Managing the impacts of climate change
The Institute’s A/Prof Chris Riedy was invited to give a keynote address on climate change at Marrickville Council’s recent climate change workshop. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been identified as a target in the Marrickville Community Strategic Plan. As a long-standing expert in energy policy, climate change response and social change initiatives, Chris was able to talk to Council staff who will be responsible for delivering the Council’s Climate Change Strategy and asociated action plans about the role local government can play in mitigating the effects of climate change.
Whilst there is a very strong consensus that the climate is changing and that human activities are the primary cause, some uncertainties remain. Local impacts and tipping points are hard to predict and a wide range of temperature and sea level scenarios are possible. This makes responding to the social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change challenging.
However, there are also examples of cities that have taken positive action, like Seattle which has developed a plan to go carbon neutral by 2050 by supporting active and public transport; establishing charging stations for electric vehicles, focusing development near transport nodes, using alternative energy in its own buildings, and developing reuse, recycling an composting initiatives.
There are also opportunities to move beyond zero impact by designing cities that give back more than they take. Cities can potentially generate their own energy from renewable resources, grow some of their own food and minimise fossil fuel based transport
Chris also spoke about successful examples public participation in adaptation planning that involves the communities who are impacted in finding practical solutions to the consequences of climate change.