The role of climate change adaptation has made inroads in all levels of society. The need to adapt to the climatic changes has been possible because of various drivers of change. Adger (2003) posits that the vulnerability of society to the impact of changing climate offers a motivation toward developing adaptive responses. Over recent years, climate changes have exemplified patterns that have an impact not only on human activity, but also on built environment and infrastructure (Pielke & Sarewitz, 2005). It is believed that more attention has been drawn to the adverse effect of climatic uncertainties and on the potential impact of adverse climate changes (Aakre, & Rubbelke, 2010; Moser, 2005). Climatic change adaptation plays a central role in promoting resilience toward climatic changes; its application is widely gaining ground. The need for adaptation to climatic has gained immense momentum in areas like the Australian Gold Coast. According to Lindeman (2011), coastal areas such as Gold Coast have continued to attract settlement and building of cities. Such expansion of settlement and increase in buildings puts built environment and infrastructure close to coastal areas where climatic changes can cause devastating effects.
The proximity of built environment and infrastructure along the Gold Coast increases the vulnerability to the adverse effects of extreme storms, rising sea levels, rising temperature, intense rainfall, frequent flooding, intense cyclones, hailstorms and changes in humidity ( Snow & Prasad, 2011). With reference to the Australian Gold Coast, this paper will provide direction on how climate change adaptation strategy can be devised, implemented and monitored with an aim of adapting built environment and infrastructure located at the Australian Gold Coast. The paper will underscore the notion that weather events change thus bringing with them changes, and the need to adapt to the unavoidable (Snow & Prasad, 2011).
1.1 Expected Physical impact
The increased settlement of South East Queen’s land has concentrated landscapes in areas such as Brisbane and Gold Coast (Davoudi, Crawford & Mehmood, 2009). With a variety of landscapes found in this region, climatic changes are likely to impact built environment and infrastructure located at the Gold Coast in a number of ways.
a) The risk of rising temperatures is likely to cause significant impact on external surfaces of built environment and infrastructure, as well. This impact is also likely to reduce the thermal performance of these structures.
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b) Intense rainfall is another risk than can cause adverse effect on built environment and infrastructure. Intense rainfall can cause intense runoffs that can compromise the structural integrity of structures. It can also increase stress on drainage infrastructure.
c) Intense cyclones as a result of climate change pose a great danger to build environment and infrastructure. This risk can lead to increased strain on fixtures on building and infrastructure, fasteners and cladding. Winds from cyclones can also increase load on buildings.
d) Flooding due to sea level rise can cause flooding of the coastal and inlands areas. The impact of such an event will lead to salt spray on, damage of buildings, contamination in built environments and in areas with infrastructures.
e) Climate changes resulting in hail storms can damage roofs, windows and guttering, which can lead to rain on penetration. This impact has the potential of damaging built environment and infrastructure located in Gold Coast.
f) Climatic changes characterized by increase of humidity can cause mold formation or condensation and decrease in thermal efficiency of building. Decrease of humidity can cause fire outbreak.
1.1 Stakeholders in climate change adaptation strategy
The climatic invariability in Australia’s Gold Coast calls for a swift climatic adaptation strategy that brings a collective response from all stakeholders. According to Adger (2003), decisions on how to adapt to climatic changes is a product of consultation between various stakeholders. In the Australian Gold Coast, there are various actors who need to be involved in the adaption process. Given the central role that adaptation policy plays in dealing with the potential impact of climatic changes, the involvement of various stakeholders is an integral part of protecting the built environment and infrastructure. To make the Gold Coast adaptation strategy a success, stakeholders from the government, business community, residential community, financial institutions, and media houses need to develop their capacity to cope with climatic changes.
The Queen’s Land State Government is a central actor in the climate change adaptation strategy for the Gold Coast. At the national level, the State Government holds a major responsibility of shaping the development of an efficient climate adaptation strategy that will reduce the impact of unforeseeable climate change in Gold Coast. In the past, the State government has played crucial role publishing acts and policies, implementing them as well as monitoring them. The State government has a role in supporting other local councils in adaption planning. Apart from the State government, other structures of the government such as local councils have a role in establishing an adaptation strategy for the Australian Gold Coast.
