Planning for climate change uncertainty: a strategic approach to delivering effective adaptation

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Serrao-Neumann, Silvia
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2011
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Perth

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Climate change presents a number of social, economic and environmental challenges to which government, industry and civil society must respond. Public sector involvement in land use planning plays a pivotal role in responding to this challenge. Yet, embedding effective climate adaptation policy into existing planning frameworks is proving to be a difficult task for planners and policy makers. Current planning approaches reflect the long standing rational paradigm which has dominated the decision-making process for decades. Under this paradigm, the decision-making process involved in policy formulation and delivery should be informed by reliable and robust science. However, these planning approaches have limitations in the context of managing climate change impacts given the uncertainties surrounding the emergent climate science. Hence they are unlikely to be effective in safeguarding communities from long term and unpredictable climate change impacts. Anticipatory governance is a new approach to decision-making emerging in the literature and practice which attempts to deal with the complexities and uncertainties surrounding climate change. At the centre of this new approach to decision-making is a three-step process which includes future analysis, flexibility of strategies and monitoring and action. This paper uses an analytical framework based on anticipatory governance and its three-step approach to investigate the effectiveness of two Australian local government adaptation initiatives. Specifically, it investigates how these local government-led initiatives have occurred in the absence of top-down guidance/direction from both state and national levels as well as limited peer derived examples. It then discusses the challenges and opportunities local governments face in taking the lead through anticipatory governance to address climate change adaptation in their planning efforts. The paper aims to contribute analytical insights into developing effective adaptation programs at the local scale

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Planning for climate change uncertainty: a strategic approach to delivering effective adaptation

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Urban and Regional Planning not elsewhere classified

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