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How state government can adapt

Key points

  • NSW state government agencies will be affected by climate change in different ways, with impacts to people and culture, natural and built environments, industries and the economy, policy and planning, as well as overall agency objectives.
  • The NSW Government plays an important role in ensuring climate change risks are understood, integrated into decision-making, and acted upon.
  • The NSW Government has developed a range of resources, tools and information to help state government agencies address the economic and social impacts of climate risks. These tools are aligned with other relevant NSW Government policies and toolkits. 
  • The Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide is the key source of information for state government agencies to approach climate risk assessment and management. The guide provides a 4-step iterative process to help state government agencies adapt to climate change impacts. Training is available to help state governments apply the guide to conduct climate change risk assessments and management practices.

Why state government agencies need to adapt

NSW state government agencies need to adapt to the impact of climate change to support NSW’s people, environments and economy.

State government agencies are required to consider climate risks in their planning, operations and management of assets. These requirements are set out in NSW Government policies, including:

State government agencies play a vital role in planning and managing a range of critical infrastructure and essential services for the people of NSW. Because of this, state government agencies need to understand, plan for and build resilience to the impacts that climate change will have on public infrastructure and services.

Every NSW state government agency faces different risks and opportunities from the impacts of climate change. For example:

  • state government services such as electricity and public transport may be disrupted by power outages during extreme heatwave events
  • existing urban and environmental planning processes and principles may need to be changed to accommodate climate risks such as increased heatwaves
  • new policies and procedures may need to be developed to prepare for and respond to the increased risk of extreme weather events, such as evacuation procedures and policies.

The NSW Government has developed the Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide to help state government agencies and staff manage risks and opportunities associated with climate change. The guide builds on national and international best-practice climate change risk assessment and adaptation processes.

    How state governments can adapt

    NSW state government agencies can follow the Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide and resources for guidance on how to effectively understand, plan and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The guide provides guidance, practical tools, case studies and a simplified process to help state government agencies to identify and manage climate risks to their public assets, services and objectives. It helps agencies to:

    • protect their core functions, by understanding how physical climate risks may affect their core objectives and operations
    • prioritise responses to climate change risk, by highlighting areas that warrant further investigation or investment
    • enhance services, by increasing their understanding and capacity to respond to climate-related opportunities
    • improve integration and enterprise-level oversight of climate change risks, by embedding climate risk management in existing frameworks and procedures
    • adapt and build climate resilience, by informing decisions about risk treatments and controls to be implemented over time.

    The Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide outlines an iterative 4-step process for state government agencies to follow to become climate risk ready:

    1. Establish the context.
    2. Identify, analyse and evaluate the risks.
    3. Treat the risks.
    4. Monitor and review.

    The guide demonstrates how to practically conduct these cyclical steps over time.

    Practical tools, including templates, instructions and resources to undertake these steps, are provided in the Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide.

    Outline of the Climate Risk Ready NSW process

    1. Establish the context

    The first step for state government agencies is to establish an authorising environment and resources for climate change risk assessment and management. This includes:

    • understanding your organisation’s climate risk management maturity
    • establishing the reason for a climate change risk assessment and secure approvals
    • identifying stakeholders and establishing an assessment team
    • determining the scope of the climate risk assessment.

    2. Identify, analyse and evaluate the risks

    The second step is to establish a plausible climate future and document priority climate change risks, by:

    • understanding past and recent climate hazards and trends
    • consulting relevant climate projections
    • identifying risks and opportunities
    • analysing and evaluating risks.

    3. Treat the risks

    The third step is to develop an adaptation plan to treat priority climate change risks and increase climate risk maturity. This includes:

    • identifying and prioritising adaptation actions
    • developing and implementing an adaptation plan.

    4. Monitor and review

    The final step is to monitor implementation of adaptation plans, monitor climate change impacts, and embed reviews in existing procedures and systems. This includes:

    • developing a monitoring and evaluation plan
    • integrating monitoring, review and learning into existing systems.

    This is an active and iterative process that works with other state government risk functions and responsibilities. The key to this process is regular monitoring and review to adapt to new information and changing conditions.

    Learn more

    Download the Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide

    Download a free copy of the Climate Risk Ready NSW Guide (PDF - 3.8MB)

    Appendix B Health Check Tool (XLSX - 156KB)

    Appendix C Climate Risk Assessment Tool (XLSX - 74KB)

    Training for state government employees

    NSW public sector employees can enrol in the online Climate Risk Ready training course, developed by the NSW Government and Western Sydney University. The course helps employees understand the assessment, treatment and monitoring of climate risks. It also helps employees  how to embed these practices into existing management functions and enterprise risk management systems.