Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Australian Federal Police Commissioner enters climate change debate - heads in the sand once more

The Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, enters the climate change debate with a warning that climate change elsewhere will have border security implications for Australia.
As usual, in John Howard's Australia, little sustained thought has yet been given to potential homegrown environmental refugees who may be made homeless by the loss of land, decreasing fresh water resources, extinguished property value/financial security due to saltwater intrusion into aquifers/rivers, seawater inundation of low lying lands, coastal erosion and/or violent weather events.
The Clarence Valley and some other coastal areas are identified as potentially being in the climate change firing line and, climate change appears to be occurring at a faster rate than originally predicted. 
Yet after eleven long years the Howard Government is still to complete and publish a specific detailed report on this issue to guide local residents, only recently ordering GeoScience Australia and the Australian Greenhouse Office to commission a study on Australian coastlines [www.abc.net.au,"Researchers identifying areas vulnerable to rising sea levels",16 August 2007]. 
Mick Keelty will have more to worry about than national border security, if local coastal communities have to move inland en masse without any real forward planning in place.
Instead of whipping up a version of 'stranger danger' Mr. Keelty would make better use of his grey matter if he considered how the Australian Federal Police could assist in large-scale local evacuations should the need arise.

Link to a NSW coastline map showing 1m sea level rise:

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