ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Climate Change

  • Issue
  • Publications
  • Community Engagement
  • Projects
  • Future Directions
  • New Research Interests

Climate Change Research and the Institute

Millenium DroughtThe 21st annual Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) met in Paris November 30 - December 11 2015. The governments of more than 190 nations gathered to discuss a global agreement on climate change aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to alleviate the threat of dangerous climate change. This important meeting set a global agenda and pathway for addressing one of the critical environmental and socio-economic issues being faced by humankind.

Researchers from many institutions, including from Charles Sturt University's Institute for Land, Water and Society, have for many years undertaken extensive research on climate change. The focus of much of that research has been on the social and ecological aspects of adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The Institute has a track record of completed research projects, publications, and community engagement activities related to climate change.

Publications include:

Allan, Xia, Pahl-Wostl(2013) Climate change and water security: challenges for adaptive water management. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5, 625-632

Lukasiewicz, Pittock, Finlayson (2015) Institutional challenges of adopting ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. Regional Environmental Change, In Press

Pittock, Finlayson (2013) Climate change adaptation in the Murray-Darling Basin: Reducing resilience of wetlands with engineering. Australian Journal of Water Resources, 17, 161 -168

Pittock, Finlayson, Howitt (2013) Beguiling and risky: 'environmental works and measures' for wetland conservation under a changing climate. Hydrobiologia, 708, 111-131

Finlayson, Davis, Gell, Kingsford, Parton (2013) The status of wetlands and the predicted effects of global climate change: the situation in Australia. Aquatic Sciences 75, 73–93

Junk, An, Finlayson, Gopal, Kvet, Mitchell, Mitch, Robarts (2013) Current state of knowledge regarding the world's wetlands and their future under global climate change: a synthesis, Aquatic Sciences ,75, 151-167

Gentle, Thwaites, Race, Alexander (2014) Differential impacts of climate change on communities in the middle hills region of Nepal, Natural Hazards, 74, 815-836.

Islam, Manock, Sappey, Hicks, Ingham (2012) Flooding in Bangladesh and Australia: applying an interdisciplinary model. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 6, 81-92.

Higgins, Dibden, Cocklin (2015) Private agri-food governance and greenhouse gas abatement: Constructing a carbon economy, Geoforum 66, 75-84

Lei, Finlayson, Thwaites, Shi (2013) Migration drivers in mountain regions in the context of climate change: A case study in Shangnan County of China. Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment, 11, 200-209

Foran (2011) Low carbon options for Australia. Ecological Modelling, 223, 72-80

Millar, Boon, King (2015) Do wildfire experiences influence views on climate change? International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 7, 124-139

King, Bird, Haynes, Boon, Cottrell, Millar, Okada, Box, Keogh, Thomas (2014) Voluntary relocation as an adaptation strategy to extreme weather events. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 8, 83-90

Morrison, M., Duncan, R., & Parton, K. (2015) Religion Does Matter for Climate Change Attitudes and Behavior, Plos One,  10(8): e0134868. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134868

Crean, Parton, Mullen (2013) Representing climatic uncertainty in agricultural models – an application of state-contingent theory, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 57, 359-378

Sherley, Morrison, Duncan, Parton (2014), Using segmentation and prototyping in engaging politically-salient climate change household segments, Journal of Non-Profit and Public Sector Management 26, 258-280.

Schoeman, Allan, & Finlayson (2014) A new paradigm for water? A comparative review of integrated, adaptive and ecosystem-based water management in the Anthropocene. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 30,337-390

Williams, Nitschke, Weinstein, Pisaniello, Parton, Bi (2012) The impact of summer temperatures and heatwaves on mortality and morbidity in Perth, Australia 1994-2008. Environment International, 40, 33-38

Watts, Richter, Oppermann, Bowmer (2011) Dam re-operation in an era of climate change. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62, 321-327

Culas, Mustapha (2015) Climate Change and Bio-Fuel Production: Implications for Agricultural Land Use and Food Security in African Countries - Chapter 8, In: Harvie (ed.) Food Security: Challenges, Role of Biotechnologies and Implications for Developing Countries, Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, NY, USA. pp. 143-160.