1.1.2 Business community
The business community of Australian Gold Coast has a role to play in the development of climate adaptation strategy. The identification of the business community of Gold Coast stems from the fact that most of the built environment and infrastructure are owned and used by the business community. Most important, the business environment in the Australian Gold Coast is likely to be affected by climatic changes resulting from risk factors identified above. Because of this the business communities have a role to play in the drafting of adaptation strategy.
1.1.3 Residential community
Lindeman (2011) confirms that the Australian Gold Coast has experienced an influx of residents who are searching for the coastal lifestyles. Just like other coastal cities in Australia, the residents of Gold Coast are vulnerable to the climatic environment because of the occupancy of built environments, as well as their dependence on various infrastructures in the region. In order to have a collective role in the establishment of the climate adaptation strategy, it will be necessary to have an input from the residential community, who will influence the success of the planning and implementation against climatic changes. The presence of residential dwellings near the coastal areas makes the residential community part of the stakeholders tasked with the drafting of the climatic changes adaptation strategy. The potential effect of climatic change such as temperature change on residents makes them stakeholders in the drafting of the climatic change adaptation policy (Dawson, 2011).
The role of financial institutions in the development of adaptation strategy cannot be overestimated. It is argued that financial institutions have a role in shaping policy planning by offering financial support (Dawson, 2011). In the Australian Gold Coast, the financial institutions should be included as part of the stakeholders in the establishment of adaptation strategy that will improve the coping mechanism of the built environment and infrastructure in the Australian Gold Coast.
1.1.4 Media houses
Media houses should be part of the stakeholders responsible for the establishment of climatic change adaptation strategy in the Australian Gold Coast. Media houses can play a central role in reporting progress made in the establishment and implementation of the climate adaptation strategy. The media is part of the actors who can influence decision making in climate change adaptation strategies (Shipps, 2011).
1.1.5 Professionals in the building industry
Dawson (2011) believes that professional in the various industries play a critical role in the development of retrofits and new designs of buildings and infrastructure that can withstand climate changes. For this reason, professionals like engineers have a central role to play as stakeholders.
2.1 Consultation process
The process of policy making cannot be complete without consultation between all stakeholders involved. Althaus, Bridgman and Davis (2008), confirm that consultation provides stakeholders with access to information and an opportunity to build consensus on pertinent issues. In developing a climate adaptation strategy in the Australian Gold Coast, organizing for comprehensive consultation process will enhance the success of adapting to adverse climatic outcomes in the future. In Australia, there are several structures that have been created to assist institutions in carrying out consultation meetings in various levels of the society. These structures can provide a basis for the consultation process between the stakeholders interested in establishing the climate change adaptation strategy.
To conduct a possible consultation process, there is a need to develop a document that outlines the scope of the consultation process. This document will shape the consultation process given that it will influence the outcome of the process. With the aim of the strategy being the development of a climate change adaptation strategy to adapt built environment and infrastructure, it is essential that all submission aligns with this goal. In addition, the consultation period should be defined in order to allow the consultation exercise to run for some estimated period of time that will allow all stakeholders to bring in their submission. For the climate change adaptation strategy, a period of 12 months can be provided for all stakeholders to come up with appropriate submissions.
The consultation process should be made accessible to all stakeholders who are involved in establishing the adaptation strategies. The consultation exercise should be accessible to all stakeholders in order to promote active participation and cater for the needs of all groups that will be involved. The use of public forums and technologies such as e-consultation can help speed the process of receiving a submission from all the stakeholders in Gold Coast. The used of the media and public forums can play a critical role in creating ownership among the stakeholders, as well as increasing the participation of stakeholders (Althaus, Bridgman and Davis, 2008). In addition, the consultation process should ensure that all stakeholders play a role in shaping the climate change adaptation policy. Because of these, all consultation meetings should not only be open to stakeholders, but also focused in targeting the appropriate stakeholders.
