The impact of governance structures on climate change adaptation in Australian rural communities

Government efforts to lead community adaptation to the environmental impacts of climate change are costly and will succeed only to the extent that communities are able to exercise considerable self-reliance in responding to such leadership. Previous research in economics and psychology has demonstrated that such efforts often have the perverse effect of 'crowding out' the self-reliance, or intrinsic motivation, that they seed to supplement. This past research indicates also that the kind of governance arrangements (e.g. top-down, bottom-up, etc.) under which such interventions occur can influence this crowding-out effect and indeed that it may be possible for polycentric community-based arrangements to reverse this effect and replenish what environmental citizenship has been lost.

The aim of this project is to learn how environmental and related governance structures and processes might be designed to more effectively promote climate change adaptation in Australian rural communities. This interdisciplinary project involving Drs Graham Marshall and Miriam East from the Institute and Professor Don Hine from UNE's psychology discipline will employ data from an online survey to assess the impact of several governance scenarios on landholders' climate change adaptation plans.

Due for completion in 2014

Funded by: School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Science's Staff Seeding Grant Scheme

Contact: Graham Marshall