Q&A with Climate Council’s Dr. Martin Rice

By on 16 January, 2018

Victoria’s Lake Hume at 4 percent capacity. Image by Tim J Keegan via Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Dr Martin Rice is Head of Research at Climate Council of Australia, bringing more than 15 years of professional experience working for global, regional and national climate change-related research programmes.

The Climate Council’s research has found extreme weather events are projected to worsen across Australia due to climate change. How can we prepare for a future where extreme weather events are more common?

We need to prepare for worsening extreme weather events. This could include ensuring that bushfire evacuation plans are in place, and providing access to cooled, well air-conditioned places and drinking water during times of extreme heat. Decision makers need to provision adequate resources available to communities affected by extreme weather events, such as the allocation of more firefighting resources and personnel.

How can we underscore the importance of having resilient infrastructure development and urban, and rural, planning processes?

Climate change and extreme weather needs to be at the forefront of decisions made in the planning process, whether it be in urban and rural environments. It is essential that infrastructure is resilient to extreme weather events.

Our energy infrastructure, which was built for a 20th century climate, is ageing and polluting, and has already been shown to be vulnerable during heatwaves, such as in New South Wales in February 2017. There are however good examples of planning that consider climate risks. The development of the new parallel runway at Brisbane Airport is an excellent case study in the incorporation of climate change considerations in the decision-making process for long-lived infrastructure.

At the Extreme Weather Conference, the Climate Council will be hosting a panel session on how to communicate climate science and impacts effectively to different audiences. What can readers expect from to hear at the event next year?

Communicating climate change information to a range of audiences is critical to increase the awareness of how climate change is influencing extreme weather events, and why we need to do more to tackle climate change effectively.

With leading international experts from the areas of extreme weather attribution science, heatwaves, health and climate impacts, and climate policy/governance, this panel will delve into how to effectively communicate climate change by making the problem relevant, concrete and local.

Dr. Martin Rice will appear at the Xtreme Weather conference on March 20 at Sofitel Brisbane, moderating the panel discussion ‘Critical Decade: The latest climate science and impacts. How to communicate effectively to different audiences’. To see the full program and register for the event, go to: https://xtremeweather.com.au

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