Sea level rise maps of Newcastle from Ozcoasts.gov.au
CONCERNED Newcastle residents, researchers and councillors will meet on Thursday to discuss the likely impacts of sea level rises in the city.
A 2011 federal government report into sea level rises predicted that about 6316 hectares of the Newcastle local government area’s human-built environment would be vulnerable to combined sea level rise and flood extremes by 2030.
The Hunter’s multibillion-dollar coal export infrastructure was among the infrastructure identified as being at risk.
‘‘Future living standards will depend significantly on the extent to which the region’s built environment can adapt to climate stress,’’ the report said.
Ocean adventurer Ivan Macfadyen, Australian National University researcher Asiyah Kassim and Greens councillor Michael Osborne will be among those who will speak at the forum.
‘‘People often don’t understand that sea level rise is not just about the beaches.
‘‘Newcastle has lots of low-lying suburbs along the Hunter River that will experience an increase in flooding, and in some parts permanent inundation,’’ forum organiser Clementine Watson said.
‘‘Sea level rise may be an issue for the coming decades, but the right decisions need to be made now to reduce future risk.’’
The forum, which is part of the Wilderness Society’s Wild Flicks program, will also include excerpts from the film Chasing Ice followed by a panel discussion.
The Climate Commission’s 2012 report The Critical Decade, NSW Climate Impacts and Opportunities found that Lake Macquarie had the highest number (7000) of residential buildings in NSW considered at risk from a sea level rise of 1.1 metres.
It also agreed with previous modelling showing low-lying Newcastle suburbs, such as Wickham, Maryville and Carrington, would be inundated by sea level rises above half a metre.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Tuesday that Lake Macquarie council estimated the total cost to the city from climate change would be $150 million from ‘‘the increased effect of natural disasters ...to 2050.’’ Read that report here.
Thursday’s forum will be held at 21 Gordon Avenue, Hamilton, from 6pm.