During the consultation process, there is need of ensuring that the consultation process is responsive to the need of each stakeholder. It is confirmed that consultation process require consensus between stakeholders (Althaus, Bridgman and Davis, 2008). This underscores the need of feedback where each stakeholder can voice their responses in the light to the adaptation strategy. As the consultation process proceeds, structures such as the Productivity Commission can be used to provide evaluation of the regulation involved in the climate change adaptation strategy. This will help in providing insight on how the process can be improved. It can also help in analyzing the responses provided by the different stakeholders.
3.1 Allocation of priority adaptation process
The risks of climate change at the Australian Gold Coast call for specific adaptive actions to be taken. The climate change adaptation strategy will provide an iterative process that will involve all stakeholders in carrying out critical adaptation priorities at the Gold Coast. These priorities will be designed to allow all the stakeholders to be aware of potential effects of climate change as well as take necessary action to mitigate the risks that can result from unforeseen climate change.
The State government should be responsible in directing building and infrastructure firms and regulators to furnish reports that reveal their plans on how to combat possible climatic change. This government should play this role in order to create an environment where all the other stakeholders are informed of the progress made towards combating the possible effect of climate change on built environment and infrastructure. With proper execution of this role, the government will be in a position to access all reports that are central in the development of the climate change strategy at the national level and most important at the local level. These reports will keep all stakeholders informed of critical progress made in the development and regulation of built environment and infrastructure. These reports will also assist the government in promoting the adoption of concrete measure that will improve adaption to climate change.
In the event of climate changes, clearly built environment and infrastructure will be affected by the adverse climatic outcomes. Because of this reason, professionals in the building industry must devise ways of renovating and designing new buildings that will cope with climatic changes in order to reduce the impact on them. Professionals in the build industries have a role of developing designs that can be used to protect houses that are already built from the impact of climate change such as temperature change or flooding. As priority, professional such as civil engineers and architect should be tasked with establish a sound plan on how to protect built environment and infrastructure located at the Gold Coast. Professionals in the building industry should also carry out meaningful research on the best way of developing structures and infrastructures that will withstand any change in climate. Such research will form a basis for the improvement of existing building solutions (Dawson, 2011).
Residential and business communities have a critical role of evaluating their preparedness in an event of adverse climate change. With residential and businesses communities dwelling near the coast, it is important that these stakeholders evaluate their preparedness with an aim of adapting to climate change. Evaluation of building environment and infrastructure should provide answers on what and what to adapt. In executing this action, section built environment and infrastructure should be earmarked for adaptations should they be found vulnerable to climate changes.
The media houses have an important action that must be carried to ensure the success of the climate adaptation strategy. The media have a fundamental role of reporting of various built environment and infrastructure that require adaptation in order to limit them from damage in the event of adverse climate change. The media house should provide scrutiny and transparency of the adaptation process in order to ensure that all stakeholders play their role in the best way.
The financial institutions must also develop a means of providing funding to other stakeholders interested in adapting their built environments and infrastructure. The financial support can be in form of loans provided to owners of structures that need adaptations.
4.1 Deployment of policy instruments
Policy instruments are vital tools that can direct policy-making process (Althaus, Bridgman & Davis, 2008). To arrive at collective strategy aimed at adapting built an infrastructure in the Australian Gold Coast, there is a need to pool all policy instruments to ensure that all adaptive actions are achieved.
Advocacy is an essential instrument that will play a crucial role in shaping the preparedness of all stakeholders in the Australian Gold Coast. The process of advocacy can be achieved through public education programs that will highlight the need of adaptation strategy. Small and Nicholls (2003) found out that education programs can help in creating awareness to critical issues affecting coastal regions. With the use of an education program, all stakeholders of built environment and infrastructure are likely to realize the need of taking adaptive measures, as well as owning the climate-change adaptation strategy. The media can serve as a primary actor in providing program that informs and educates all stakeholders on the issue climate change and the need to adapt. The media can be an effective way of reaching to a wide population of people.
