South East Coastal Adaptation (SECA): Coastal urban climate futures in SE Australia from Wollongong to Lakes Entrance
Authors: Barbara Norman, Will Steffen, Bob Webb, Tony Capon, Bill Maher, Colin Woodroffe, Kerrylee Rogers, Rob Tanton, Yogi Vidyattama, Jacqui Lavis, Hamish Sinclair and Brian Weir
This study focussed on coastal adaptation to climate change in terms of environmental, social and economic change in the South East coastal region of Australia. The science indicates that by 2030 the region may experience increased temperatures (virtually certain), changes in the pattern of rainfall (likely), further sea-level rise (virtually certain), an increasing risk of coastal inundation and erosion (highly likely) and an increasing risk of bushfires (highly likely). Case studies from seven local government areas (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega and East Gippsland), two states and several regional organisations indicated that coastal adaptation was already taking place. While decision-makers were aware of the current science, there was a desire for data to be presented in a more community-friendly way. They expressed concern that with the devolution of adaptation responsibility to the local level, and with diminishing guidance from State Governments there would be a policy gap, making it difficult to implement consistent and coordinated climate change action at a regional scale. In contrast, a more collaborative regional approach with wide representation may be the best pathway forward for adapting to climate change on the coast.