Prof. Mark Howden

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Mark will be speaking in Session 2. License to operate. Click here to see more. 


Global GHG emissions continue to increase in spite of commitments to reduce them. They are currently at record levels, fuelling record atmospheric concentrations (now more than 50% higher than pre-industrial levels). Unsurprisingly, this continues to push global temperatures higher, with at least 7 out of the last 8 years being the hottest years on record. This is generating unprecedented heatwave and related conditions as well as associated changes in rainfall and rainfall intensity, vapour pressure deficit and to various extreme climate-related events. The recent IPCC Working Group 2 report showed that these changes are already impacting on viticulture and wine production, profitability, risk and sustainability. Importantly, these changes interact with improvements in management and technologies, demand-side factors, institutional arrangements, other biotic and physical stressors etc. When these factors are accounted for, climate changes are largely negative for existing wine-producing areas, both in Australia and globally, although there are instances where some positive impacts have arisen. More, and bigger, changes are projected, leading to concerns about future sustainability. It is clear that adaptation to climate change is happening but it is patchy and may be increasingly insufficient. There are many adaptation options available to address some of these issues ranging from the tactical and technical to the strategic and transformational. But we are arguably not investing adequately in the underlying R&D to generate new and better options nor in the implementation and M&E of those we already have. The recent IPCC report and previous work shows that as climate change gets worse, generally the adaptation option space shrinks and the effectiveness of adaptation options tends to decline. Does this apply to viticulture and wine-making ? Additionally, there is growing pressure to reduce the GHG and broader environmental footprint. There are interesting times ahead for viticulture and wine-growing in a changing climate.


Professor Mark Howden is Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions at The Australian National University. He is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Melbourne, a Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is the Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council. He was on the US Federal Advisory Committee for the 3rd National Climate Assessment and a member of the Australian National Climate Science Advisory Committee.

Mark has worked on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues for over 30 years and has over 420 publications of different types. He helped develop both the national and international greenhouse gas inventories that are a fundamental part of the Paris Agreement. He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991, with roles in the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and now Sixth Assessment Reports, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC participants and Al Gore.