Media release 7.1.08
A recent World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study has doubled the sea level rise predicted last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) illustrating the need for urgent action. The IPCC predicted that by 2100 sea levels would rise by .6m whilst the WWF study has estimated that the rise will be closer to 1.2m by this date.
A number of prominent scientists including CSIRO adviser Barrie Pittock and James Hansen of NASA have been warning for some time that the IPCC predictions may be underestimates and that the sea-level rise may be even higher than the WWF estimate.
Early indications suggest that events are occurring at the upper level of IPCC predictions especially in the case of the extent of summer ice in the Arctic. In the last two summers the Arctic ice has declined dramatically leading some to predict that the Arctic may be ice free in summer within a few decades. Warming in the Arctic circle is much stronger than elsewhere on the planet.
A recently study on the effect of climate change and subsidence by the Gippsland Coastal Board discusses the possibility of a broach of the barrier of the 90 mile into the Gippsland Lakes which could be disastrous for all the communities around the lakes. The sea level rises analysed in this report are based on the 2007 IPCC report and may be substantial underestimates. The WWF report indicates that events such as sea-level rise may be “faster, sooner (and) stronger”.
Agreement and urgent action is needed at all levels of government and across the political spectrum. A large number of actions can be taken in the local government area including conservation of energy, using a variety of forms of local electricity generation including solar, wind, and biofuels (waste powered*) and the large-scale planting of trees on shire land to offset the carbon the shire produces. A number of other practices can be implemented to adapt to the predicted changes – one example being the management of roadsides in co-operation with farmers to remove fire hazards from around towns and roadsides. The hazardous material removed should be used to produce electricity and possibly agrichar – a stable form of charcoal to be used as a fertiliser.
Whilst the challenges that global warming poses are momentous we will be far better off if we face them squarely and start working on them now.
*obviously not from logging operations as logging has to be phased out as soon as possible.