The first step in the process involved identifying the assets that are most vulnerable to climate change.
The assets considered in the assessment were consistent with those used in the North Central Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) process and included: native vegetation, rivers and streams, wetlands, and soils.
Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change. It has three main dimensions: exposure to changes in climate; sensitivity to such changes; and the capacity of a system to adapt to them.
The assessment incorporated multiple projections of future climate over different timeframes and considered the potential climate change impact and vulnerability using the assessment framework presented below.
Climate change impact and vulnerability assessment framework (Spatial Vision and Natural Decisions, 2014).
To develop this Plan, the vulnerability assessment results were examined and reviewed. Relevant results included ‘Worst Impact’, ‘Adaptive Capacity’ and ‘Vulnerability’, each presented by asset class, for the time periods 2030, 2050, 2070 and 2090, and for emissions scenarios RCP 4.5 and 8.5.
In consideration of the vulnerability assessment results, it was decided, for the purposes of the North Central Region Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan, to use the RCP 8.5 emission scenario for a range of time periods (out to 2090). This is a longer planning horizon than the North Central Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) [20 years], and has been judged to provide a view of possible impacts (assuming emission continue to rise through to 2100), for the most relevant climate factors, particularly changes in temperature and rainfall. The vulnerability assessment maps are presented in the North Central Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan with example vulnerability assessment presented below:
Vulnerability of priority waterway assets – RCP 8.5 2070
Vulnerability of priority wetland assets – RCP 8.5 2070
Vulnerability of priority biodiversity assets – RCP 8.5 2070
When considering the impacts of climate change on natural assets and adaption options, it is important to consider long-term trends rather than impacts for a specific time period. For example, the predicted impacts for north central Victoria increase significantly after 2050.