There is one word that encapsulates all of the climate adaptation efforts that everyone is working towards. To put this into context, we have just completed a major piece of work for the Queensland government to help them prepare the Queensland Climate Adaptation Strategy. The government was seeking best practice in governance, action, monitoring, reporting and evaluation. I reviewed documents and plans from across the globe, spoke to government adaptation policy staff from many countries and distilled all the lessons into a series of pithy diagrams. After undertaking this extensive effort, it turns out that most government efforts in climate change action can be summed up in one word …
Despite their huge diversity, all jurisdictions have one broad goal. This goal can be described in one word: mainstreaming. Mainstreaming adaptation actions means deciding upon the systems, governance approaches, measures and actions that need to be implemented, with the aim of building a just, sustainable, adapted and prosperous society. This mainstreaming must underpin everything undertaken by the relevant government.
So, the key question is ‘How does building a better future become part of every action we take and every decision that is made’.
There are hundreds of examples of effective climate adaptation from across the globe. Here are just a few; the complete report stretches over 30 pages.
Manitoba, Canada provides support for Climate Change Connection. This program will help to deliver education and outreach and to enhance awareness and capacity-building efforts more broadly, for a range of decision makers and stakeholders. http://climatechangeconnection.org/
British Columbia has undertaken an assessment of the impacts of, and risks due to, climate change for the oil and gas sector. The province has developed targeted climate projections using relevant climate parameters for the oil and gas industry and the region. Climate-related risks include water shortages, flooding, landslides, forest fires, and shifts in species distributions. The project engaged stakeholders in consultation activities and produced adaptation recommendations. http://www.retooling.ca/_Library/docs/Climate_Assessment_NEBC_2015_web.pdf
New South Wales funds local councils to address climate change risks or vulnerabilities through the Building Resilience to Climate Change grants program. http://www.lgnsw.org.au/policy/climate-change/building-resilience
Villages, towns, cities and counties participating in the New York State Climate Smart Communities program are asked to incorporate climate-change into local planning and obtain guidance and support. http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/50845.html
Our new business, named XDI for the Cross Dependency Initiative, works with infrastructure providers and managers to optimise adaptation planning and future investment in infrastructure affected by weather and climate change. We call this area Infrastructure Solutions. I will write about it more in future. www.xdi.systems
All of these examples above are bringing about real change now, and will certainly do so in future. Mainstreaming has created practical, ‘do-able’ ways of creating a new and positive future.