2018 public policy climate highlights

ANU Climate Change researchers are increasingly involved with a range of Commonwealth Departments and the ACT Government. Members' roles include helping inform government policy by providing up to date research on climate change. Involvement with industry, state governments, NGOs and other groups such as Landcare has also increased.

Departmental briefings

Our members have conducted briefings on climate change for the following organisations:

  • Department of Environment and Energy
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Ambassador for the Environment
  • Department of Agriculture and Water
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • Department of Defence
  • Office of National Assessments (ONA)
  • Murray Darling Basin Authority
  • ACT Government

Parliamentary briefings

The CCI has conducted the following parliamentary briefings on climate change:

  • 6 Federal parliamentary briefing sessions
  • 1 State parliamentary briefing
  • Briefing of Ministers of France and Papua New Guinea

Diplomatic engagement

The CCI has conducted several briefings at Australian embassies overseas.

Other briefings

The CCI has also briefed a range of industry bodies, NGOs and industry including:

  • Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)
  • Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC)
  • DA
  • Farmers for Climate Action
  • Landcare
  • ANZ Executive team in NZ and Auckland’s business leaders.

ANU contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

6 leadership roles with IPCC
Numerous ANU expert reviewers for IPCC
14+ briefings, roundtables and lectures on IPCC 1.5°C report
ANU expert commentary reached more than 2.3 million people

Six leadership roles within Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

In 2018, the IPCC appointed three ANU climate experts as lead authors for the Sixth Assessment Report, which will be published in 2022: 

  • Professor Frank Jotzo from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy is the lead author for Chapter 13 on National and sub-national policies and institutions in the Working Group 3 Assessment of mitigation.
  • Professor Xuemei Bai from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society is the lead author for Chapter 8 on Urban systems and other settlements in the Working Group 3 Assessment of mitigation.
  • Dr Kathryn Bowen from the ANU Research School of Population Health is the lead author for Chapter 7 on Health, wellbeing and the changing structure of communities in the Working Group 2 Assessment of impacts and adaptation.

These three authors join three existing ANU contributors to the IPCC:

A seventh lead author, Dr Joelle Gergis, will be joining ANU in March 2019.

Professor Howden plays a strong role across many different parts of the IPCC. As well as contributing significantly to the leadership development of the Special Report for 1.5oC, he has helped steer the Special Report for Climate Change and Land and the Working Group 2 and 3 Assessment Reports. He has also been invited to be a Review Editor for Chapter 4 (Strengthening and implementing the global response) and the Technical Summary for the Special Report on 1.5oC.

He is on the Scientific Steering Committee for the Special Report on Climate Change and Land and was on the Scientific Steering Committee for the IPCC Expert Meeting on Regional Climate Assessment. He has had a major input into re-framing the approach to risk in the IPCC.

He also participated in and spoke at the IPCC Outreach event in Suva, Fiji and has continued to take a lead role in linking Pacific nations into the IPCC process.

Professor Howden was the Australian Government Representative at the IPCC’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations. He has also been working with DoEE on their evaluation processes for IPCC AR6 author nominations and a range of IPCC-related topics and issues to keep them and DFAT appropriately informed of IPCC activity including via briefing of the Ambassador of the Environment.

He is the IPCC/UNFCC Focal Point for ANU ensuring that ANU staff and students can take part in major events such as the UNFCCC Conference of Parties, liaising with the UNFCCC and with the RINGO constituency and manage the IPCC travel funds account in ANU.

Launch of IPCC 1.5°C Special Report on Global Warming

The CCI, notably Professor Mark Howden, have been instrumental in communicating the findings and implications of the report:

  • Media coverage by ANU commentators reached an audience of over 2.3 million people
  • Six lectures on report’s findings attended by approx 1450 people
  • Three targeted ministerial / parliamentary briefings
  • Roundtable discussion attended by 30 policymakers and researchers
  • Targeted presentations to several government agencies
The CCI’s public lecture on “IPCC special report on Global Warming of 1.5C: Deciphering the implications for emission-reduction and climate adaptation” played to a booked out crowd.

