The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ABSEC) Climate Change Task Group has launched a 10-point framework in response to the impacts of climate change. The framework has been designed to improve the resilience of urban communities against extreme weather events and predicted future climate change effects.
“The experts agree that climate change is happening and Australia, with its experience of floods, droughts, storms, and bushfires, can anticipate an increase in general temperatures and an upsurge in extreme weather events which all have an impact on our buildings and communities,” said David Parken, chair of the Climate Change Task Group and CEO of the Australian Institute of Architects.
The replacement cost of Australia’s built environment is more than $5.7 trillion, which makes the economic, social and environmental risks posed by climate change significant.
Parken said the onus was now on the Federal Government to go beyond mitigation and greenhouse gas abatement through regulation and a price on carbon.
“While industry and the community have their roles to play, it is government, the manager of Australia’s regulatory and public policy systems, that needs to show leadership,” he remarked. “This document outlines effective steps the government can take to protect Australia’s economic and environmental sustainability.”
The framework suggests a National Built Environment Adaptation Council be established to facilitate consultation between industries, government and communities, sponsor research and be a driver for change.
ASBEC president Tom Roper said a central body such as a National Built Environment Adaptation Council would help deliver adaptation strategies from which governments and individuals will benefit in the longer term.
“We will be able to minimise the adverse impacts experienced during extreme weather events including death, displacement, mental distress and disruption to economic and other services,” he said.
“Suburbs and buildings are still being designed and created based on past climatic experience when we should be thinking of how they will respond to future climatic events, so we can be resilient in 20, 30, 40 years down the track.”