When to Adapt – Now or Later?

Identifying what we need to do in response to climate change and when we need to do it can be the most challenging aspect of the adaptation planning process, especially given the uncertainties about when we might actually experience changes in climate.

We are in the process of finalising a number of regional climate change adaptation plans for regions across the State. At recent workshops for the Adapt West, Resilient East and Limestone Coast projects, we have trialled a new approach developed by URPS that breaks down the detailed adaptation planning into a series of self-guided workshop activities. These involve participants working through topics such as our tolerance or thresholds for changing what we are currently doing, when our existing approaches might not be enough to cope with changes in climate, and ‘now or later’ in talking though timing for action and when, for example, a proposed action will no longer be useful as we experience changes in climate.

Feedback from participants indicated that this approach was helpful in breaking down the complex adaptation planning process into something that they can work through themselves. It has also reinforced in us the view that people from diverse sectors working collaboratively are critical to the development of clear and locally-relevant plans.