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  • From: AAP
  • June 26, 2012 4:20PM

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Queensland’s floods, Cyclone Yasi and the ongoing drought in Australia’s southwest are signs of the urgent need to adapt to climate change, a leading researcher says.

NATIONAL Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) director Jean Palutikof says mankind has a lot of work to do to ensure it copes with the turbulence of a shifting climate.

“(Climate change) is insidious and essentially non-linear, and has the capacity to deliver shocks and surprises which we are currently not well protected against,” Professor Palutikof told the Climate Adaption in Action conference in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“Decision makers in government, business and the community are faced with making choices now that will determine how successfully we manage the impacts of climate change in the future.”

A host of national and international researchers are sharing their ideas on how individuals, businesses and governments can cope with the impacts of climate change.

CSIRO chairman Simon McKeon lamented mankind’s “love affair with fossil fuel”, saying that without it, the conference likely wouldn’t have been needed in the first place.

He also said endless debate in the media over the plausibility of climate change had hampered action.

“Change is hard enough, but when science isn’t given a fair go in the media it’s doubly hard,” he said.

Preventing food shortages and managing natural disasters are among the topics being tackled by some 700 people at the three-day conference.

Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said in a brief video message that the impacts of climate change were increasingly demanding a more proactive approach to wild weather in Australia.

“Building resilience is about preventing and preparing for natural disasters, not just cleaning up afterwards,” he said.

Indigenous Wurundjeri tribe elder, Aunty Diane Kerr, offered the simplest – and perhaps most telling – advice as she offered a traditional welcome to the land: “If you do care for the country, the country will care for you”.

The conference, jointly hosted by the CSIRO and NCCARF, continues until Thursday.

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/climate-change-taking-hold-summit-hears/story-e6frfku9-1226409286393

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