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City of Melbourne’s response to climate change

The City of Melbourne has taken many actions to adapt and mitigate climate change and has been recognised for its leadership in responding to both.

The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2009, the first of its kind in Australia, mapped out our approach for adapting to a changing climate. It undertook an in-depth risk assessment and highlighted key priority areas for action. The Adaptation Action Plan 2010 then outlined more detailed actions we would take to respond to climate change risk assessment. Since then, over 100 actions have been completed and we have clearly demonstrated how a council can adapt to a changing climate.

The City of Melbourne’s Zero Net Emissions by 2020 Strategy was first developed in 2002. It outlined our commitment to mitigate our municipality’s contribution to climate change. In 2014, it was updated to refresh our focus and restate our commitment, and now we will do the same for the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2009.

This background paper seeks to provide an overview of our progress since the strategy was released in 2009, as well as to guide your feedback in order to refresh our Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2009. It includes:

  • An overview of climate change projections for Melbourne and what this might mean for our city
  • The progress that the City of Melbourne has made in adaptation
  • Examples of progress that others have made since 2009

The projections

While we have already experienced some change, more change is projected to occur and at a faster rate. There is, however, uncertainty about how significant the changes will be, when they might occur, and the direction they will take (for example, for rainfall we might see more or less). Therefore we have to be adept at managing these uncertainties and build in flexibility.

Understanding what climate change might mean for our city

Over the past 20 years, Melbourne has experienced many climate events that have affected things that the community values. These events provide us an indication of what might be in-store for us in the future.

Each of these events has affected different components of our city and our community. Under climate change, it is likely that more of these events will occur with greater intensity or at a greater frequency, or both.

We've already made adaptation progress

The focus of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2009 was to understand our risks and vulnerabilities as a city, and to identify actions to address these in the key areas of heat and the increasing intensity of rainfall events as these two risks were considered to be more immediate risks. This emphasis has shaped much of the work we have done since our strategy release in 2009.

View our achievements in the slideshow below.

More information about these achievements, and what our neighbours have achieved, is available in the discussion paper below.