Allan Takes Aim Blog

Canberra by the sea

Posted on: 17 November 2009


 To all owners of beachfront pads: do you think global warming will raise sea levels to such an extent that you will need to move the pad inland before it sinks beneath the waves? I ask because, if the predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and those of other global warming prophets, plus the recent news from Britain’s the Hadley’s Centre for Climate Prediction and Research are right, it’s almost certain you’ll need to.

Not that I have a beachfront pad or believe the predictions, and not that I’ll be around to see if the predictions are right or not but, in case they are, I hope ark building will be given priority in the government’s much publicised ‘education’ revolution because Arks will be in demand.

Indeed it seems to me the Government should already be establishing a Department of Arks (DOA), to ensure enough will be built to meet future demand and an Ark Mooring Directorate whose job will be to find enough suitable mooring sites around Australia’s coastline.

And with the housing of flora and fauna now as carefully ordered as the housing of humans, the Government might also need to create the Living Ark Department (LAD) with the responsibility of ensuring that flora and fauna found within three kilometres of present shorelines, will be stored aboard a fleet of environmental arks.

The LAD will have special regulations designating how much fauna and flora fauna each ark will be allowed to carry; no all exotic fauna and flora will be allowed. At the same time special arks for holding artefacts from sacred Aboriginal sites will also need to be built.

With this in mind, and rather than wait until disaster strikes, perhaps the Federal Government should also consider introducing legislation to ban any new building within three kilometres of the current shoreline. (Now wouldn’t that be a worthwhile idea to take to Copenhagen?)

 At the same time if the September report from the drilling ship Joides Resolution (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling) based on an analysis of 20 million years old ocean floor sediment is to be believed, and if CO2 continues to increase at the current rate, urgent action will clearly be necessary. According to the reports, by 2060 sea levels will rise not by 45-50 cms but 45- 50 metres (I think the last figures a misprint). Unfortunately, predictions being notoriously unreliable perhaps owners of beachfront pads would be wise to move earlier because it is possible the rise will occur earlier.

Unlike the prophets, however, I don’t want to frighten people. I’m from the same school of positive thought as John Heywood, circa 1546, who said: ‘it’s an ill wind that blows no one any good.’ So based on the various predictions it seems to me that rising sea levels will provide employment for displaced coal miners and oil workers as 2060 draws nearer. And though Canberra has no coal miners or oil workers to be displaced, Canberra could be a major beneficiary of rising sea levels.

Sitting approximately 575 metres above sea level, if the dread predictions of the global warming prophets come true, Canberra might well become a booming seaside resort and help create thousands of extra jobs in tourism. That said, and without wishing to raise false hopes, Canberra’s tourism industry is already buzzing with rumours that a developer plans to build a pier from Parliament House to the beach and line the beach with luxury hotels and apartments.

A second rumour: to ensure Canberra takes advantage of its new beachside, the tourism industry is preparing a campaign around the theme: “Come live in Canberra by the sea” with families being offered incentives such as free buckets and spades. But if the third rumour is right I think the campaign’s piece de resistance will be, that in the true spirit of bipartisanship, Federal Parliamentarians, led by Peter Garrett and Penny Wong, will join together to sing a chorus of: ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ before every parliamentary session.

So with Arks in place, why worry about climate change? It seems to me also, that even with climate change, a future Canberra will be a place offering a wealth of new opportunities. 

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