Message from the Director 2018

A bushfire and smoke on a hill in front of two wind turbines

2018 was a year of extreme events, with drought affecting much of eastern Australia, fires raging in Queensland and California, multiple heat records broken over the course of a particularly hot Northern Hemisphere summer and continued heatwaves here in Australia​. As we witness the mounting impacts of climate change, bringing different disciplines together to develop innovative solutions has never been more important.

This year, Climate Change Institute (CCI) members from different corners of ANU have worked together on numerous projects. One major area of focus has been developing research on removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, an approach known as ‘negative emissions’. This has centred on the areas of land based technologies, the development of the concept of a negative emissions house and the public acceptance of negative emissions technologies. We’re also developing research aimed at transforming the ability of Australians and our regional partners to adapt to climate change, with particular emphasis on improving capacity for effective decision-making. We’ll be continuing to progress these directions and many more in 2019.

As part of our mission is to connect ANU climate research with government, industry and the wider community, we have run a full and diverse program of 23 public lectures, seminars and roundtables covering everything from explaining the implications of the UN climate talks to engaging students with ACT climate policy.

Media coverage of ANU climate researchers has continued to grow, reaching an audience of over 33 million people, with a highlight being commentary on the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C. In fact, six CCI members now have leadership roles with the IPCC, including my own role as a Vice-Chair, whilst numerous others work many hours as expert reviewers on various IPCC reports.

In 2019, with a Federal election scheduled, the CCI will be aiming to continue to inform policymakers and government agencies via briefings and provision of the latest research findings on climate change. We’ll be building on the success of our 2018 Climate Update events, providing an overview on the state of our climate with public events in Canberra, Adelaide and Sydney.

Professor Mark Howden
Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute

20 December 2018