Climate Adaptation Flagship
Enabling Australia to adapt more effectively to the impacts of climate change and variability and informing national planning, regulation and investment decisions.
9 August 2007 | Updated 19 April 2013
The challenge facing Australia
Australia is a land of droughts and fires, storms and flooding rains – the driest inhabited continent with a dramatically variable climate of extremes.
Australia’s climate shapes:
- our lives and livelihoods
- our economic activities
- our social wellbeing
- our unique natural environment.
In recent times, the climate challenge facing Australia has become more severe and more urgent.
Australia has experienced the worst drought in recorded history, and as one consequence many cities and regions have faced severe water supply constraints.
These issues have highlighted the reality of global climate change, the massive impacts that it is likely to have on our continent and the challenges and opportunities stemming from those impacts.
Australian ecosystems, water resources, agriculture, built infrastructure, regional and remote communities, and health all have vulnerabilities to climate change.
So our responses need to embrace nearly all aspects of our economy, society and the environment.
The Australian export sector is particularly exposed to climate change due to the vulnerability of our key export commodities including:
- fossil fuels
Therefore, an integrated, systems-based approach offers the best opportunities for minimising economic, social and environmental harm, while maximising new opportunities.
Responding to climate change
The National Research Flagships Program is delivering scientific solutions to advance Australia’s most vital national objectives.
Flagships are partnerships of:
In recent times, the climate challenge facing Australia has become more severe and more urgent, so we must start adapting to climate change today in a practical and effective way.
- leading Australian scientists
- research institutions
- commercial companies
- selected international partners.
The problem of climate change is serious and demands a major response, which requires two platforms:
- mitigation of impact, through reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions
- adaptation to the inevitable climate change that will occur while mitigation gradually takes hold.
The CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship contributes to mitigation through developments in energy technologies.
The Climate Adaptation Flagship tackles the second platform, delivering the best available scientific information and expertise to support Australia's efforts to adapt to climate change today in a practical and effective way.
The Flagship's research is led by some of Australia's pre-eminent climate scientists, and will add significant value to how we adapt.
The linked issue of climate and water supply is being addressed through the Water for Healthy Country Flagship.
The four research themes within the Climate Adaptation Flagship are as follows.
The Climate Adaptation Flagship will encompass both climate variability and climate change.
CSIRO will continue its research on adapting to existing climate variability through advanced technologies such as seasonal climate prediction.
However, it is clear that this alone will not be sufficient in the face of climate change, given that natural or managed system thresholds will be crossed, and climate change will increase climate variability.
Adaptation to climate change is therefore the main focus of this Flagship.
Read more about the National Research Flagships.