Generating integrated climate change research

The Griffith Climate Change Response Program leads Griffith University’s research into climate change adaptation and mitigation. As climate change issues cut across many fields of study our research projects are transdisciplinary. The program brings together the wealth of Griffith research expertise from across the University, enabling climate change problems to be addressed in a comprehensive manner and often in conjunction with our international partners.


The Narratives of Climate Change Symposium is an interdisciplinary collaboration inspired by the possibility that the gap between scientific knowledge and effective political, legal and social action can be bridged by alternative forms of narrative, incorporated into and developed by artistic creations, works of fiction, social and other media, performances of all types including theatrical, activist and absurdist, visionary planning and innovative litigation such as the Children’s Trust lawsuits.

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Research in focus - primary forest and climate change

The world’s remaining primary forest are irreplaceable sanctuaries for much of the world’s biodiversity, play a significant role in global climate, and support the sustainable livelihoods of their indigenous custodians. Policies are failing to halt their ongoing degradation and destruction.

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Gallery of activities and meetings

In March 2018 Sam Mackay (Program Manager, Griffith Climate Change Response Program) and Madeleine McGann (iCLIM Project Officer) participated in a workshop about the importance of climate change information and knowledge management and its critical role in adaptation planning and resilience planning with delegates from the Government of Papua New Guinea.  Hosted by the Office of Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA), the workshop saw participants agree on priority actions for establishing a strategic framework and work plan for the CCDA, as the lead government climate change agency.

Dr Tim Cadman and Dr Ed Morgan from the Griffith Climate Change Response Program led a "Laboratory" at the Solutions Pavilion at the Global Landscapes Forum that was held in Bonn, Germany from 19-20 December 2017.The Global Landscapes Forum sparks and sustains conversations on sustainability. It is the world’s largest, science-led multi-sectoral platform, engaging through global, regional and local events, national policy dialogues and online Digital Summits. At the laboratory they showcased the Primary forest and climate change project and Tim presented his interactive Climate Regime Map.

In November/December 2017 Professor Brendan Mackey co-hosted a workshop in Brisbane - The International Union for Conservation of Nature (National Committee of Australia) (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Beyond the Aichi Targets Task Force Australian Consultation. Participants discussed the next generation of area-based conservation targets under the post-2020 biodiversity strategy.

Professor Brendan Mackey, Director, Griffith Climate Change Response Program moderated a side event, "Oceania and Climate Change: Perspectives from the Blue Continent", at 15 November 2017, during the COP23 held in Bonn, Germany. It was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature regional office.

Representatives from the Griffith Climate Change Response Program attended COP23 in Bonn in November 2017. While at COP23 they presented at a side event of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - What role of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes, in climate change mitigation and adaptation? Professor Brendan Mackey along with Phillip Dufffy (Wood Holes Research Centre) and Virginia Young (Australian Rainforest Conservation Society) discussed the climate change mitigation and adaptation significance of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes, and considered the policy implications for the Paris Agreement guidelines and rules. The Griffith Climate Change Response Program along with the Wood Holes Research Centre and the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society and other research partners are working on the Primary forest and climate change project which considers these issues.

In November 2017 visitors from the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), The University of the West Indies, Barbados were hosted by the Griffith Climate Change Response Program.  The purpose of the five-day visit was to build a collaborative research relationship with Griffith University, particularly across the Griffith Climate Change Response Program and the Australian Rivers Institute, through synergistic studies around water, disasters and climate change in Small Island Developing States. In the photo from Griffith University - Dr Oz Sahin, Dan Ware, Dr Wade Hadwen, Prof Brendan Mackey, Gaelle Faivre, Camaria Holder and Dr Serena Lee.  In the photo from CERMES -  Prof Adrian Cashman (Director), Crystal Dasent (Research Associate), Crystal Drakes (Research Associate) and Tara Mackey (PhD candidate).

Dr Johanna Nalau, Research Fellow, Griffith Climate Change Response Program and Griffith Institute for Tourism, providing a presentation about climate change adaptation to year 7 students at Emmanuel College, Gold Coast in August 2017.

Professor Brendan Mackey, Director, Griffith Climate Change Response Program, participating in the Eco Forum Global (EFG) in Guiyang and the EFG Seminar about World Heritage Application and National Park Construction in Anshun, China in June 2017.

Professor Mackey was appointed as an expert advisor to Anshun Huangguoshu World Cultural and National Heritage Declaration by the Anshun Muncipal People's Government. The term of appointment is June 2017 to June 2020.

Professor Brendan Mackey participating in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) Scoping Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May 2017.

The IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change. At the meeting in Ethiopia there were over 200 experts from 60 countries working on drafting the outline of AR6. The agreed outline will allow IPCC authors to prepare a comprehensive, balanced and objective assessment of our knowledge of climate change that is relevant to policymakers at all levels and in all regions. AR6 is expected to be ready for release in 2022.

Professor Brendan Mackey with representatives from the Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council (Gecko) meeting with the Hon Dr Steven Miles, Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, at the Community Cabinet meeting in October 2016. At the meeting, Professor Mackey displayed a portable solar power system from Ledtek and there was discussion about the Climate Change for Good Conference which Gecko and the Griffith Climate Change Response Program co-hosted at Griffith University in October 2016. Minister Miles was a keynote speaker at the conference.

In March 2016 Dr Johanna Nalau, Paul Nalau (Vanuatu Government representative) and Professor Mackey met with Mrs Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and founder of The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice. They discussed the Griffith Climate Change Response Program Pacific iClim project, integrating human rights elements into country and adaptation reporting methodologies and related issues.

Dr Tim Cadman (second from the right), Research Fellow, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law and Griffith Climate Change Response Program. participating in the Integrity Dialogue on Climate Change Adaptation Finance Transparency: Accountability and Participation, held in Bangladesh in March 2016.

Members of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program participated in various side events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 (COP21):

Professor Brendan Mackey gave an overview science address on the topic “Forests and oceans: why do they matter in the fight against climate change?” at the Forests and Oceans: for the People side event. The event was organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International and held at the Climate Generations Area. Opening addresses by Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Minister of Environment of Peru and Yolanda Kakabadse, President, WWF International.

Dr Tim Cadman presented his online and interactive climate change governance map at the COP21 side event Global Landscapes Forum.

President of Kirabati speaking at the COP21 side event UNESCO Sites as Climate Change Observatories: the contributions of World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks for Climate Knowledge and Action. Professor Brendan Mackey was the event moderator.

Professor Brendan Mackey is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In May 2015 he  participated in the IUCN meeting in Switzerland.

The Griffith Climate Change Response Program hosts various visitors:

In July 2015 Rob Archer, Aboriginal Elder and Director of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA) visited.  NAILSMA is an Indigenous led not-for-profit company operating across north Australia who assist Indigenous people manage their country sustainably for all future generations.

The Hon Rachmat Witolear, Indonesian President's Envoy for Climate Change and Erna Witoelar are regular visitors to Griffith University. In April 2015 they participated at a climate change round table dialogue.

In May/June 2015 fellows from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu visited the Griffith Climate Change Response Program for an Australia Awards Fellowship program focused on valuing culture and nature for sustainable natural resource management:

Group photo of the Fellows with Dan Ware of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program.

Professor Sarah Todd, Pro Vice Chancellor (Griffith International) with Stanley Wapot, Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat, and, Professor Brendan Mackey.

Melanesian Fellows in Dimbulah Wungu country.

In October/November 2014 Griffith University sponsored the Mua Voyage project's visit to the Gold Coast, just one of the ports of call for the traditional “vakas”. They left their Pacific Island homes on 24 September to begin a 6000-nautical mile journey across the ocean and down the east coast of Australia. The aim of Mua Voyage was to raise awareness of the vulnerability and the preciousness of the Pacific Ocean environment and the communities that call it home and depend upon it:

Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Presentation at the United Nations Climate Leaders Summit in 2014

Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner speaks on behalf of civil society during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Leaders Summit in New York City.

Griffith Climate Change Response Program