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Climate change: Wong on adaptation « Previous | |Next »
February 19, 2010

Penny Wong's speech to the National Coastal Climate Change Forum in Adelaide is significant.This is not because of its reflections about Copenhagen, or the defence of both climate change science or the Rudd Governments' emissions trading scheme, but because it addresses the need to adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Minister says:

even with strong emissions reduction action we face a stark and sobering fact – the opportunity to avoid climate change altogether has passed. It has been lost to us – this generation no longer has that opportunity.Any effective climate change response now also needs to address the question: how do we adapt to the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid?...

The speech highlights that one of Australia‟s principal adaptation challenges is preparing our coasts since these coasts play a major part in our economy, our environment, and our way of life:
climate change threatens coastal homes and the viability of coastal industries and ecosystems.With our coasts at the front line on climate change, facing sea level rise, storm surges and inundation, they also must be at the forefront of our efforts to adapt to climate change. Australia‟s coastal zone in particular will experience the full range and impact climate change.

It refers to Climate Change Risks to Australia's Coasts report and the National Coastal Risk Assessment.

As is pointed out development around the Australian coast assumes that sea level and storm events would function as they have in the past and our housing estates, business sites and public utilities have been designed as if the coastline and tidal levels would not change. Such assumptions are no longer valid.

The Australian, of course, is not at all convinced. It ain't gonna happen.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:14 AM | | Comments (8)


Pleased to see that Minister Wong's speech recognises climate change will alter our environment

Ho, ho, ho, my stars!
Can just imagine various governments throughout all three tiers telling their real estate mates to build better houses.
The word wll be going out quietly that if you want to put your real estate development in a bog, better slip the plan through now, before the public wakes up and tries to force legislative change.

People are still building million dollar plus homes on the dune line on the Tweed Coast, regardless of the fact that houses are about to disappear into the ocean just down the coast at Byron Bay. And the Council is letting them.

I suspect the Bondi beachgoers' mentality in the story you linked to is the explanation. If you can't see it yet, it isn't happening, and it's all a lot of hogwash anyway.

I know two people who swear the Sydney water shortage, when Warragamba was down to 30% capacity or whatever it was, was 'a lot of newspaper nonsense'. I mean what can you do with such ignorance?

I remember Pauline Hanson years ago saying that we'd made a lot of progress tackling environmental problems - why you hardly ever saw people these days throwing rubbish out the car window. I suspect a lot of people are incapable of thinking above that micro level. Since they recycle their rubbish now and use those ugly new light globes, surely the global warming thing has been fixed?

Yeah... adapt. A bit like saying "don't stop smoking, we love the tax dollars, just learn to adapt to cancer"

folks, the Rudd Government has to highlight adaptation because their attempts at mitigation are deeply flawed.


Properties will continue to be built near water while the insurance companies continue to cover them.

We've had this conversation many times before, and I think Les is right about insurance companies. Risk management is the reason they exist. They have no option other than to be realistic.

I understood that insurance companies were already moving to minimize risk to themselves in specific coastal areas.