Sea levels come close to Coffs houses.
Sea levels come close to Coffs houses. The Coffs Coast Advocate

Coastal regions could face $226b climate change cost

COASTAL areas of Australia could face a massive $226 billion bill due to climate change, if nothing is done about a forecast 1.1 metre sea level rise in the next century, a new report has found.

The Climate Council report, to be released on Wednesday, found billions of dollars worth of homes, commercial and business buildings, roads and coastal infrastructure were at risk.

In Queensland, the bill could amount to more than $31 billion if the forecast sea level rises eventuate, with professor Tim Flannery saying about 7500km were at risk.

In New South Wales, the cost of doing nothing on sea level rises could similarly rise to about $38 billion, with expected impacts on infrastructure, roads and buildings.

The Council's report has also found in each state between 44,000 and 68,000 coastal homes could be affected by sea level rises on a "business-as-usual scenario".

Prof Flannery told APN that Queensland was one of two states' most at risk, due to the massive amount of infrastructure built along its extensive coastline.

He said the other state at most risk from sea level rises was Victoria, while all regional towns and cities around the nation's coast should be preparing now.

"The report makes clear the rate of sea level rise to closely tied to the rate of (carbon) emission, so if we can cut that rate of pollution, we're more likely to look at the lower end of impacts," Prof Flannery said.

But he warned that even on the "lower end" of potential impacts in Australia, sea level rises could still hit half a metre over the next century, exacerbated by the flooding and storms surges that could come with it.

Prof Flannery said the sea level rises were "an area with a high degree of scientific certainty", and every level of government should be doing more to address carbon emissions and the impact of climate change.

"So many people live and work on the coast, that you really need every level of government - federal, state and local - to work together to get the best outcome," he said.

 

ASSETS AT RISK OF SEA LEVEL RISES:

NSW:

$14-$20 billion worth of residential buildings at risk (44,000 - 68,000 residential buildings)

$5-$9 billion of commercial buildings at risk

$0.8-$1.1 billion of light industrial buildings

Over $7 billion of roads at risk

$0.6-$1.3 billion of rail and tramways at risk

 

QLD:

$15-$20 billion worth of residential buildings at risk (44,000 - 68,000 residential buildings)

$10-$15 billion worth of commercial buildings at risk

$1.3-$2.0 billion worth of light industrial buildings at risk

$9.7-$12.9 billion of roads at risk

$1.7-$2.3 billion of rail and tramway at risk

SOURCE: Climate Council report, Sept 2014.

 

--APN NEWSDESK


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