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Coastal concerns somewhat overblown
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 14 December 2010

In her report on potential climate change risks for coastal home owners, Lisa Carapiets indicates that, while the market is treating that risk as coming in last in buyers’ concerns, it remains a serious problem (December 11/12).

But if those involved in this market  examined analyses of the risks,  the assessed potential problem would be greatly diminished.

In the joint report earlier this year by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology on State of Climate, it was noted that from 1993-2009 the global average rise had increased to 3 millimetres a year. However, even if increases continued at that rate, we would have a further rise by 2100 of only about 28 centimetres, which is well within the range of 18-59 centimetres predicted in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and would create levels to which most countries (including Australia) would readily adapt . The likely slow pace of increase would provide ample opportunity for preventive measures to be taken by most owners.

The lack of serious concern about possible future sea levels is confirmed by the failure of the Cancun conference on climate change to reach any binding agreement on a program to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. This follows the recent report by the Royal Society which indicated there is no longer  a scientific consensus on the dangerous warming thesis. Acceptance of that thesis was behind concerns that, inter alia, damaging sea levels would emerge worldwide. Now, for Australia, owners of coastal properties, associated local councils and the real estate market generally can breathe much easier.

Des Moore
Institute for Private Enterprise
South Yarra Vic

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