Sea level rise report may underestimate problem

Friends of the Earth has welcomed a new Senate Committee report examining the threat of sea level rise from climate change, but cautioned that the report may have underestimated the problem.

Point Nepean, image: Peter McConchie

media release, October 27 2009

Sea level rise report may underestimate problem

Friends of the Earth has welcomed a new Senate Committee report examining the threat of sea level rise from climate change, but cautioned that the report may have underestimated the problem.

The report focuses on sea level rises of 0.8 of a metre, but recent climate science suggests that rises could be be more than 2 metres by the end of the century.

Next month, Friends of the Earth activists plan to mark the extent of sea level rises around Port Phillip Bay to highlight the damage sea level rise and associated problems of storm surge and erosion will cause.

"The report is a wake up call about the sea level rise threat, but it may have underestimated the sea level rise problem," Damien Lawson, National Climate Justice Coordinator said today.

"Around the world changes in the climate system are breaching worse case scenarios. It is likely sea level rises will be the same.

"The view that sea level rise may not be more than a metre is assuming no major loss from the Antarctic ice sheet. That is a dangerous assumption given the recent evidence of warming there, and the fragility of many of the ice shelves which are restraining glacier outflow."

"Recent research examining the paleoclimate record shows sea level rises of 3 metres in 50 years due to the rapid melting of ice sheets 120,000 years ago."

"We need to take off the rose coloured glasses. Our planning for cuts to carbon pollution and dealing with sea level rise should be based on the worst case scenarios, not the best."

"Next month Friends of the Earth members will walk 100 km from Sorrento to Port Melbourne, marking the extent of sea level rise to highlight this danger to Melbourne and the world."

For more information: Damien Lawson 0419 253 342

Senate Committee report: www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ccwea/coastalzone/report.htm

Website for sea level rise walk: www.portphilliprising.org