Latest news & events from the Griffith Climate Change Response Program
RELEASE OF NEW SCIENCE INFORMING POLICY BRIEF - 1/21
The Griffith University Climate Action Beacon has released its first Science Informing Policy Brief - Reforming Carbon Accounting to Support Nature-Based Solutions. The core problem is that data reported under the UNFCCC for net emissions and removals related to human activities are insufficient for the understanding of the carbon dynamics of
ecosystems. The system of carbon accounting employed is a critical issue because accounting rules influence the reported emissions reductions, and thus directly impact policy outcomes. If the accounting rules do not fully reflect the mitigation outcomes, then a gap opens up between policy goals and actual mitigation achieved, thus undermining credibility as well as contributing to mitigation failure.
"PRIMARY FORESTS" REPORT FOR THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION OF THE UN
In March 2021, the Griffith University, Climate Action Beacon, released a discussion paper - A Review of Definitions, Data, and Methods for Country-level Assessment and Reporting of Primary Forest. The paper is intended to facilitate discussion among national correspondents and other experts in workshops hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The discussion paper - i) reviews and assesses definitions relating to primary forests; ii) collates and evaluates datasets and methods currently available for measuring the extent of primary forests; and iii) provides options for defining, assessing and reporting on primary forests.
AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTES LEAD THE WAY IN CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION
Griffith University is ranked 4th globally for publishing on climate change adaptation is a significant achievement and shows how our consistent efforts to invest in climate adaptation science have placed our university among globally leading institutions in this field. From more than 11000 papers (published during 1978-2020), Griffith University researchers identified the top five key institutions as Wageningen University, Chinese Academy of Science, CSIRO, Griffith University, and Australian National University.
LOGGING AND THINNING OF FORESTS CAN INCREASE FIRE RISK
Logging can make native forests more flammable and lead to greater fire severity for decades, while ‘mechanical thinning’ can also increase fire risk. These are two of the key findings of an expert review of published scientific research by The Bushfire Recovery Project – a joint project between Griffith University and the Australian National University to provide the Australian community with a scientific understanding of bushfires.
GRIFFITH EXPERTS TAKE LEADING ROLE IN NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH HUB
Griffith University will host the eastern Australia node of a new environmental research hub providing leadership in the study of threatened species and the preparation/adaptation to extreme events such as bushfires. Researchers from the Australian Rivers Institute and Griffith Climate Action Beacon will join a national team as part of the Resilient Landscapes Hub.
The Bushfire Recovery Project is a collaboration between The Australian National University, Griffith Climate Change Response Program and the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative. The project website was launched on 9 December 2020 and provides a science informed response to bushfires based on scientific research findings, information and data. Three Fact Sheets and Reports have been released in January and February 2021 - 1) How does climate affect bushfire risks in the native forests of South-Eastern Australia? 2) How do the native forests of South-Eastern Australia survive bushfires? and, 3) What are the relationships between native forest logging and bushfires? Interviews by Jon Dee with Prof Mackey and Dr Patrick Norman about bushfires, regeneration and climate are also on the project website.
NEW ARTICLE - NATIONAL ADAPTATION PLANNING IN THE PACIFIC
On 20 November 2020 a paper was published in Regional Environmental Change - Applying information for national adaptation planning and decision making: present and future practice in the Pacific Islands. The paper draws on the GCCRP's Pacific iCLIM project. The paper examines the use of climate change-related information for national adaptation planning and decision-making in the Pacific Islands region to better understand the use of, and demand for, such information.
THE NEXUS REPORT
A new report prepared by Charles Victor Barber (World Resources Institute), Rachael Petersen (Earthrise Services), Virginia Young (Australian Rainforest Conservation Society), Brendan Mackey (Griffith University), Cyril Kormos (Wild Heritage) calls for Nature-based Solutions to play a pivotal role in responding to three of the highest risks to humankind: biodiversity loss, climate change and emergence of zoonotic diseases.
PHOTOS OF WHALES AND EXPLORATION OF RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIMATE CHANGE
Dr Olaf Meynecke is the GCCRP whale ecologist working on the Whales and Climate Change project. On 2 November 2020 his article was published in The Conversation - Photos from the field: these magnificent whales are adapting to warming water, but how much can they take?
RESEARCH DIVES DEEP TO UNDERSTAND CLIMATE IMPACTS ON WHALES
A world-first research project aims to understand how ocean changes influence the recovery of whale populations in the southern hemisphere. An international team of researchers from six countries including Australia aim to create a model for whale distributions under future climate-change scenarios and investigate changes influencing population status and conservation of humpback whales. Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program and Co-Director of the Whales and Climate research, said the five-year research program would establish a fundamental understanding of how changing ocean conditions were influencing the recovery of humpback whale populations.
HIGH-PROFILE BOARD TO DRIVE NEW APPROACH FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Growing concern about climate change has led to the appointment of an Australian-first board to help develop new strategies, partnerships and investment for climate action. The high-profile group will be chaired by internationally-recognised impact investment expert Rosemary Addis AM. It also includes community leaders such as John Hewson AM, Ann Sherry AO, Anthony McAvoy SC, Helen Szoke AO, Sophia Hamblin Wang and Professor Brendan Mackey. The board will advise Griffith University’s new Climate Ready Initiative (CRI) as it develops a model that can enable the much-needed partnership, investment and collective action required to prepare Australia for future climate risks and opportunities.
