September 24, 2010 – Original Source: ABC, Australia
An American coastal geologist describes rising sea levels is going to be the first major negative impact of global warming.
Described as America’s most outspoken coastal geologist Professor Orrin Pilkey assumes sea levels will rise by 2 metres by 2100.
This is far beyond the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who claim levels will rise to half a metre.
He says more needs to be done to prepare coastal communities from climate change threats.
“If you’re going to have development and its close to the beach, make sure the buildings movable.”
He also recommends a planned retreat.
“It means you recognise there’s rising sea levels and you move things back as required, or you demolish the buildings.”
With threats of rising sea levels and more extreme weather events to thrash our coastline, there is a high probability of litigation and claims of compensation, brought on by property owners for damage to their properties.
Professor Jan McDonald, director of the Griffith University Climate Change Response Program says currently there’s no policy position in respect of liability for past decisions, and this needs to change.
It’s going to cost a lot of the next 50 to 100 years to either fortify and protect existing properties, repair properties that have been damaged or in some case retreat and relocate whole communities.
Rather than focusing on litigation and individual property owners that may want to sue, I would like to see a national conversation on a proper funding mechanism for dealing with these coastal impacts.”
She says currently COAG is putting together national planning principles for sea level rise and other coastal impacts, but liability funding mechanisms aren’t being discussed.”