Griffith helps in Pacific climate change battle

Griffith University climate change expert Brendan Mackey will speak at the World Science Festival Brisbane.

Griffith University experts in climate change and information managementare helping Pacific island countries and territories to discover and managethe information they need to plan for climate change.

While a number of projects are under way in the region to mitigate the effects of rising sea levels, finding the information to decide which of them will deliver the best value and ensure that they can stand up to future climates has just become easier thanks to the Pacific iCLIM project.

The project, which is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Government Partnerships for Development program, is being implemented by Griffith University in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The Pacific iCLIM project is working in a number of areas to increase the availability of climate change information to Pacific decision makers.

The project involves upskilling local agencies in information-management practices and creating web-based systems to share and find climate change resources across the region.

The launch of the upgraded Pacific Climate Change Portal in Apia, Samoa, on June 17, 2016, will be an important step forward for climate change planning in the region.

The portal already contains more than 1000 data sets and documents relevant to climate change in the Pacific and this number will grow as more material is added and shared throughout the region.

“Climate change is a regional problem,” said Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, Director of Climate Change at SPREP.

“By working together Pacific island countries and territories will be better able to respond to climate change.

“This upgraded portal puts climate change information at people’s fingertips, which will support better decision making.”

Small island developing states throughout the Pacific are already feeling the brunt of climate change, even though the region only produces 0.03% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Adaptation projects, such as moving or upgrading critical infrastructure and developing more resilient crops, are essential to enabling Pacific island countries and territories to reach their development goals while coping with a rapidly changing climate.

“At a global level, Australia is a leader in data management, so utilizing this knowledge to help address critical issues such as climate change has been welcomed throughout the Pacific region,” said Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of Griffith Climate Change Response Program at Griffith University.

“An important part of this project has been tailoring our knowledge and expertise to develop solutions that suit the needs of Pacific Island countries and territories.

“Working closely with the SPREP and governments in Vanuatu, Tonga and Fiji has been really important to ensure that the Pacific Climate Change Portal can support adaptation and resilience planning at both the national and regional level.”