What people said:

I thought the presentation of the session was excellent. The introduction gave us a clear sense of how the report was compiled, reviewed and produced, and I thought Mark Howden's presentation was quite remarkable for the clarity, concision and balance with which it gave us the essence of an enormous volume of information - all the more remarkable given the time pressure under which it was produced. I very much wish this presentation could have been broadcast on the ABC and/or other public media.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Council of Parties (COP24)

Delegates attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Council of Parties (COP24)

This year COP24 took place in Katowice, Poland between 2-14 December. Three CCI members attended the conference:

  • Dr Ian Fry, Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU is the Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment for the Government of Tuvalu
  • Melanie Pill, PhD student in the Fenner School
  • Aaron Tang, PhD student in the Fenner School

National and international Advisory Roles

Professor Mark Howden, CCI Director, has provided high-level input to the following advisory panels and forums:

  • International Science Advisory Committee of FACCE-JPI
  • EU-Australia Senior Leadership Forum, Brussels, November 2018
  • Reviewing the NZ Agricultural GHG Research Program.
  • National Climate Science Advisory Committee
  • Lancet Obesity Commissioner covering climate, GHG and food security
  • Chair, Scientific Committee of INRA's IWIM Meta-programme development
  • EU Climate KIC Science Advisory Committee for Agriculture
  • APEC Climate Centre Science Advisory Committee
  • International Science Advisory Committee of the Chilean Centre for Climate Science and Resilience
  • Editorial Board of the journal Climate Risk Management
  • Science Committees for the 2019 Transformation Conference
  • the International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security
  • French AAFCC program
  • French INRA IWIM Metaprogramme (Chair of Review)
  • International Adaptation Metrics and Techniques Taskforce
  • Farmers for Climate Action

He has evaluated projects for several major international funding agencies including Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Irish Research Council and Swiss National Science Foundation.

Professor Frank Jotzo (centre) and Professor Mark Howden (right) at the EU Leaders Forum in Brussels 2018
Professor Frank Jotzo (centre) and Professor Mark Howden (right), both CCI members, were amongst ANU staff who were invited to the EU Leaders Forum in Brussels

Roundtable discussion with policy-makers

The CCI has hosted three roundtable discussions in 2018, attended by 74 policy makers, researchers, NGOs and industry representatives. These included:

  • Drawdown: Australia’s top solutions for reversing global warming’ with Paul Hawken. Attended by 29 people, 21 February
  • Roundtable discussion on ACT Government Climate Strategy – Attended by 15 people, 22 March.
  • IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C: Deciphering the implications for emission-reduction and climate adaptation – Attended by 30 people, 6 November

Engagement with ACT Government

Honorary Professor Penny Sackett, Professor Frank Jotzo and Emeritus Professor Will Steffen are members of the ACT Climate Change Council.

The CCI (together with the ECI) hosted a roundtable for ANU researchers to discuss the ACT Govt Climate Strategy for Net Zero Emissions and made a formal submission

The CCI also hosted a student Climate Café focussed on the ACT’s climate strategy, aimed at engaging students and helping inform development of the strategy.

Policy Engagement by research theme

Climate Change Institute (CCI) members are engaged with policymakers on climate at an international, national and state / territory level on an ongoing basis.  Here are a few examples (far from comprehensive):

Climate Change and health

Kathryn Bowen participated in the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) GEO-6 in Singapore and is a Lead Author in their report Healthy Planet Healthy People. She is also advising the Thai Ministry of Health on mainstreaming climate change into their health policies and programs (funded by GIZ - German Development Cooperation). She has been working with the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support the project development to secure GEF funding for four Pacific island countries to work on health and climate change.

Climate Economics and Policy

Professor Warwick McKibben and his team are working closely with the Australian Treasury who use the G-Cubed model inhouse for policy and scenario analysis.  

Climate and the Built Environment

Professor Barbara Norman chaired the New Zealand National Science Challenge midway review - Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities. She also led a UN Habitat project developing a climate law toolkit with developing nations in September in Nairobi.   

Climate and Security

Professor John Blaxland has given a talk on “A Geostrategic SWOT analysis for Australia” which addresses climate change amongst a range of other factors to several closed sessions with policy officers from DFAT, Home Affairs and Defence.  He has also presented it to short courses at the ANU National Security College and to private audiences with senior government officials including departmental heads of Defence and Home Affairs.

Climate and international negotiations

Melanie Pill, a PHD student at the Fenner School, attended the 8th Executive Committee meeting of Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) of Loss and Damage representing ANU as part of the Research and Independent non-governmental organisation (RINGO) constituency as an observer. She subsequently remotely attended the 19th Standing Committee on Finance meeting for the same constituency, trialling new avenues for stakeholder participation within the UNFCCC through virtual means.