Can we plan to adapt to climate change like we plan to retire?

Scott and Piet

That was the metaphor that the Hacks for Sustainability event last night in Brisbane rolled-out to generate a new perspective on adaptation policy in Queensland.

Thirty interested professionals gathered at QUT to ‘hack’ Queensland climate policy in search of cut-through solutions that can win broad-based support.

The group delved separately into cutting emissions and boosting climate resilience.

For resilience, we worked through a nine step investment or retirement planning process, thinking about what the corollary of the steps would be in adaptation planning.

This revealed new perspectives, such as the idea of measuring what overall level of resilience the State of Queensland currently has—and what it ought to aim for (i.e. analogous to understanding your starting financial position and your desired retirement lifestyle).

When you’re saving for retirement, you have to reflect on your current lifestyle and strike a reasonable balance between enjoying life and saving enough. Several hackers argued that the way we’re living now isn’t sustainable either in keeping carbon emissions low, or in investing in resilience.

In a few cases, conventional adaptation planning contrasted starkly with the metaphorical investment planning. You don’t plan your finances by tracking the minutiae of share market movements—but we love to start adaptation planning by scrutinising countless graphs of projections and meteorological observations.

It was encouraging to see more insights roll-out with the metaphor:

  • What if we manage a ‘portfolio’ of resilience assets?
  • What are acceptable losses?
  • Are governments being sufficiently prudent in holding reserves as the ultimate underwriter?
  • Does estate planning translate into working out how adaptation can become inter-generational?
  • Should we review and rebalance our resilience portfolio on a regular basis?

For mitigation, we adopted the Business Model Canvass concept, imagining the State Government as the business and abatement as revenue.

The premise was that climate change mitigation policy struggles because many of the policies are not providing inherent value that would appeal to ‘customers’, giving policies bi-partisan support.

Scott Losee convened the session and led the adaptation workshop. Ramola Yardi of Acacia Environmental facilitated the mitigation stream and Piet Filet of the Flood Community of Practice helped manage the process. Oliver Mitchell was a great help too with keeping the hack on track.

More hack insights to share soon…

One Response so far.

  1. Caitlin Losee says:

    Hi Dad!