Sunday, March 22, 2009

Forced retreat from coast

The Age (Australia): The top government scientist leading Australia's efforts to adapt to climate change has warned that some coastal communities will have to be abandoned in a "planned retreat" because of global warming. Dr Andrew Ash, who directs the CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship program, said while some vulnerable coastal communities could be protected by sea walls and levees, "there are going to be areas where that is not physically possible, or it's not cost effective to introduce any engineering solution and planned retreat becomes the only option".

Warning that climate change was accelerating at a much faster rate than predicted, Dr Ash said state and local governments urgently need to identify coastal land unsuitable for new residential development, because rising sea levels together with bigger, more frequent storms would flood them with sea water. Federal and state governments will also need to rule out putting costly new infrastructure such as airport runways and bridges in vulnerable low-lying coastal areas.

"They need to be thinking now about what areas are vulnerable and what areas are likely to be unsuitable in the longer term for new residential developments, because local governments are concerned about future liabilities," he said….

World's longest jetty in Queensland, Australia, shot by Bo-deh, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License

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