Limits to Climate Change Adaptation for Low-Lying Communities in the Torres Strait

McNamara, K.E., Smithers, S.G., Westboy, R., and Parnell, K. (2011) Limits to Climate Change Adaptation for Low-Lying Communities in the Torres Strait. Report. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

The National Climate Change Research Facility (NCCARF) is undertaking a program of Synthesis and Integrative Research to synthesise existing and emerging national and international research on climate change impacts and adaptation. The purpose of this program is to provide decision-makers with information they need to manage the risks of climate change.

This report on "Limits to climate change adaptation for two low-lying communities in the Torres Strait" forms part of a series of studies/reports commissioned by NCCARF that look at the limits to adaptation. The notion of 'limits to adaptation' is fundamentally concerned with identifying the thresholds at which actions to adapt cease to reduce vulnerability. Much of the research on adaptation avoids the question of what adaptation cannot achieve. It is therefore implied by omission that adaptation can avoid all climate impacts. Yet this is clearly not going to be the case for many systems, sectors and places at even modest rates of warming, let alone at the more rapid rates of warming that now seem almost inevitable. Understanding the limits to adaptation is an emerging frontier of climate change research. It is important for decision making about adaptation for three reasons.

Firstly, it helps to determine which responses to climate change are both practicable and legitimate, and the time scales over which adaptation may be considered to be effective. Secondly, it helps to understand how people may respond to the damage to, or the loss of, things that are important to them, for which there may, in some cases, be substitutes or ameliorating policy measures. Thirdly, it can help prioritise adaptation strategies, refine their intentions, and identify communities that will be served by them.

This report contributes to the understanding of the social and cultural limits to adaptation for small island communities in Torres Strait and elsewhere, elicited through interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders within the selected island communities. It seeks to better understand and define the adaptation strategies that communities and community members in the Torres Strait consider to be appropriate, what resources and required, and how and when particular adaptation strategies might be effective or otherwise. Thus the project provides new and necessary information required to guide culturally appropriate adaptation planning and responses for these communities in the future.

Item ID: 28984
Item Type: Report (Report)
ISBN: 978-1-921609-46-6
Funders: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2013 01:34
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040699 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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