Climate change awareness is associated with enhanced adaptive capacity

N. A. Marshall*, S. Park, S. M. Howden, A. B. Dowd, E. S. Jakku

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Primary resource industries considering adaptation action in response to current or future climate changes need to consider the adaptive capacity of their constituent members if an industry-wide response is to occur. In particular, they need to know the extent to which the capacity to adapt exists and whether it can be enhanced. We focus on the role of climate change awareness in influencing adaptive capacity within an Australian primary industry that is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Climate change awareness is the extent to which primary producers relate to and prioritise climate change as a driver of change. We assess climate change awareness using four fairly representative statements. Adaptive capacity is the human potential to convert existing resources into successful adaptation strategies. We assess adaptive capacity on the basis of current knowledge as comprising four essential dimensions: (1) the management of risk and uncertainty, (2) skills in planning, learning and reorganising, (3) financial and emotional flexibility, and (4) interest in adapting. A telephone survey was completed by 69 peanut producers in Queensland representing 88% of the industry and a response rate of 90%. We empirically show that primary producers that have higher climate change awareness also have a higher capacity to adapt on at least three dimensions of adaptive capacity. Our results suggest that it may be worth investing in supporting climate change awareness within primary industries if broad-scale climate adaptation planning is to be successful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-34
Number of pages5
JournalAgricultural Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


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