CLIMATE CHANGE RISK MANAGEMENT TOOLS
The National Climate Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) which is also based at the Gold Coast campus with the Climate Action Beacon, is delighted to have been involved in the development of important climate risk management tools released by the Queensland Government. The new tools have been developed to help households and small businesses identify and manage climate change risks. The tools contain information on climate change, checklists to assess associated risks and links to other resources. In taking these first steps, households and small businesses can improve their awareness of future risks and be better prepared to respond to present day weather extremes.
WEBINAR - ACTING TOGETHER - UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLABORATION FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Join Griffith University and the Gold Coast Climate Action Network on Tuesday 11 August from 6:30 pm for a Webinar discussing the gap between climate commitments and climate action, the role of universities and ways in which the university and communities can collaborate to help close the climate action gap.
Our panelists are all members of the leadership group for Griffith University's Climate Action Beacon - Professor Brendan Mackey, Associate Professor Kerrie Foxwell-Norton, Sam Mackay, Professor Christopher Fleming and Associate Professor Samantha Capon.
The webinar and Q&A is from 6:30 - 7:30 pm, with a soft close at 7:30 pm. Attendees are very welcome to stay on for another 1/2 hour for a more informal conversation about collaboration and bridging the climate action gap on the Gold Coast.
For more information about the event please email email@example.com
GREEN FINANCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE: RT HON. WILLIAM RUSSELL
Join an interactive livestream presented by CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) and the Griffith University Business School on Tuesday, 21 July from 4:15 pm AEST about the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future being the commercial opportunity of a generation. The Speakers are - The Right Honourable William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, and Dr Pradeep Philip, Lead Partner, Deloitte Access Economics, CEDA Board of Directors.
PACIFIC ISLANDS AND COMMUNITY-BASED ADAPTATION
A collaboration between Queensland-based universities and Pacific Island communities has found climate change adaptation programs are only sustained if they develop local ownership. Published in Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of Queensland, Griffith University and the University of the Sunshine Coast, worked with national and international development organisations on the ground to assess the success of community-based climate change adaptations in four Pacific Island countries. Despite contributing only 0.03% of global carbon emissions, the Pacific Islands are at the frontline of climate change impacts. These island nations are facing more frequent cyclones, floods, droughts and fires as a consequence of climate change
WEBINAR - RISKS AND RESILIENCE OF SMALL ISLANDS: PANDEMICS, CLIMATE, AND OTHER CRISES
Join us for a webinar on "Risks and Resilience of Small Islands: Pandemics, Climate, and other Crises" on Thursday, 9 July 2020 at 1:30 PM AEST. Geographically surrounded and isolated by the sea, what are the challenges that the small island inhabitants face? What does it mean to be resilient and how could a small island be resilient in the face of multiple crises? Let's discuss these questions with the experts. Speakers include Prof Caitlin Byrne, Director, Griffith Asia Institute and Prof Brendan Mackey, Director, Griffith Climate Action Beacon.
EARTH CHARTER 20TH ANNIVERSARY ONLINE FORUM
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Earth Charter please join Prof Brendan Mackey, Director, Griffith Climate Action Beacon and Caitlin Byrne, Director, Griffith Asia Institute, on Monday 29 June from 1 pm (AEST) discussing the relevance of the Earth Charter to current times and the role of regional diplomacy in the Webinar - Turning Conscience into Action for Global Collaboration.
WEBINAR - ECOTOURISM, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC RECOVERY FROM THE PANDEMIC
Join us for another webinar - Ecotourism: Sustainable Economic Recovery from the Pandemic - on Thursday 25 June from 1:30 pm (AEST). It is a webinar in the series organised by the CAIPSDCC - Collaborative Australia-Indonesia Program on Sustainable Development and Climate Change - a collaboration between Universitas Indonesia and Griffith University. The event commences on Thursday 11 June 1 pm AEDST. Register below to join the webinar.
WEBINAR - GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE ON SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT IN TIMES OF COVID-19
Is there a connection between COVID-19 and deforestation? Will a COVID-19 pandemic drive more deforestation? The webinar - Global Perspective on Sustainable Landscape Management in Times of COVID-19 - will address these issues and more. GCCRP Director Prof Mackey will be presenting alongside colleagues from the Universitas Indonesia and the Sustainable Trade Initiative Indonesia. This webinar is part of a series hosted by the CAIPSDCC - Collaborative Australia-Indonesia Program on Sustainable Development and Climate Change - a collaboration between Universitas Indonesia and Griffith University. The event commences on Thursday 11 June 1 pm AEDST. Register below to join the webinar.
KEY DRIVERS OF EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN THE 21ST CENTURY
On Tuesday 9 June from 11 pm AEST a free webinar will be held aimed at understanding key drivers of infectious disease emergence and spread in the 21st century, how they contribute to spillover events, outbreaks and pandemics and the opportunities for better surveillance and prediction. GCCRP's Dr Esther Onyango will be providing a 15 minute presentation. Also GCCRP Director Prof Brendan Mackey will be speaking along with Prof Hamish McCallum from Griffith University.
NEW BLOG POST - ECOSYSTEMS, CLIMATE CHANGE AND GDP: SOME CONSIDERATIONS FOR PICS
Rural communities in Pacific island countries (PICs), which rely directly and acutely on nature’s goods and services for food and materiale, face a range of interlinking threats to their management of natural resources. These threats are exacerbated by climate change-related risks and a backdrop of rapid socio-economic transition. Environmental economists have developed robust methods for the economic valuation of the contributions of nature to human well-being, conceptualised through the ecosystem services framework.
WEBINAR - DATA SURVEILLANCE VIRAL PANDEMICS - TUESDAY 26 MAY
Emerging infectious diseases, viral pandemics and surveillance. What are the drivers? Where are we heading globally? How can we apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to design better tools for early warning systems and surveillance? What are the ethics, governance and human rights issues to be considered?
The Africa Legal Network (ALN) Academy in collaboration with The Commonwealth, Griffith University, Microsoft and Strathmore University is pleased to invite you to the opening session of a 5 part series to discuss issues related to the current moves towards the deployment of surveillance systems as a response to tackling viral pandemics to be held on Tuesday 26 of May from 11 pm to 2:30 am (AEST) (or 4 - 7:30 pm EAT).
Register and join the discussions in this exciting webinar series featuring GCCRP's Prof Brendan Mackey and Dr Esther Onyango as part of a multidisciplinary expert panel from academia, the private sector and non-governmental organisations to explore these questions to determine the types of frameworks that will be required to strike the right balance between public health, privacy and maintaining the highest ethical standards.
CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR ALL
As extreme weather, rising sea levels and shifting landscapes reinforce the realities of living with a changing climate, a team of Griffith scientists are working on the frontline to reduce the global impact.
Taking on such a challenge has been no easy task, requiring the coordination of multiple experts, from micro economists to coastal engineers, marine ecologists, planners and social scientists.
There are also other factors to consider, such as operating in remote areas, engaging with culturally diverse communities and governments, and informing international policies.
Professor Brendan Mackey, director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program (GCCRP), oversees the research projects tackling climate change, many of which are funded through philanthropy.
GRIFFITH LAUNCHES MAJOR CLIMATE ACTION INTIATIVE
A long-time leader in climate change research, Griffith has unveiled a new initiative bringing together experts and partners to address this critical societal problem. The next 10 years offers a critical window for Australia, and indeed all countries, to accelerate the transition to a net zero emissions economy and build capacity for a climate resilient future. Driven by this imperative, the Griffith Climate Action Beacon was established–a focal point bringing together a team of experts and partners that cross disciplinary boundaries to address this critical societal problem.
GOVERNING THE SUN: THE CHALLENGES OF GEOENGINEERING
Tim Cadman from GCCRP has co-authored an article examining governance and geoengineering. Governments have previously sought to reduce climate-change inducing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere through mitigation and adaptation activities, but are now exploring other measures. Negative emissions technologies (NET) are aimed carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to a level consistent with a desired temperature, while solar geoengineering, also known as solar radiation management, or modification (SRM) seeks to reflect sunlight away from earth and thereby reduce global temperatures. Existing measures to combat rising emissions have not been entirely successful, and CDR and SRM have consequently gained increased policy traction in recent years. Emerging technologies include bioenergy, carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI). A careful, unbiased, and knowledge-driven assessment of the risks of these technologies is required, and that robust governance systems should be put in place before they are implemented any further.
NEW BLOG POST - PRIMARY FORESTS: A PRIORITY NATURE-BASED SOLUTION
We are quickly running out of time on climate change and biodiversity. It is critical that we prioritise the most useful nature-based solutions: protecting the planet’s remaining primary forests and intact forest landscapes.
Read more from the International Union for Conservation of Nature blog post, which includes Cyril Mackey, Brendan Mackey and Virginia Young who are working on the Primary Forests projects.
TROPICAL FORESTS AND MITIGATION - NEW PUBLICATION
A new scientific publication - Understanding the importance of primary tropical forest protection as a mitigation strategy - produced as part of research under the GCCRP-led project - Protection of Primary Forests and Climate Change - has been published. The paper has four parts: 1 - Examining the mitigation value of tropical primary forests; 2- Evaluating the current focus of forest-based mitigation strategies; 3- Examining the issue of emissions from degradation and selective logging impacts; and 4 - Comparing the carbon stocks of primary forests and production forests. The paper concludes with recommendations for a global mitigation strategy.
GREAT TRANSITION INITIATIVE
Prof Brendan Mackey, GCCRP Director, recently led an online forum on the topic 'Toward a Great Ethics Transition' for the Great Transition Initiative founded by Paul Raskin. Brendan was a member of the core drafting team for the Earth Charter which was launched at the Hague Peace Palace in 2000. His initial commentary piece, the curated set of interventions, and his final response, can be read here .....