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Calls for Far South Coast communities to be better prepared for sea level rise

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The latest IPCC report predicts events like the storms along the Far South Coast in June 2016, which caused severe coastal damage, will become frequent. Still footage thanks to Jim Kelly and Kym Mogridge.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a grim picture of the future of Australia’s coastal areas, but there’s still time to avoid the worst scenario, scientists from The Australian National University say.

One of the lead authors of the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, Associate Professor Nerilie Abram from the ANU, in Canberra says, "...by 2050, more than one billion people will live on coastal land that is less than 10 metres above sea level, and will be exposed to combinations of sea level rise, extreme winds, waves, storm surges and flooding from intensified tropical cyclones.

“Their future looks dire if we do not act to limit further climate change.

“Australia’s coastal cities and communities can expect to experience what was previously a once-in-a-century extreme coastal flooding event at least once every year by the middle of this century – in many cases much more frequently.”

Associate Professor Abram says by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we could gain more than a decade of extra time to prepare parts of Australia’s coastal infrastructure against these damaging events – or even avoid them significantly.

“But even if we act now, some changes are already locked in and our ocean and frozen regions will continue to change for decades, to centuries to come, so we need to also make plans to adapt.

“In Australia, adapting coastal communities to unavoidable sea level rise is a priority. There are a range of possible options, from building barriers to planned relocation, to protecting the coral reefs and mangroves that provide natural coastal defenses.”

Meanwhile the Climate Council has labelled Prime Minister Scott Morrison speech to the United Nations in New York, spruiking Australia's climate change mitigation credentials, as "colossal bullshit". 

 CEO of the Climate Council, Amanda McKenzie says, "Over the winter we saw bushfires burning across Australia, while the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic were on fire. A major new report shows that suburbs in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne could experience serious sea level disasters every year on our current trajectory. Meanwhile, on this government’s watch, Australia’s pollution is rising year on year. To suggest we are doing enough is ludicrous and dangerous,” she said.

“Mr Morrison is out of touch with what is happening all around us. He is also out of touch with Australians who are really worried,” said Ms McKenzie. 

 “Mr Morrison told the United Nations that our children have a right to optimism. Perhaps they would feel more optimistic if he started to take the problem of climate change seriously,” she said. 

You can read the NSW Government's Coastal Management Framework here.