Practical Responses to Climate Change Conference finds Engineers crucial in adapting to climate change
The Practical Responses to Climate Change Conference held in Canberra last week, provided a platform for sharing experiences, research and strategies to manage the variable and changing climate. Engineers were identified as critical for responding to the risks of climate change due to their skills and knowledge of its impacts on the ground, as well as their capacity to develop practical solutions to the problem.
Almost 200 delegates came together to hear about plans, options and contingencies for adapting to the changing climate. The Conference saw leading engineers, policy makers, planners and researchers band together to share their research and regimes for effectively responding to climate change, in particular the development and implementation of water policy as a result of climate change.
The main message from the three day Conference was that influencers in the field need to continue to ‘act-now’ to develop pathways to sustainable and resilient futures. To achieve this, experts identified the need to build work across multiple levels of governance, sectors and scales of settlement, as well as interfaces between domains including:
· regional, urban and coastal planning,
· emergency management, and
· National and international security.
Experts identified such action would help to develop sustainable and safe communities for living, accompanied by sound infrastructure and governance systems.
Among the regimes shared at the Conference was the adoption of "disposable" or "relocatable" infrastructure in coastal environments as a response to sea-level rise and coastal erosion, as well as ,making transportable water purification plants the first item to be brought into disaster effected zones, allowing basic human needs to be catered for.
The Conference identified the need for dedicated research to be conducted on preparedness strategies or pre-emptive options for typical climate variability and worst-case climate change (for example low cost geo-engineering alternatives, insurance or other future funding options such as disaster funds). Also identified was the need for effective stakeholder engagement across all levels of governance to be undertaken, which includes scenario planning and building capacity to adapt to future global, water and climate challenges.
This was the second Practical Responses to Climate Change conference held with an overall aim to maintain Australia’s environmental, social and economic wellbeing. Engineers Australia supports ongoing involvement in the climate policy debate.