Attitudes to climate change in southern NSW - Jan Edwards


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  • This talk will focus A little on the project design, But mainly it will report on the preliminary results from the attitudinal survey.
  • We have chosen to run the two projects together as we see synergies investigate the vulnerability of existing enterprises determine the effectiveness of adaptation strategies Further information on the cropping component Steve Crimp talk Alison Lange poster
  • Study area mixed farms in southern NSW Both projects are working with farmer groups Individual farms have been selected to provide the system to model.
  • The science and the GCMs and the models will all change and improve during the life of the project The science is also complex. In this situation, research in isolation is risky Presenting a report or a factsheet at the end of the project won’t be satisfactory extension. We believe that farmer engagement is vital. They may not believe all of the science, but they are keen to discuss the information.
  • This is a space we are comfortable working in. All of the project staff are extension officers – either in livestock or agronomy. The farmer groups are people we have a working relationship with.
  • One issue we are very aware of is that models give the illusion of precision. However, the added precision may make no difference to the decision. In many situations there may be less to be gained from being precisely right with detailed simulation. Especially if you factor in the risk of being precisely wrong. To the extent that we have presented the output of multiple GCMs to the groups. It gives famers confidence that they were not receiving a slanted view of the potential outcomes.
  • To date, 547 people have attended climate change workshops. Between October 2009 and November 2010 Farmer attitudes to climate change are being benchmarked. I stress that these are preliminary results. We will expand the sample size over the next 6 months These are the responses before their involvement in the project. There will be follow up surveys.
  • Feedback also indicated that famers view the public debate as polarised with a selective use of data. Reasons farmers give for not believing Its not climate change but multi-decadal variability Scientific conspiracy or bias Politics The scientists' don’t agree There are convincing counter arguments Lack of understanding about the science – ice cores and CO2 The future is a long way away. Croppers make decisions on an annual cycle according to seasonal conditions. They will just deal with it as it comes.
  • The group who seem to be most sceptical are the 31-45 and the 60+ The 31-45 group are important as they will be managing climate change 18-30 group – fewer respondents Age grp. % 18-30 6.7 31-45 28.2 46-60 29.5 60+ 35.6 From our perspective, we would still run the project if all of them were sceptical.
  • 2 other points about the future 42% believe climate change is making it harder to run a farm business 49% believe they have the tools and knowledge already to manage climate change
  • The next set of slides indicate what farmers intuitively feel will about some of the adaptation options. These are a selection of the questions. I have chosen the ones that may have the most relevance to this audience.
  • this response is in itself not surprising, farmers are always weighing enterprise options. but it does have implications for emissions.
  • This was the only question that did not get any negative responses
  • Again there are policy implications – particularly for increasing on-farm water storage – that accompany this adaptation. The fodder conservation too will have implications for pasture utilisation and if pasture production falls in the future, may be harder to achieve.
  • Again, an option which has recently received CMA funding. There are long term policy issues to consider – such as animal welfare and soil conservation It also relates to the ability to increase on-farm water and fodder.
  • Further modelling work Testing adaptation options Whole farm modelling Economics Further surveys Capacity workshops Project ends June 2012
  • Attitudes to climate change in southern NSW - Jan Edwards

    1. 1. Attitudes to climate change in Southern NSW Jan Edwards District Agronomist, Cowra
    2. 2. 2 funded projects <ul><li>Developing climate change adaptation options for NSW mixed farming systems </li></ul><ul><li>Southern livestock adaptation 2030 </li></ul>
    3. 3. Case study farms Livestock sites Cropping & livestock sites
    4. 4. Engagement in research <ul><li>Climate change research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>high degree of uncertainty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GCMs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>downscaling </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>biophysical models </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Farmer engagement and participation are vital </li></ul><ul><ul><li>increase adoption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>build capacity </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Participation <ul><li>Iterative process with farmers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>designing farming systems and enterprises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interpreting the results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>discussing the risks and practicalities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>suggesting adaptations </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Preparing not predicting <ul><li>Our role is to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>prepare farmers to deal with climate change and climate variability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT predict the future </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Attitudes to climate change <ul><li>Preliminary analysis from 160 survey respondents </li></ul>
    8. 8. Climate change will mean … <ul><li>An increased incidence of droughts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12% disagree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>42% not sure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>45% agree </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Climate change will mean … <ul><li>Less rainfall especially in autumn and spring </li></ul><ul><ul><li>13% disagree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50% not sure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>37% agree </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Climate change will mean … <ul><li>Warmer temperatures, fewer frosts and more ‘hot’ days </li></ul><ul><ul><li>19% disagree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>36% not sure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>38% agree </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Do you believe in climate change? <ul><li>26% no </li></ul><ul><ul><li>likely to have increased recently </li></ul></ul><ul><li>27% not sure </li></ul><ul><li>48% yes </li></ul>
    12. 12. Do you believe in climate change? <ul><li>In the 31–45 age group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>33% no </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>29% not sure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>38% yes </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Attitude to the future <ul><li>15% of the farmers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>believe they won’t be farming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The 60+ age group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>36% of the sample group </li></ul></ul>Attitude to the future Respondents (%) Committed to farming and intend to stay 64 Committed to farming but may take up other employment options 21 Am about to retire 12 Want to take up other employment and leave farming 2 Will be forced to leave the farm 1
    14. 14. To reduce the impact … <ul><li>An emissions trading scheme is essential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>48% disagree </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. What will help? <ul><li>Changing to more drought tolerant species or varieties </li></ul>
    16. 16. What will help? <ul><li>Changing the farm enterprise mix to include more trading livestock </li></ul>
    17. 17. What will help? <ul><li>Increasing the use of no-till or direct drill </li></ul>
    18. 18. What will help? <ul><li>Increasing on-farm water and fodder conservation </li></ul>
    19. 19. What will help? <ul><li>Using drought-lots </li></ul>
    20. 20. What will help? <ul><li>Sourcing off-farm income </li></ul>
    21. 21. What will help? <ul><li>Gaining economies of scale </li></ul>
    22. 22. The projects are funded by
    23. 23. Contacts <ul><li>Kate Lorimer-Ward </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leader Agriculture & Climate Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Phil Graham </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical Specialist Grazing System </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Phil Bowden </li></ul><ul><ul><li>District Agronomist Cootamundra </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Jan Edwards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>District Agronomist Cowra </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Jason Crean </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Principle Economist (CC Policy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>John Smith </li></ul><ul><ul><li>District Agronomist Deniliquin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul>
    24. 25. I have … <ul><li>The knowledge and tools to manage climate change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>49% agree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>35% not sure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>16% disagree </li></ul></ul>
    25. 26. Climate change is … <ul><li>Making it harder to run a farm business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14% disagree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>44% not sure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>42% agree </li></ul></ul>