More Comments on the CC Adaptation Framework

Specific comments about the Draft Framework

There are numerous contentious matters in the draft report, so I have preferred to focus on a few to illustrate what I consider to be significant points.

In 1.3 “SA's early adaptation responses

  • It is fine to “build research capability” but the priority now should be about on-ground action, for there is little time to waste.
  • It is not strictly correct to reference the “five well-established biodiversity corridors” - these were supposed to have been implemented by 2010.
  • “Landscape scale management that maintains healthy natural systems ...” illustrates the distinctive problem we have with language and meaning. Maintaining a system means basically 'as it is now' not as it needs to be. It is not semantics to point this out, but a state of mind. We must move away from seeing what exists now as the norm, to visualising the landscape as it ought to be in terms of real sustainability for all ecosystems and human productive systems.
  • “Local government across South Australia are implementing a range of actions to address adaptation.” I have worked for a number of rural Councils as a consultant and I have not witnessed this. It is a fact that rural Councils are generally under-resourced and under-skilled to address in an integrated way what is needed in the future. 

In 1.4.1 “Local government

Comment as above. Without commitment, and appropriate resourcing and skills, Councils will not be able to carry out the stated roles.

Objective 3 ... The acknowledgement that “many natural systems … are already degraded” and that the need is to “increase ecosystem resilience and connectivity across the landscape through restoration and rehabilitation”, signals the fundamental problem but only goes part of the way for a solution. This illustrates the gap in the understanding of the role that native vegetation land-cover can provide in buffering some of the potential impacts of a changing climate.

In 3.2 “Regional integrated vulnerability assessments

Regional IVA's will become useful tools, but I predict that there will be many years before they will be finalised. The critical need is on-ground action in revegetation on a very large scale. It has all been stated in the past, but there is little to show for the scattered efforts provided by volunteer groups and a few farmers that have made the connection between farm productivity and natural capital.

In 4.1 “Sectoral Impacts ...”

Under “Adaptation responses” - two of the categories refer to 'losses' and acceptance of losses. This approach is defeatist and subverts opportunities for changes at the landscape-scale. There is a moral responsibility in the second decade of the 21st century to recover a significant portion of this loss.

In 4.5 “Biodiversity

What is stated here about the ability of natural systems to continue to deliver the wide range of benefits and services can be supported by following the strategy I have outlined above about revegetation on a very large scale. The economic outcomes for the “multi-million dollar tourism industry” would be sustained.

In 5 “Implementation

My concern is that the Adaptation Framework will consume too much time and will handicap the implementation of what I consider to be first priority strategies – i.e. widespread landscape revegetation. The will to change to a more resilient and robust landscape must commence now, not years down the track.

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