Pests on the move: Taking climate change into account in Pest Risk Assessments

Darren J. Kriticos (1), Rebecca M.B. Harris (2)

1 CSIRO, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT, 2601,, @darrenkriticos

2 Antarctic Climate Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart 7001

Bioclimatic modelling is a central tool in pest risk assessment, contributing directly to understanding risks of a pest establishing in a new environment, and to estimating the impacts it might have.  In recognizing that climate change is altering the potential ranges of species, and that species invasions typically bring about irreversible changes, PRA frameworks have recently started including consideration of climate change scenarios.  However, the emerging analytical frameworks provide no guidance to analysts on how to handle the future climate risk scenarios and the Intergovernmental Standards for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures is mute on the issue.  The situation is fraught.  The costs from pest invasions can be significant.  There are vast, irreducible uncertainties in the future climates.  Jurisdictions need to be mindful that trade restrictions to prevent a threat that is emerging due to global warming may be perceived as a technical barrier to trade, and may be challenged in the World Trade Organisation court.  If a pest threat is perceived, biosecurity managers will want firm guidance on how to manage the threats.  Fortunately, there is a prudent framework for dealing with this type of situation.  We describe the framework, and demonstrate it with a case study.