An environmental lawyer, a wine company, a government department and a group of four South Australian cities have been honoured for their achievements in climate change adaptation.

The Climate Adaptation Champions for 2014 were announced as part of the Climate Adaptation 2014: Future Challenges annual conference held on the Gold Coast last week.

The Director of Griffith University’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Professor Jean Palutikof, said the recipients reflected not only the increasing awareness throughout Australia of the threat posed by climate change, but also an unwavering commitment to pursuing initiatives and taking real action towards adaptation.

“These awards acknowledge what can be achieved individually, collectively and across multiple fields with regard to climate change adaptation,” said Professor Palutikof.

“By working towards increasing knowledge and encouraging changes in behaviour, techniques, business practices and policies, the actions of these champions are an example to be admired and hopefully followed throughout Australia and the world.”

The Climate Adaptation Champions for 2014 are ­–

Mr Mark Baker-Jones: a Brisbane-based environmental lawyer who has been tireless in promoting the issue of climate legal risk as a critical component of adaptation planning.

In communicating with government, business, NGOs, industry and the community, Mr Baker-Jones has created a process of legal guidelines to help decision-makers identify the legal ramifications of adapting or not adapting to climate change.

The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries: Through its $6 million Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership, the department has engaged with 79 Victorian councils to drive action on climate change adaptation through partnerships, strategic resourcing, learning and knowledge sharing and mutual understanding.

Resilient South team members with their climate change ahampion trophy

The team from Resilient South

Resilient South: A partner project between the South Australian cities of Onkaparinga, Holdfast Bay, Marion and Mitcham, as well as the South Australian and Federal governments, Resilient South is developing a Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the southern Adelaide region.

The region covers 650 square kilometres and faces an increasing threat of heatwaves, bushfires and coastal inundation. Objectives include improving hazard management and minimising risks, improving emergency response capabilities and increasing understanding of climate change risk and adaptation responses.

Yalumba Wine Company: The Barossa Valley-based winemaker’s Commitment to Sustainable Winemaking Program has operated for more than two decades and provides an integrated approach to sustainability through land and product stewardship, climate change mitigation and adaptation, waste management and organisational citizenship.

The company remains firmly committed to sustainable techniques with regard to the protection of winemaking’s vital elements — air, water, soil and energy.