JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Science is played by politicians

Brisbane floods, 1893. Young boys take the opportunity to play in the floodwaters in the business heart of Brisbane. Other people use rowboats- the only sure mode of transport during the floods. Poul C. Poulsen.

When an expert on small mammals announces that sea levels will rise by 100m, that’s national news. When an expert on hydrology announces that thousands of homes will be flooded sooner or later in a major capital city, it’s buried, and stays buried for four years, and even after it’s leaked, it still isn’t front page news until after the flood.

The photo above reminds us that the hydrology experts were not predicting anything unprecedented.

As usual, pronouncements from science are just the hammer used (or locked away) by those in power for their own purposes. A convenient tool.
From Hedley Thomas at The Australian

The levels of inundation experienced throughout Brisbane as a result of this month’s flood show that the June 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study, which caused a political crisis for Mr Quinn when it was leaked and published in June 2003, correctly warned that the development control lines, set in 1984, were incorrect.

The June 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study is a detailed report setting out the findings of hydrologists and engineers commissioned by the council. The experts whose findings and knowledge contributed to the Brisbane River Flood Study included top engineers from a large firm, Sinclair Knight Merz, and an eminent hydrologist, Russell Mein.

The report’s findings … meant that many properties that were thought to be above the one-in-100-year flood level would, in fact, be one to two metres beneath it.

Where were all the compassionate, concerned activists who were declaring that we ought to listen to the experts? They were too busy campaigning to stop houses being built near the coast for fear of the 3mm annual rise.

Meanwhile, for our overseas readers, the Australian flooding continues and spreads. The La Nina dumping rain all over the Eastern third of Australia: this week it’s Victoria (a southern State) under seige. Yesterday Brisbane suffered a severe storm and today is nervous about the King Tide. The Nation is discussing just how much this will affect the GDP and interest rates.

My earlier post with Ian Motts analysis of the role of the Wivenhoe Dam’s role appears to have been borne out:

Engineer warned of danger from Wivenhoe dam

Engineers and hydrology experts who have been examining data on river height, dam flow rates and weather systems have told The Australian the dam stored far too much water in its flood compartment over the weekend of January 8-9.

They said the Brisbane flood was largely attributable to the dam’s operators releasing unprecedented and unnecessarily vast volumes of water on January 11 after they lost their flood buffer because the dam had not been drawn down significantly over the weekend before the huge rainfall dump.

There are going to be law suits, and very very angry people.

Brisbane flood, 1893. Poul C Poulsen, founder of the Poulsen Studios in Brisbane.   People inspect the damage caused by the inundation of floodwater.

There is an excellent set of before and after graphics of Brisbane flood affected suburbs on this ABC page.

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Science is played by politicians, 1.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/47cvv65

64 comments to Science is played by politicians

  • #
    Don B

    Further comments about the decisions which caused the Wivenhoe dam to flood Brisbane, rather than prevent flooding, are from Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr.:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/01/large-balls.html

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  • #

    I pointed out on Just Grounds previously that the Wivenhoe had been maintained at or over 100% percent of its ‘storage’ capacity since at least Oct 4. Had the storage component of the dam’s capacity been reduced earlier there is no doubt that the authorities would have had more room to maneuver. Having said that, some flooding was probably inevitable. The psychology is important here. Authorities had been lulled into a “no more floods” mindset. The same applies to the heart breaking story that relayed in one of Andrew Bolts pieces (see here and further here) about the engineer in Toowoomba who wanted larger pipes installed in the town’s creek when landscaping works were underway. Sadly he was overruled by “architects” and “landscapers” on the council. It seems man (via “Flannery theory”) had a hand in that tragedy as well.
    With regard to historical flood levels, I don’t know if many readers have seen this paper Some Palaeoflood Indicators in the River Murray Valley of South Australia, Bourman, Tiver and James. Indications described therein indicate a flood in the MDB, circa 1760, twice the size of anything seen since.

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  • #
    Adolf Balik

    You, Aussies, should give proper names to everything. The useless wall that prevents you from imaginary risk should bear a name of “Someone’s” Phantom Wall and the current floods should bear a name by someone too.

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  • #
    Treeman

    Bravo Jo

    Brisbane floods at top of posts again.

    The Australian has today published a flood study
    The Brisbane City Council response and another flood study

    The Courier Mail talks about a class action

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  • #
    Iggy Slanter

    Warmalistas lied and Australians died.

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  • #
    Cookster

    Today’s Sydney Morning Herald as the following article by Elizabeth Farrelly linking the Qld floods to CAGW. The barrage of criticism speaks for itself but it never ceases to amaze me how out of touch these people are becoming. In fact it is they, not sceptics who are the denialists! Also, Gaia is becoming a recurring theme of late in their rantings. Maybe as the public become more aware of the gaps in the ‘settled’ science the warmist crowd are being forced to move increasingly towards religious justification for their cause?

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/clean-energy-alternatives-to-allay-big-coals-flood-of-tears-20110119-19wj0.html

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  • #

    I wondered how long it would be before Slater and Gordon got in on the act.

