Climate change is already affecting communities around the world, including ours. In Canberra, climate change means longer, hotter summers and more heatwaves, increased risk of bushfires and more variable rainfall.
Despite efforts to reduce emissions, we will need to adapt to these changes and build our resilience to climate change impacts.
The ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025 brings together emission reduction, resilience and adaptation measures as part of a holistic response to climate change and, together with Canberra's Living Infrastructure Plan: Cooling the City, replaces the previous ACT Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2016). Previous Adaptation Strategy actions that have not been completed and those that require ongoing effort are included in this strategy, along with new adaptation actions.
Key adaptation actions in the Strategy
- Develop a new residential energy assessment tool that adequately assesses the year-round thermal performance of buildings in the Canberra climate.
- Review planning regulations and identify opportunities to require sustainable, climate-wise built environment including through developing a Climate-wise Code.
- Implement Canberra's Living Infrastructure Plan: Cooling the City to achieve 30% urban canopy cover and 30% surface permeability, account for the value of living infrastructure and assess local needs for managing heat.
- Reflect climate change projections and risk vulnerabilities in disaster and emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, particularly for extreme heat, bushfire and flash flooding.
- Encourage community preparedness for climate risks through targeted Emergency Services Agency outreach and the Actsmart sustainability programs.
- Identify opportunities to increase resilience of terrestrial and aquatic habitats at risk from climate change and implement land management changes and relevant on-ground works with delivery partners.
- Ensure Action Plans for threatened species and communities consider the impact of climate change.
- Encourage sustainable farming practices which are fit for the current and future climate and enhance soil and water quality, and work with farmers to identify opportunities for net zero emissions farming and innovation to increase resilience.
- Design, and commit to a timeframe for implementing, higher minimum energy performance and climate resilience standards for new buildings that will deliver efficient, zero emissions buildings.