Foran (2014) Chapter 11: Energy Generation, Planning and Management in Byrne, Sipe, & Dodson (Eds.) Australian Environmental Planning: Challenges and Future Prospects, Routledge, London

Lawrence, Richards, Gray, Hansar, (2012) Climate Change and the Resilience of Commodity Food Production in Australia, pp. 131-146 in Rosin, Stock, & Campbell (eds) Food System Failure: The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture, Earthscan, New York

Community Engagement

The Institute has undertaken community engagement activities centred on climate change related topics. They include:

Current projects:

Institute members are continuing to work on climate change projects. They include:

  • Can advances in mid-term forecasts reduce emissions from nitrogen fertiliser?
  • Communicating the economic impacts of climate change
  • Understanding drought in the Lachlan region
  • Can landscape structure enhance the resilience of biodiversity to climatic extremes?
  • Building capacity to respond to climate change at a local level
  • Adoption of energy efficiency options for production by not-for-profits and co operatives in regional Australia
  • Aboriginal clean energy and social enterprise research
  • Sustainable approaches to fire and emergencies in the Blue Mountains
  • Plant phenological responses to climate change
  • Water, carbon and economics: resolving complex linkages in river health
  • Economics of climate change policy
  • Strategies to promote community resilience in disaster management

Completed Projects

Research projects have included:

  • Health effects of climate change
  • Landholder adaption to climate variability
  • Drought and climate change
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies
  • Economic analysis of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Low risk climate change mitigation and adaptation in catchment management
  • Climate change adaptation in the Lower Murray
  • ·Managing multi-functional landscapes at the interface of public forests and private land
  • Landholder responses to water reform and climate change in the Namoi Valley
  • Optimal transformative change in irrigation districts affected by drought and climate change
  • Collation of environmental data for climate modelling in Alpine areas
  • Energy transition options for Australia
  • Social impacts of drought and declining water availability in the Murray Darling Basin

Future directions:

Brisbane River in FloodThe Institute, with researchers from a wide range of disciplines, is well positioned to pursue further projects, especially addressing climate change adaptation where a holistic approach that looks at the socio-economic and ecological challenges is required. As the Institute has demonstrated its ability to undertake integrated research it is well placed to develop and deliver projects that combine expertise from different disciplines.

There is also a strong interest in further climate change research from new and adjunct members who bring skills in areas such as climatology, modelling, and computer science to add to the Institute's traditional expertise in environmental science, social science and economics.

New research interests include:

'Modal shift' - developing policy towards putting more movement on the less-polluting modes of transport – looking at costs (of rail transport in particular) including external costs and associated costs which are not paid for through the market system as it presently works.

Dust stormPhenological responses to climate change - modelling the potential impact of atmospheric warming on grapevine variety suitability to current geographic indications.

Impacts of climate change on infrastructure, agriculture and cites in Asia and Australia – addressing the real concern on climate change impacts on infrastructure.

Community reactions and responses to climate change- how and why people are, or are not, responding to or acting in relation to climate change.

Climate change adaptation measures in response to the impacts of climate change on urban and peri-urban environments - investigate climate change adaptation measures that, alongside modern technological solutions, consider the collective wisdom of traditional practices.

Evolution of social-ecological systems under climate change - assess the difference between incremental adaptation driven by slow changes in climate versus crisis-driven adaption.

Localisation, climate change and sustainability - explore the relationship between localisation and sustainability and build capacity to respond to climate change at a local level.

Changing climatic conditions through the lens of the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) - community water planning, land use futures, agriculture, industry and environment, and the Basin in 50 years?

Improving the capacity of wetland managers to assess the vulnerability of wetlands to climate change and prepare response strategies – especially where anthropogenic pressures are high, and poor data quality prevents the application of good management principles and practices.

Information on the past research and communication activities can be obtained from the ILWS office: telephone +61 2 6051 9992, email,

Members and partners interested in developing new projects are encouraged to discuss this amongst themselves and with the Institute Director, Professor Max Finlayson: telephone 02 6051 9779, email