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SEA

The CSIRO has also flagged the prospect of controversial "planned retreat" policies to force waterfront residents to abandon their homes as sea levels rise and storm surges increase.

The grim predictions have been made at a world-first "climate adaptation" conference on the Gold Coast opened yesterday by Climate Change Minister Penny Wong. International scientists at the conference say climate change is now impossible to stop and the world will have to learn to adapt to rising sea levels, prolonged droughts and extreme weather.

CSIRO experts will tell the Climate Adaptation Conference that a forecast 1.1m rise in sea levels by the year 2100 will put at risk more than $60 billion in homes around Australia's coastline, including about 9000 in southeast Queensland alone. They say coastal developments in some areas would ideally be demolished or prevented to maintain natural buffers against rising sea levels.

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But with massive population growth in southeast Queensland, the CSIRO says costly sea walls may be needed, especially in built-up areas such as the Gold Coast.

"We don't know exactly what will happen (with rising sea levels), but there is good enough evidence to start being concerned," CSIRO economist Russell Gorddard said.

"Sea levels have been rising at an increasing rate and climate scientists expect this pattern to continue into the future. A rise of 1.1m by 2100 is plausible."

In a paper to be delivered at the conference, Dr Gorddard and colleagues Nick Abel and Anthony Ryan called for the development of "planned retreat" policies as an alternative to expensive sea walls.

Such a policy has caused uproar in Byron Bay where the Greens-led local council has banned beachfront residents from erecting boulder walls to defend their homes against big seas.

In another conference paper, Dr Abel and Dr Gorddard have suggested coastal development could be discouraged by involving banks and insurers in planning.

"Banks will be reluctant to provide mortgages for properties that will be at risk (and) high insurance costs or refusal of cover would be a significant disincentive for coastal development," they say.

United Nations Environment Program chief scientist Joseph Alcamo said

the conference was a sign the scientific community was beginning to respond to the policy needs of climate change and come up with reasonable and scientifically based plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
             
 
             
 
             
 
 
 
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