Melbourne and climate change
City of Melbourne’s (CoM) has embarked on adapting the municipality to climate change. Its approach to adaptation focuses on addressing the risks and increasing our community’s resilience to the impacts expected from a changing climate. By 2030 Melbourne is expected to be significantly affected by warmer temperatures and heatwaves, lower rainfall, intense storm events and flash flooding. To minimise the effect of these impending impacts, effective and prompt adaptation is imperative. The City of Melbourne Adaptation Strategy (the Strategy), released in 2009, and associated implementation plan establishes a long term response to the key risks for the city.
CoM’s first step on the adaptation pathway was to understand and prioritise our risks. We then identified the steps needed to address those risks.
As Council does not have the ability to manage Melbourne’s climate change risks in isolation, effective communication and engagement with various stakeholders is extremely important. Numerous government bodies and other organisations are responsible for the management of these risks. In addition to this community engagement is essential. Resilience must be built throughout the community including businesses and individual households. Council has a key role to play in achieving this.
Since the development of our Strategy and Implementation Plan Council has undertaken a range of activities to better understand and manage these risks:
- Thermal imaging of Melbourne’s hot and cool spots and development of approaches to minimise the impact of heat waves such as trialling cool roofs
- Development of an urban forest strategy
- Flood modelling
- Incorporating risk management actions into Council’s corporate risk register to ensure adaptation is embedded into what we do.
- Social research to understand our community’s perception of climate change and its risks to individuals and businesses.
Council recognises that climate change adaptation is an ongoing challenge that needs to be part of how we make decisions from now on. This is just the beginning of our journey and significant work is yet to be done, but understanding and prioritising our risks has allowed us to begin addressing the most significant risks and work towards making the City of Melbourne municipality more resilient.