Limits to Climate Change Adaptation: Case Study of the Australian Alps

Morrison, C. and Pickering, C. | Geographical Research | 2013 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


Climate change is occurring and not being mitigated, motivating adaptation but adaptation strategies can have biophysical, economic, technological, and social limits. We review publicly available documents to assess how successful current and proposed adaptation strategies may be for the Australian Alps, including likely limits and potential collaborations and conflicts among stakeholders. Conservation managers, the tourism industry, and local communities have implemented or are proposing a range of adaptation strategies in the region. Some stakeholder strategies complement each other (e.g. invasive species control, fire management), while others are potential sources of conflict (water and electricity for snowmaking, year-round tourism). Economic costs and biophysical constraints are the most important limits to these adaptation strategies. These types of limits and conflicts between different stakeholders on adaptation strategies are likely to occur in other regions and demonstrate that adaptation may only provide partial and short term solutions to the challenges of climate change.