    Maybe they should include the Greens, Bob Brown, Tim Flannery and all the other alarmist warmenistas who claimed we would be in permanent drought due to global warming in the group of those being sued. Maybe the dam operators could claim it was those people who convinced them to run at 100% water storage for water supply and hence reduced the flood buffer capacity.

    Either way I hope Bligh goes down big time along with her party. The ops manual for the dam should make interesting reading including when amendments were made.

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  • #
    Treeman

    This bloke knows a lot about the legal angles

    I’d love to see Brown and Flannery, Trenberth et al in the dock. No maybe the stocks is a better place for them!

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  • #
    pattoh

    Stocks would be good because you know they have a thing about veges!

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  • #
    Madjak

    Unfortunately i think i can see how this one will pan out:

    1) Komrades Guillard, Bligh will continue to footstomp and beat their chests at the insurers because they think they’ll get votes that way.
    2) The insurers will respond by suing the governments for mismanaging wivenhoe dam
    3) Lead catastrafarian bob brown and co (backed by big busines) will continue their rain dance about cagw being the fault of australias coal miners, because , well, quite frankly they’re nuts
    4) environmental journos for the lamestreammmedia will continue to try and tie the floods to cagw in a pathetic attempt to keep their jobs

    And most importantly, while all this goes on and the lawyers increase their girth off it all:

    1) the people directly affected by the floods will be left with very little to work from while the fat ones pontificate
    2) the rest of australia gets thumped with extra taxes to help pay he legal bills

    Have I missed anything?

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  • #
    Ken Stewart

    Minister Robinson reported (ABC radio) to be releasing the Wivenhoe Dam Manual today. Should be interesting.
    And according to The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers published in August 2010 by the Australian Academy of Sciences, sea levels in Queensland have been rising since 1920 at the rate of about 1.2mm per year- not 3mm. Sort of pales against 4.46 metres, let alone 8+ metres in 1893.
    Ken

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  • #
    Bob Malloy

    Again I’ts conclusive, I’ts all our fault, WMO say’s so.

    New climate data shows warming world: WMO
    Reuters

    GENEVA (Reuters) – Last year tied for the hottest year on record, confirming a long-term warming trend which will continue unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Thursday.

    The first 10 years of the millennium proved to be the hottest decade since records began in the 19th century, it said.

    “The main signal is that the warming trend continues and is being strengthened year after year,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a news conference.

    Jarraud said the latest data should convince doubters about the growing evidence for man-made climate change. “If they look at it in an unbiased way, it should convince them, or hopefully a few of them, that the skeptical position is untenable.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110120/sc_nm/us_climate2010

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  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Jennifer Marohasy has a similar story. Prof Stewart Franks and Prof David Karoly were both interviewed by the ABC about the floods.

    Prof Franks said it was due to la Nina and the PDO.
    Prof Karoly said it was due to CO2.

    The ABC aired the Prof Karoly interview not the Prof Franks interview.

    Says it all really.

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  • #
    Speedy

    Bruce @ 11

    George Orwell saw all this coming in Animal Farm, where he had the sheep bleating their slogans. We saw “Four legs good, two legs bad” become “Four legs good, two legs better” (once the ruling class started walking on two legs).

    Now its the Warmist’s turn. “Global Warming means drought” has become “Global Warming means flood.” The former slogan has gone down the memory hole.

    Cheers,

    Speedy.

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  • #
    Ross

    Bruce @ 11.

    Interesting — Prof Karoly was interviewed on NZ TV the other night about the floods and he quite clearly said it was due to La Nina but suggested CO2 may have amplified the effect
    (he was not very strong on the latter point).
    So why would you believe anything these guys say ?

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  • #
    Dave N

    Speedy @ 12

    It means any “extreme” now. I’m sure if we didn’t have any extremes, alarmists would start to blame moderate weather on AGW, because a lack of extremes would become “non-natural”.

    In any event, the extremes are more often than not described as the “worst in xxx decades”, which places the worst well before any AGW scare. Most alarmists are totally inept at logic, so it is a waste of time point out these fallacies to them.

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  • #
    Bruce

    Here is what Christopher Brooker says about the Qld floods.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8262064/What-was-the-role-of-warmists-in-the-Queensland-flood-disaster.html

    Another misguided Labor Govt environmental policy inflicting hardship, destruction & misery

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  • #
    brc

    At this stage I’m hoping the entire fiasco will present some politician with an open-goal on the dangers of listening to a small selection of experts blathering on about global climate when clearly the local climate is more important to the citizens of a state and country.

    I’ll take any politician – I’m even prepared to accept Bob Katter or a turncoat Labor minister who sees the writing on the wall and wants to be the first rat off the ship.

    Those first heady days of public love for Bligh are about to be lost in the flood of anger over buried reports and the ongoing fiasco that is water policy in the south-east, and that has defined inept QLD Labor from Wayne Goss to the present day. