Australian Government Climate Risk Assessment

Envisaging the first, second and third order impacts of climate change requires a lot of thought. The Australian Government’s new climate risk assessment is a great starting point.

This week the Australian Commonwealth Government released its Climate Risk Assessment.

It considers what might the future look like for Australia if (when) we pass 1.5 degrees.

The macro view – whole of country, whole of government, whole of economy

The first part of the report will be uncomfortably familiar to anyone who’s worked across government, climate, risk or agriculture in leadership or governance roles over the last decade or two.

We’ve all been working through many of these risks.

The report provides a joined up view across all portfolios.

For those who don’t already have a multi-sector view of things, it is quite a bit to take in.

The headline though: structurally, big changes are coming and required.

And to most informed readers: current thinking and models won’t get us where we want to go.

Practional and actionable impacts

Part 2 is the gem in this report. It is a really useful resource for short and medium term planning, or just to get started.

Many people struggle to make the linkages between the macro drivers and what they practically might mean for them.

The tables in part 2 have a decent go at this. They’re useful and a practical easy read.

It’s not an exahustive list but a comprehensive platform to consider first, second and third order impacts.

I’d encourage anyone in a risk or strategy role to go through these and use them as a platform for bigger thinking.

Thinking big, thinking big enough?

Conservatism means different things in different fields.

In science it means only publishing what you are confident proving. Often this means understating risks.

In risk management convervatism means running with plausible worst case scenarios. This the other end of the spectrum – still anchored in science, but not by what is yet to be proven with data.

The report anchors in 1.5-2.0 degrees by 2050.

I advise my clients to run scenarios on 2 degrees by 2030 as a minimum to advance their thinking.

This is the conservative approach for risk, but more importantly helps generate the breakthrough thinking we need for transition, risk protection and imaginging the bold new future that we will inhabit.

The impacts of different timeframes.

Those in climate have been talking about “the critical decade” for a long time.

2030 is only six years away.

This is a short period for any sort of major change.

Particularly the type required to face these risks and turn them into opportunities.

Bigger transformation challenges present bigger risks and opportunities. And they require scale.

The risks and opportunities from this are enormous. I’d encourage everyone to go after both.

Expotential change always happens faster than we think, and the future arrives in different ways to how we predict.

Let’s get after it.

Feedback on the report and the risk inventory

There is a 4 week consultation process for feedback on the risk inventory and adaptation priorities. It is an opportunity to advance the thinking and closes on April 11.

If you’ve got a chance to advance the thinking based on what you’re seeing, I’d encourage you to do so.

Offical links to the Climate risk assessment are included below for easy reference.

About us

Todd Davies & Associates helps leaders to think differently, using risk as a catalyst for bigger discussions.

If you’d like to expand your current thinking can please get in touch.

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Further reading (risk)