationally.

Petra Tschakert, Centenary Professor in Rural Development at the University of Western Australia, conducts research at the intersection of climate change adaptation, political ecology, social-ecological resilience, environmental justice, livelihood security, and participatory action research and learning within a development context.

Elvira Poloczanska, CSIRO Research Scientist, has led assessments of climate change impacts and adaptation options for Australia marine species as well as the industries that depend on them. 

These speakers join an internationally distinguished line up announced previously including Professor Robert J Nicholls (UK) presenting on coastal engineering, Sean Kidney (UK) and Dr Virginia Burkett (USA) on coastal policy.

Do you also want to present your experience or research at the conference?  The website is open until 7 March 2016 for you to submit an abstract for an oral presentation, speed talk or poster.

For more information on the conference visit

An update on CoastAdapt

NCCARF is producing an online information delivery and decision support system for coastal managers seeking to adapt to climate change. With a delivery date of 1 July 2016 for a first draft, how are we progressing? 

Content for CoastAdapt: Writing, reviewing and user-testing of around 70 pieces of content for CoastAdapt is well underway. Our ongoing challenge is to find a variety of ways to communicate the information to ensure it is interesting as well as useful: users remind us that images, animations, infographics will all help.

Information Manuals: Nine of the ten information manuals are now drafted and under review. As a key source of technical detail for CoastAdapt, these manuals cover a range of topics including planning, legal, data, communication, engineering, environmental and sediment management issues. 

Case studies: Our consultation has identified the need for case studies in CoastAdapt to show what has worked for others. We are assembling about 30-40 full case studies and shorter illustrative snapshots. 

On-line forum: Opening on 1 April 2016, the online forum will enable coastal managers to share information and experiences, to ask and answer questions, and to build networks. We hope you will make regular visits: your participation will contribute to making the forum a success.

Research and Data for CoastAdapt: Five research projects are now underway. These are: 
  • Building a business case for adaptation
  • Review of financing mechanisms for adaptation, including consideration of insurance, disaster preparedness and recovery, betterment and innovative financial instruments
  • Monitoring and evaluation in adaptation
  • Methodologies vulnerability, impact and risk assessment, including methods to identify at-risk hotpots
  • Systematic review of valuation methods with advice on their application to adaptation.
We also have three projects to gather data content for CoastAdapt including: 
  • Sea-level rise and allowance information for each coastal council
  • Sediment compartment information
  • GIS layers on topography and inundation.

Independent survey on newsletter

As part of the mid-term review of NCCARF (, your feedback is sought on the newsletter so that we can better understand its usefulness to date and what could make it even more useful in the future.

The following LINK  takes you to a short web survey to provide this feedback.The survey is anonymous and information will be collated for reporting by Coutts J&R who are undertaking the monitoring and evaluation for the program. The survey should take a maximum of 10 minutes. We value your feedback and invite you to respond by 22 January 2015

Synthesis program: communicating research

NCCARF's Synthesis Program is designed to make existing adaptation research information relevant to decision makers, policy makers and practitioners. It includes development of the NCCARF Adaptation Library, a set of synthesis summaries, sector briefs and policy guidance briefs.

The first product, the NCCARF Adaptation Library, was launched in November. This digital library currently holds all the publications from NCCARF phase one in an easily searchable format. Try the search at

Development of the synthesis summaries and the policy guidance briefs began with workshops this month in Queensland (Townsville, Mackay), South Australia (Adelaide) and Victoria (Shire of Cardinia). Summaries of research were presented at the workshops and then participants helped to shape the documents to include challenges and policy solutions. 

More workshops will be held early in 2016 to consider policy guidance briefs for:
  • sustainable rural communities under climate change
  • climate-ready cities
  • climate-adapted Northern Australia development
  • towards a comprehensive climate security strategy for Australia.
And synthesis summaries for:
  • land management
  • business and industry
  • biodiversity
  • infrastructure
  • local government.
For more information on the program, please contact Sarah Boulter:

Nominate a Climate Adaptation Champion

Would you like to recognize the contributions and achievements of those who are finding practical and innovative ways to adapt to the impacts of climate change?

We seek to showcase people and projects actively changing behaviour, techniques, businesses and policies to adapt to an altered future. Nominations are sought in each of four categories: Individual, Business, Community or Government. 

Champions will receive free registration and travel for the NCCARF CSIRO Climate Adaptation Conference 2016 in Adelaide (5-7 July), where the 2015-2016 Champions will be announced and receive their awards.

Nominations close 4 March 2016. You can nominate a Climate Adaptation Champion here.  
For more information contact Ana Perez:

Newsletters from the NCCARF networks

Each of the networks have produced their own newsletters this month.  Follow the links to find out more about their activities and events.
For more information on the NCCARF National Adaptation Networks visit:
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

Director’s Office
Jean Palutikof

Sarah Boulter
Research Fellow


David Rissik
Deputy Director General Manager

Jenny West
Business & Operations Manager
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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