More fires and flooding for Sunshine Coast: Global Climate Change Week discussions at USC

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More fires and flooding for Sunshine Coast: Global Climate Change Week discussions at USC

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Climate change implications for the Sunshine Coast – including increased risks of bushfires and flooding – are among topics to be discussed at USC this Global Climate Change Week.

The week of activities, which runs from October 12 to 18, will begin with a public seminar on Saturday 12 October (9.30am to 3pm) on the Implications of climate change: legal liability and insurance issues for local areas.

Seminar organiser Urban Design and Town Planning Associate Professor Claudia Baldwin from USC’s Sustainability Research Centre said the goal of the seminar was to further understand the risks to the Sunshine Coast region and community from climate change.

“Expected climate risks include sea level rise and storm surges along the coast affecting coastal properties and beaches, as well as flooding that will affect properties in existing floodplains, as well as proposed developments,” Dr Baldwin said.

“And, as we’ve seen recently in Peregian, there is also an increased risk of fires due to peri-urban development in areas surrounded by bush.

“We will be addressing a raft of implications, including who should ultimately take responsibility for risks on public and private land, and what agencies are currently doing, or not doing, to reduce that risk,” she said.

The panel will feature USC climate change and sustainability academic Dr Kate English; convener of the Climate Change Action Committee at the Insurance Council of Australia Tom Davis; BMT Australia Senior Principal Climate Change Adaptation David Rissik; Queensland Reconstruction Authority chairman Major-General Richard Wilson; and University of Queensland School of Law Senior Lecturer Dr Justine Bell-James.

Event organiser and Lecturer in Communication and Sustainability Dr Noni Keys said USC was joining universities around the world in running a week-long series of climate change activities.

“Climate change is something we have to adapt to as humans and it will touch all of our lives and everything we do,” she said.

“Events like this help normalise discussion of climate change and get beyond the political divide to where we stop debating and take action.”

Global Climate Change Week at USC will also include a tour of USC sustainability initiatives (including the renewable energy ‘water battery’ and onsite composting facility), performances and presentations by students, a public screening of the film 2040, a research presentation and a gala screening of student films.

Another key event is a discussion panel of three USC experts showcasing how environmental microbiology, technology and organisational sustainability can offer climate change solutions.

The discussion panel will be held on Monday 14 October from 12 noon to 2pm at USC Lecture Theatre 4, and will be presented by Dr Ipek Kurtboke, Dennis Desmond and Dennis Frost.

An informal ‘Lounge Bar’ public lecture will be held on Tuesday 15 October from 6pm to 7.30pm at Buderim Tavern by Professor Patrick Nunn, who will share stories of climate change from Australia and the Pacific, and Associate Professor Claudia Baldwin, who will talk about planning for the challenges of urban heat stress for seniors.

USC experts available to comment during Global Climate Change Week (Oct 12 to 18) include:

Dr Noni Keys, Lecturer in Communication.

07 5456 5949 or nkeys@usc.edu.au

Relevant research areas include: Communication and sustainability. Individual empowerment.

Dr Marcus Bussey, educator and futurist.

07 5459 4889 or mbussey@usc.edu.au

Expertise includes: Futures studies including educational futures, youth futures, sustainable futures, business futures, world history.

Dr Ali Black, education researcher.

07 5456 5156 or ablack1@usc.edu.au

Relevant research areas: Social cohesion, wellbeing, community connectedness and capacity building.

Dr Graham Ashford, environmental and resource economist.

07 5430 1141 or gashford@usc.edu.au

Relevant research areas include: International climate change mitigation policy; climate change adaptation economic analysis; climate modelling; impact and vulnerability analysis.

Dr Adrian McCallum, geotechnical engineer.

07 5459 4576 or amccallu@usc.edu.au

Relevant research area: Climate change adaptation. Works extensively in snow regions.

Dr Helen Fairweather, Environmental engineering lecturer.

07 5456 5564, 0401 839 506 or hfairwea@usc.edu.au

Relevant research areas: Climate change mitigation and adaptation in the coastal zone, adaptation of climate change factors to understand impacts, renewable energy solutions.

Dr Kate English, Leader, The Climate Reality Project

07 5456 5964 or kenglish@usc.edu.au

Climate change and sustainability lecturer.

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