Thankfully Aussies are good swimmers
My last post brought you rather depressing news about future water wars and food insecurity. Well, there’s more worrying news I’m afraid, especially if you’re an Aussie. No doubt you’ve heard about the latest climate change report that focuses on Australia: Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts. The report is now up on the Department of Climate Change’s website – go here.
If you can’t be bothered wading your way through this meaty report, I’ll give you the bad news:
- Australia has become a coastal society. Around 85% of the population now live along the coastline and it is of immense economic, social and environmental importance to the nation;
- all Australian state capital cities are located within the coastal zone;
- airports, sea ports and almost a quarter of a million residential homes on Australia’s coastline are at risk of disappearing under rising sea levels by 2100, if climate change continues unchecked;
- up to AU$63 billion of existing residential buildings are potentially at risk of inundation from a 1.1 metre sea-level rise;
- 157,000 to 247,600 existing residential buildings will be at risk from sea inundation by 2100, under a sea-level rise scenario of 1.1m;
- basically if you have a house along the coastline, you’re toast and will have real hassles selling;
- the report offers 47 recommendations such as reviewing evacuation plans (yep, I’d get these plans ready fast) and overhauling building codes to ensure sturdier homes.
Basically dear Aussies, our number is up. Our beach way of life, lazying on the beach, swimming and surfing, golden sand squishing between the toes – all the stuff that makes up our national identity – is threatened by climate change. We’d all better adapt to living away from the coastline and get used to far hotter weather and wilder weather patterns. Insurance companies are already refusing to insure coastal homes and are now tallying up the potential costs (AU$150 billion and counting).
The cat fight I reckon will be over the big question: who’s going to pay? Will owners of beachfront homes get compensation from local councils or State governments? Have State and local authorities got it together yet? – what are their plans for protecting coastal areas and citizens, coastal buildings, public works etc? My bet is that State and local authorities will scramble to protect public buildings and fret over whether angry residents, with beachfront homes sliding into the sea due to soil erosion or inundation, will create public safety issues. They won’t give a toss about the thousands of home owners who will see the value of their expensive beach front homes go belly up. Call me cynical but that’s what I think will happen.