Climate Change Adaptation

South Australia has its Climate Change Adaptation Framework, including the Government Action Plan. I don't think it's wise to use the title "Prospering in a Changing Climate …", because this can have all sorts of connotations, not least of which is "business as usual" and extracting more from resources that do not have the capacity to provide that prosperity. Just think water! And soils!

Let's see what is at the federal level.

Significant changes have happened at the federal level since the Liberal/National coalition came to power in September 2013. Climate change policies have been turned on their head. Nevertheless, information is still available on Adapting to Climate Change, including the position paper on climate change.

Here's a quote from the federal government's Climate Change website (click on the link above).

Managing the risks for Australia

Scientists tell us that the carbon pollution we have already put in the atmosphere is causing unavoidable changes in our climate. These changes will have consequences in Australia such as more frequent and more extreme weather events including heatwaves, storms, cyclones and bushfires; a continued decline in rainfall in southern Australia; and higher temperatures leading to decreases in water supplies. Australia must take action now to prepare for these impacts. This includes changing the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, diversifying the water supplies in our cities and improving our water use, rethinking the way we develop vulnerable coastal areas, or planting more drought-tolerant crops.

The decisions governments make today about infrastructure, health, water management, agriculture, biodiversity and housing will have lasting consequences for our children and future generations. By considering the future climate when making these decisions Australia will be in a better position to deal with the unavoidable impacts of climate changes.

What is missing? Before I get to that, it should be said that a new conversation about Australian agricultural land is urgently needed. 

The South Australian parliament had an opportunity in an inquiry Sustainable Farming Practices in December 2012 to expose the deep problems confronting the agricultural sector, but I fear it has decided to pass on this.

Australia's Farming Future ended its life in June 2012, but it was mostly about assisting farmers make adjustments and adapt to climate change. There was still something missing.

The Carbon Farming Initiative, now enshrined in law and introduced as a program in December 2011, is a voluntary carbon offsets scheme. It was starting to get closer to what is required, but it was still missing an essential element.

There are many examples in government-initiated programs in recent years and in years long past, that have yet to tackle the biggest opportunity for farmers to lessen their risk in future years to predicted climate variabilities.

So, what am I talking about? 

The declining condition of Australia's agricultural landscapes.

A new conversation has begun. Click on the image below to download a most fascinating report.                                                         

This is no ordinary report. Indeed, it's more of a conversation laced with many ideas about Australia's future direction - if only a new common language were to rise up that everyone could speak and understand.

The language of landscape. 

This is where I think Australia should be heading, not only to allow farmers to remain productive well into the future, but also to give rise to a new agri-economy.

Have your say. Do you think we need a new language of landscape as mentioned in the report?

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