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10 years on

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10 Years on - October 2018

04 Oct 2018

Rising sea levels resulting from global warming have not been adequately prepared for in waterfront developments, including Docklands area warns ex-Victorian planning and environment minister, Tom Roper.

A minister from 1987-1990 and now a board member of the Climate Institute in Washington, Mr Roper made the comments during the recent World Sustainable Building Conference held in Melbourne at which he was also a guest speaker.

“I’m not just pointing my finger at Docklands and Melbourne, as not much has been done anywhere. Recently VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) has started knocking back some coastal developments, but we started looking at the coastal impacts of sea level rises in 89-90’, and it hasn’t been taken that far since then.”

Until recently most studies on the impact of sea level rises were predicted to be up to one metre by 2100, but according to Mr Roper, “The best European and US research has now made it clear that the estimates in most of these reports are underestimates ... most recent research now predicts two metres by the end of the century, and of course, it will keep on coming after that.

“We can’t be certain (of the actual rise) until it occurs but there are increasing concerns as we learn more about the polar arctic regions. They are melting more rapidly than we previously thought, especially the Greenland ice shelf.”

As with most coastal cities including New York and London, Mr Roper believes we need to prepare for climate change and sea level rises now.

“It will affect all our coast line, and we’re seeing the changes now,” he said.

“Although Port Phillip Bay doesn’t get the same level of storm activity as say Queensland, in April there were some big storms and there are predictions that there will be a significant increase in hailstorms... we’ve got to look at how future systems operate and our infrastructure. Governments all around the world are starting to pay attention,” said Mr Roper.

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