Climate change adaptation in Australian mining communities: comparing mining company and local government views and activities

Abstract

Effective climate change adaptation in mining communities is reliant on action by both local authorities and mining operations. This article reports the findings of two surveys conducted in late 2010, with Australian mining companies and local government authorities respectively, investigating their perceptions and activities related to climate change adaptation. The research identified the main types of weather and climate-related impacts experienced in the past and expected under future climate conditions for the two groups. There were significantly differing levels of concern about weather and climate-related impacts between the two types of organisations. Mining company respondents reported lower levels of severity of impact from both past and (expected) future weather events, as well as lower levels of belief in climate change and of adaptation activities to prepare for it. Interestingly, mining companies generally reported less concern about future impacts than those experienced in the past, suggesting discounting of risks due to climate change scepticism. The article reports on a range of factors relevant to adaptation in mining communities, including perceived barriers, collaboration and further information needs. The research findings are discussed in the context of other recent research on climate change adaptation by Australian organisations and studies of mining industry adaptation in other countries.

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Acknowledgments

This project was funded by the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship in association with the CSIRO Minerals Down Under Flagship. In particular, we acknowledge the efforts of Mark Howden, Theme Leader, Primary Industries, Enterprises and Communities Theme, for initiating and supporting this area of work in mining sector adaptation to climate change. The authors would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Sharon Dane in assisting with the statistical analysis of the data.

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Correspondence to Barton Loechel.

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Loechel, B., Hodgkinson, J. & Moffat, K. Climate change adaptation in Australian mining communities: comparing mining company and local government views and activities. Climatic Change 119, 465–477 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0721-8

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Keywords

  • Local Government
  • Future Climate Change
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Mining Company
  • Adaptation Planning