80 percent of Aussies threatened by rising sea levels

October 28th, 2009 - 2:52 pm ICT by ANI  

London, October 28 (ANI): A new report has said that Australians may have to leave coastal areas as rising sea levels threaten homes, with the situation seeming more worrisome as 80 percent of the country’s population lives in coastal areas.

According to a report by BBC News, the parliamentary committee report says that urgent action is needed, as seas are expected to rise by 80cm (31 inches).

About 80 percent of Australians live in coastal areas, and the report recommends new laws banning further development in coastal regions.

The authorities are divided over whether to retreat from rising seas or defend the coastline.

The report, entitled ‘Managing Our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate’, urges the authorities to consider “the possibility of a government instrument that prohibits continued occupation of the land or future building development on the property due to sea hazard”.

It estimates that Aus 150 billion dollars worth of property is at risk from rising sea levels and more frequent storms in future years.

There are almost 50 recommendations in the report, ranging from a national coastline plan and greater co-operation between different authorities to a revised building code to cope with storm surges and soil erosion.

It does not say the government should force people to move inland, but proposes that an independent group look into whether the government could - and should - do just that.

Australia’s major cities are all in coastal areas, as well as the homes of some six million people outside the main population centres, according to the report, which was issued after 18 months of study.

According to Alan Stokes, the task force’s executive director, banning development in certain areas was necessary if the government wanted to prevent a major loss of life in the event of natural disasters such as tsunamis.

“There’s no doubt Australia will remain and continue to be a coastal community,” he said.

“But, we may have to be a bit more considerate about which parts of the coast we develop further and which ones we don’t,” he added.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, founded by the UN, estimates that a global rise in sea level of some 80cm is possible by 2100. (ANI)

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