Government networks can also be used to build support for the strategic actions. To be precise, government officials who work with various organizations concerned with infrastructure and built environment should use their network to promote change. This can occur at networks that involve media houses and even private sectors operating in the Gold Coast.
Government actions are also necessary in improving policy planning at Gold Coast. The government can mobilize various structures in order to develop organization objectives that improve on various plans that aim at promoting adaptation to climate changes. Most important, these plans should use existing plans in order to reduce the time required developing plans. The use of this plans should also take into account their effective and coverage.
Policy instruments related to funds have the potential of improving the work of stakeholders and the efficiency of their actions. This is possible because funds through subsidies or grant can help reduce the cost incurred in the adaptation process. For instance, reducing the cost of material can improve the climatic adaptation strategy in a variety of ways.
The use of laws will also shape the adaptation strategy of the Gold Coast built because it is likely to influence stakeholders into taking appropriate actions. With the main strategy being the adaptation of built environment and infrastructure, the government laws aimed at enhancing optimal infrastructural development can place a limit on the type of building and infrastructures that are developed in addition. Laws can enforce distribution of built environment and infrastructure along the Gold Coast.
5.1 Mechanism for coordination, implementation, evaluation and management
The built environment and infrastructure in the Australian Gold Coast can be adapted to climatic change if proper coordination, implementation and management of the adaptive strategy take place. To achieve these roles, it is believed that various structures such as subcommittees must be used (Althaus, Bridgman & Davis, 2008). Coordination of the entire strategy can be achieved by various structures that will oversee how various stakeholders work. Policy development is critical to the success of this strategy. The DCC can provide the leadership necessary in the preparation that will allow climate change adaptation policies to be developed at all levels (Smit et al., 2000). The DCC can work with the Department of Climate Change to oversee that stakeholders have a policy that guides their actions with regard to climate change adaptation. The use of the OCLEI Oceania is also believed to have good impact on the coordination outcomes in terms of aligning climatic change objective in Australia (Keskitalo, 2010). The adaptation toolkit provided by the OCLEI Oceania will provide a basis for coordination.
The implementation of the climate change strategy can be achieved through the use of coercive and non-coercive approaches that will involve several bodies. The commonwealth government can provide legislative options that can be used to implement the strategy. This is because the government has the power to provide legislative issues in a number of issues (Streck, 2008). Gold Coast City Council can also provide guidelines on how built environments and infrastructure should be developed. The Gold Coast City Council will provide both the guidelines as well as reports of assessment carried on the built environment and infrastructure in order to facilitate the implementation process (Smallt, C. & Nichollst, 2003).
Even with successful implementation of the strategy, evaluation of the climate change strategy must be performed to ensure that feedback is provided to help keep the strategy on track. The stakeholders should assess well how goals of the strategy have been met ( Adger et al., 2005). This can be done by looking at the milestones attained compared to predefined goals. This process will be successful if climate change adaptation strategy indicators are available. Data from the evaluation procedure can be used to offer corrective measures aimed at improving the delivery process. During the evaluation process, the effective and appropriateness of actions need to be determined for the entire strategy to work well (Tomplins et al., 2008; Sano et al., 2011 ).
Adaptation of the built environment and infrastructure is only possible if the climate change process is well managed. Althaus, Bridgman and Davis (2008) call for the use of proper management practice in all policy plans. In this light, management of climatic change adaptation requires that transparency and accountability to prevail in all levels of the strategy.
The vulnerability of the Gold Coast’s built environment and infrastructure calls for climate change adaptation strategy. This strategy will reduce the impact of adverse climatic changes such as variation in temperature, humidity, tropical cyclones, and rise in sea levels among other effects. With the identification of stakeholders at various government levels, and within the Gold Coast community, the value of establishing priority actions cannot be underestimated. Different stakeholders identified have various roles to perform in order to adapt the build environment and infrastructure. Most important, various policy instruments such as advocacy, networks and laws are essential in supporting priority actions. To realize the benefit of the strategy, various bodies and structures such as Gold Coast City Council and the Commonwealth have a role in the coordination, implementation, evaluation and management of the strategy.
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