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Regional SA among world’s most vulnerable due to climate policy
10 May 2013
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA: Regional South Australia is among the most vulnerable parts of the world due to poor climate policy, according to Professor Stefaan Simons at University College London in Adelaide.
Professor Simons is Director of the UCL International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI).
He has become so concerned about regional South Australia’s capacity to build resilience he has established a new two-year project ‘Impacts of Climate Policies on South Australia” and appointed a full time researcher to tackle the challenge.
Professor Simons will launch the research project with visiting UCL Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant CBE, next Thursday afternoon at the UCL Australia annual research conference at The Science Exchange.
“The world has a significant focus on climate change and climate change policies, but what many people overlook is the non-climate impacts of poorly designed or constantly changing policies,” Professor Simons says.
“In particular I am increasingly concerned about South Australia’s regional communities who are vulnerable to climate change impacts on employment, health and well-being, environmental bio-diversity and energy security.
“There is an over-reliance in the region on a limited number of industrial sectors, such as agriculture and mining, an ageing population (with an out-migration of 20-39 year olds), lower average levels of education, limited access to health services and a stressed and finite water resource.
“If you couple this with inconsistent and ever-shifting energy and climate policies, it makes it very difficult for communities to make the preparations required to mitigate the effects on them of climate change.
“Regional South Australia is unique in many often competing ways. It has the highest concentration of renewable energy generation of anywhere in Australia, predominantly wind but increasingly solar, yet western Eyre Peninsula is at the very edge of the world’s longest single electricity grid.
“So while there is significant generation capacity, which also produces employment, the regions are paradoxically vulnerable to pricing and energy security.”
Professor Simons says it is also important that regional industrial bases, such as cities in the Iron Triangle, develop strategies to deal with the impacts of policy interventions, such as carbon pricing and Australia’s decision to join the EU Carbon Trading Scheme.
To kick-start the research project the IEPI has recruited a postdoctoral researcher, Dr Alicia Boyano Larriba, from the Department of Sustainable Production and Technologies of the European Commission.
Dr Boyano will work in Adelaide together with Climate Strategies, a not-for-profit organisation that provides independent policy and economic research input to European and international climate policy, on the regional interactions that may result from the new international legal instruments arising out of the United Nations COP-18 meeting in Qatar next week.
The UCL Research Conference also provides a platform for the university’s next crop of MSc graduates to unveil their research findings.
Eight MSc students will present their research findings which include:
• Capturing the benefits of high performance computing for investment decisions in electricity markets
• Analysis of base and precious metal project finance risks in Africa
• Government initiatives to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago: Lessons learned from Australia
• Opportunities for New Entrant Generation Technologies in South Australia.
Professor Stefaan Simons, BSc (hons), PhD, CEng FIChemE
Professor Simons, CEng FIChemE, is Professor of Chemical Engineering at University College London (UCL) and Director of the Centre for CO2 Technology (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/centre-for-co2-technology/), a multidisciplinary research Centre, founded in 1998, focused on the development of innovative low carbon technologies.
Since 1994 Professor Simons has been working with universities in Kazakhstan, developing modern chemical engineering degree curricula, and, as the first Dean of Engineering, was responsible for founding the School of Engineering at Nazarbayev University, the new international university in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city.
UCL Australia Graduate Research Conference – key details:
UCL’s research conference will be held from 1330 to 1700 on Thursday 6 December at The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide. Members of the public are welcome, registration is required via www.ucl.ac.uk/australia.
Proceedings will commence with keynote presentations by UCL President and Provost, Malcolm Grant, and Director of the UCL International Energy Policy Institute, Prof Stefaan Simons.
Students will present their theses from 1445 to 1545, followed by networking drinks.
For further details or interview contact Louise Marsh at Corporate Conversation on
08 8224 3535 or 0418 814 147.