A major storm is approaching and your house on the beach is vulnerable. Yet five kilometres up the coast, in a different municipality, other houses are protected by purpose-built storm surge barriers. Why do councils respond differently to climate change?
Community perceptions and expectations, infrastructure constraints, and planning frameworks, are the most common reasons, according to the Sydney Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (SCCAI).
Led by Professor Tim Smith, from the University of the Sunshine Coast, the SCCAI has focused on finding a systems approach to climate change adaptation strategies in large urban areas. It was the first project to bring together councillors and staff from Sydney's 15 coastal councils.
For its work in identifying the problems and opportunities in fighting climate change at local council level, SCCAI has won the 2009 NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change.
The prize is awarded to an Australian individual, group or organisation for work that demonstrates a commitment to pursuing innovative solutions to the challenges posed by climate change.
Winners were announced on 18 August at a dinner held at the Royal Hall of Industries, Fox Studios, in Sydney. For more information visit www.eureka.australianmuseum.net.au/eureka-prize/innovative-solutions-to-climate-change2