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Greenhouse 2011 Conference

The Greenhouse 2011 Conference was held from the 4-8 April in Cairns, Queensland. A total of 474 delegates attended, with Kyla Finlay attending on behalf of the CRCNPB. 

The conference featured 29 keynote speakers/panelists, 150 presentations, 90 climate science posters and 11 exhibitors. PDF copies of all the presentations have been made available by the conference organisers (

The conference theme focused on the latest findings in the science of climate change and many of the key note presentations detailed the most up-to-date information including:

  • the earth’s warming impact on sea level rise
  • climatic uncertainties such as clouds, aerosols, water vapour and feedbacks
  • where we stand with national climate change projections, and
  • an update on Professor Garnaut’s Climate Change review.

Relevant up-to-date information is necessary for incorporation into our studies on the impacts of climate change on pests and diseases; research that is part of the CRCs Preparedness and Prevention Research Program.

An integral part of our climate change research involves optimizing surveillance strategies and determining potential new invasions pathways for emergency pests and pathogens. Part of this is analysis of extreme weather events in association with climate change, which was a strong focus in the conference, including presentations on tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and Australian regions, extreme precipitation events and storm surges.

Many papers were presented on the impact of climate change on Pacific Islands and the risks and opportunities faced by these small island nations. Examination of some of the drivers and potential impacts of climate change on these islands are very relevant to pest and disease incursion research and biosecurity contingency planning.

The Asia Pacific Network (APN) for Global Change Research was an exhibitor at the conference, which gave me the opportunity to showcase our collaborative work with India and Bangladesh under the APN program and the involvement of the CRCNPB in this research. A poster entitled “The effects of climate change on potato late blight in India, Bangladesh and Australia” was displayed throughout the conference.

Interestingly, it has recently been recognised that even though the scientific evidence is overwhelming, there is more skepticism regarding the cause and impact for climate change. Several sessions explored this disconnect between the science and the practitioners who use the information to develop adaptation strategies and the reasons behind it. One of the stated objectives of the CRCNPB's project is the development of tools to inform industry and government and enhance contingency planning for pest and disease responses to climate change. These lessons are invaluable for creating effective policy from the climate change research.

This conference was an excellent opportunity to network with Australian and international researchers. Discussions were held with potential collaborators from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research and the WMO Expert Team on Climate Change Impacts of Tropical Cyclones on increased biosecurity incursion risks due to these extreme weather events and climate impacts on small island nations.

The next Greenhouse Conference will be held in 2013.


When: April 2011
The Greenhouse 2011 Conference was held from the 4-8 April in Cairns, Queensland, with a total of 474 delegates attending. Kyla Finlay attended on behalf of the CRCNPB.