Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan
Despite strong global action, the impacts of climate change will continue to increase over the coming decades. Australia has always faced risks arising from our harsh climate. Climate change is exacerbating our current risks and creating new ones. This has consequences to our communities and economy.
Mitigation policies alone are not enough to stop the impacts of climate change from increasing. Australia needs to adapt. This is supported by advice from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who stated the urgent need to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Improving evidence-based decision-making
The Commonwealth is taking strong action. We are helping Australians prepare for weather and climate events. We are developing Australia’s first National Climate Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan. The Risk Assessment will help understand the risks and impacts to Australia from climate change. The National Adaptation Plan will be the blueprint for responding to nationally significant climate risks identified in the Risk Assessment.
The National Climate Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan are part of the $28 million budget measure. It will be delivered over 2 years from 2023. The Risk Assessment will identify and prioritise the things that Australians care for the most. It will focus on those that are of national significance and are at risk of impacts from climate change.
These may include aspects of Australia’s:
- our social and cultural way of life
- the economy.
The Risk Assessment will provide an objective and science-based evidence for decision-making. It will help others across government, industry, and communities to conduct their own climate risk assessments.
State, territory and local governments have developed their own climate risk programs over the years. The Risk Assessment will build on the work already done. It will deliver a shared national framework. This will inform national priorities for climate adaptation and resilience actions. It will enable consistent monitoring of climate risk across Australia.
The Risk Assessment will deliver a baseline of current climate risks. This will include new and emerging risks. This will ascertain Australia’s national priorities for climate adaptation and resilience action. The Risk Assessment will draw on the expertise and capability of world-leading scientists through the Australian Climate Service. The Australian Climate Service is a partnership between the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Geoscience Australia.
Risk Assessment Stages
The Risk Assessment is planned to be the first assessment of our climate risks, and this will be repeated over time. The Risk Assessment is being delivered in 2 stages and will be completed in late 2024.
The first Risk Assessment will focus on physical climate risks. These are risks related to the direct impact of climate change. This is in line with current international practices. Transition risks from climate policy could be included in future iterations.
Scoping of the Risk Assessment completed in June 2023. It delivered a methodology that was informed by stakeholder engagement, and tested through two pilot projects. It also identified the data and capabilities needed to deliver the Risk Assessment.
Read the National Climate Risk Assessment Methodology report.
First Pass Assessment
The first pass assessment commenced in July 2023. It will deliver a high-level understanding of national priorities for climate adaptation action. It will prioritise risks for a detailed analysis. Detailed analysis will be undertaken in the second pass assessment. The first pass will be delivered in December 2023. It will consolidate understanding of Australia’s risks from literature, experts and previous work.
Second pass assessment
The second pass assessment will begin in early 2024 and deliver an in-depth analysis of priority risks identified in the first pass. The second pass will analyse climate hazard, exposure, and vulnerability data that will be used to guide and inform adaptation action. The second pass assessment will be completed by December 2024.
The Australian Climate Service will build, maintain and make available datasets and indicators. These are consistent across national and local scales. The Australian Climate Service will also make available supporting tools and information. These will inform risk awareness and decision-making.
Information provided to governments, businesses and communities will help them understand their climate risks and plan. This will provide a direct benefit to those without a dedicated climate science capability. It will increase the capacity and capabilities of those that do.
The National Adaptation Plan
The National Adaptation Plan will be the first truly national plan in Australia to lead Australia’s transition to a resilient nation in a changing climate.
The adaptation plan will use the findings of the risk assessment to build an agreed, nationally consistent pathway that prioritises Australia’s adaptation actions and opportunities. It will provide guidance on how we adapt to climate risks, scale up our adaptation efforts and build our national resilience to climate impacts.
The Plan is being led by us, and will be delivered in late 2024. Stage 1 runs until November 2023 and features targeted stakeholder consultations. This will inform our approach to broader consultation and development of the Plan in 2024.
Strengthening Climate Adaptation in Australia provides further details on development of the National Adaptation Plan.
For more information on the Risk Assessment, email the Risk Assessment team.
For more information about the Adaptation Plan, email the National Adaptation Policy Office.