Melbourne Climate Futures (MCF) cultivates a network of cross-disciplinary climate change researchers across UoM and connects climate change practitioners and researchers with the broader public across eleven key research themes:
Law and litigation
Law and regulation at multiple levels of governance (local, state, national, transnational, international) play a central role in addressing the climate crisis. Climate litigation (disputes on climate change brought to the courts for resolution) has emerged as a major site for climate governance and law-making in countries around the world.
Health, wellbeing and climate justice
Climate change – one of the greatest environmental challenges with which we are faced – impacts human health in both direct and indirect ways. Human health is intricately connected with our natural environment. The way we live influences our environment, and our environment influences our health and wellbeing.
Business and finance
Business and finance play a crucial role in transitioning towards a clean energy future, both in managing their own climate risks and seizing climate-related opportunities. Until relatively recently, businesses were attributed limited responsibility for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Politics and policy
Policy and politics are fundamental to understanding and responding to the climate crisis. At the international level, climate policy and politics have evolved through structures like the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Policy and politics have also shaped dynamics at the domestic level, spanning not only national and sub-national government action but also civil society and non-government organisations.
Land underpins terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, which provide ecosystem functions and services to human societies. Land plays a vital role in global climate systems by acting as a sink and a source of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Land and ecosystems are affected by climate change, including direct effects of droughts, floods, heat waves, and indirect effects on disturbances like wildfires, which can impact on plant and animal productivity and on human-ecosystem interactions.
In Australia, climate change and biodiversity are largely dealt with independently in policy, legislation and regulation, as is resourcing initiatives to tackle either challenge. Australia has been identified as a global extinction hotspot and serial under-performer in conserving biodiversity, as well as in setting and reaching emissions reductions targets.
The impact of climate change on earth’s water systems is felt across economies, environments, societies and cultures. This program is concerned with understanding and responding to hydrological changes in soils, surface-waters, sub-surface water stores and estuaries.
Climate communication and education
There is an identified need for greater and higher-quality climate communication and education worldwide. Effective climate communication and education should not be confined to primary, secondary and higher-education domains; it is fundamental in government, civil society, business, media, and communication sectors to maximise climate literacy and climate-related outcomes.
Social vulnerability and adaptation
This research examines the frontiers of knowledge about the risks of and responses to climate change. With a focus on social science expertise and a geographic interest in Australia, Asia and the Pacific, this research theme seeks to understand the social impacts of climate change and examine opportunities to adapt social systems in ways that are fair and sustainable.
Climate systems science
Climate science uses computer models and understanding of the fundamental processes governing the atmosphere and ocean to explore past, present and future variability of Earth’s climate system. Climate science has provided the evidence to identify human influences on the climate system and to quantify possible future pathways in a warming world.
Built and living environment
Design decisions and actions concerning our built and living environments are at the core of the climate and biodiversity crises. As the practices of design, architecture, building and planning embody, reveal and shape our shared societal perspectives and agendas on these challenges, they can also positively define or impact the technologies, infrastructures, environments, and practices of everyday life that become our future living environments.
Oceans and climate
The ocean forms part of the climate system and is a moderator of climate change. Scientists have shown that it absorbs over 90 per cent of the heat and 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide that humans continue to add to the atmosphere. This service comes with a cost and the ocean is warming, rising, and acidifying at an unprecedented rate. The changing conditions are endangering many marine organisms and putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of millions of coastal people and communities.
Climate Futures Research Cluster
In alignment with these themes, the Climate Futures Research Cluster cultivates a network of cross-disciplinary climate change researchers across the University.
The research cluster:
- Strengthens relationships within and between faculties and research institutes
- Creates a network of cross-disciplinary climate change and sustainability researchers for collaborative research grant development
- Connects researchers at the University to external research funding partners (academic, industry and government)
- Provides a portal and focal point for climate change and sustainability practitioners, the public, and academics both at and beyond the University
- Supports research training and early career researchers at the University.
If you want to join the cluster or find out more, contact us at: