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Mapping the Legal Landscape of Climate Change Adaptation


McDonald, J, Mapping the Legal Landscape of Climate Change Adaptation, Adaptation to Climate Change, Federation Press, Bonyhady, Macintosh & McDonald (ed), Sydney, pp. 1-37. ISBN 1862877963 (2010) [Research Book Chapter]

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Since the link between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and climate change was identified, the overwhelming international imperative has been to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to a level that would prevent dangerous climate change. Accordingly, climate policy over the past two decades has focused on better understanding the science behind climatic change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. During this time, discussion of how best to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate has been regarded by some as 'a kind of laziness, an arrogant faith in our ability to react in time to save our skins', or an admission of defeat. However, there is now widespread recognition that further warming over the next century is inevitable, even with radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The changes that are already 'locked in' will bring significant social, economic and environmental impacts, in the form of sea level rise, extreme weather events, and changes to critical habitats and ecological communities:

[C]limate change does not present just another disturbance regime, the operations of which we can extrapolate from current ecological knowledge; rather, it will be the undoing of ecosystems as we know them.

Due to the nature and extent or these impacts, policy makers have begun to pay more attention to adaptation and are gradually recognising that mitigation and adaptation must be seen as equally important in addressing climate change. Mitigation is imperative to avoid long-term changes, but adaptation is the only way in which society can address short-term climate impacts that cannot be avoided.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:climate change, adaptation, policy, legal frameworks
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McDonald, J (Professor Jan McDonald)
ID Code:72301
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2011-08-24
Last Modified:2013-03-18
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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