Dr Nick Abel

Ph.D, M.Sc, B.Sc (hons)
Honorary Associate Professor
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Climate Change Impacts And Adaptation 4101
  • Policy And Administration 4407
  • Environment Policy 440704
  • Risk Policy 440711
  • Environmental And Resources Law 4802

Research interests

The context of my work is that the rate of human adaptation to the escalating pace and consequences of climate change is too slow to avert current and impending catastophic environmental and social tipping points. Volumes of current and predicted greenhouse gas emissions are expected to make much of Australia climatically hostile to us and the ecosystems that support us. But Australia is the World's third largest exporter of fossil fuels. Successive Federal, State and the Northern territory governments have been captured by fossil fuel lobbyists, causing public policies and investments to be a compromise between the public interest our governments are elected to serve, and the business interests of the fossil fuel industry. I'm investigating how the fossil fuel companies achieved and maintain this ability to keep Australia on a pathway to catastrophe.


Nick was born in Zimbabwe, raised in Kenya, and has worked in Ethiopia, Botswana, Somalia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as Australia. Past employers are the CSIRO, the Universities of Canberra and East Anglia (UK), the International Livestock Centre for Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Zambian National Parks and Wildlife Service, and British Voluntary Service Overseas.


Researcher's projects

I contribute my experience of the theory and practice of resilience thinking to the production of Australian Guidelines to Nature-Based Solutions for Flood Management, working with the Nature Based Solutions project of the Institute of Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions.

Current student projects

Tracey Potts, part time Ph.D, employed by NSW Local Land Services.

As the impacts of climate change increase in intensity and frequency, farmers will need to have more ‘bandwidth’ to think about and adopt improved practices. However, the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events like drought, floods, bushfires, insect and rodent plagues may act to decrease that ‘bandwidth’ as farmers move from one crisis to the next. Conversely, these crises may also serve as the blank slate moment or catalyst to unlock transformational change.

These biophysical factors also cause changes in consumer sentiment as they seek food and fibre produced in ways they believe do not contribute to the problem.

Tracey's research aims to understand some of the complexities facing farmers in regional NSW as they face these challenges with the intention of providing strategic recommendations to industry and government bodies on ways to provide extension and advisory services that meet the changing needs of farmers. 


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  18 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers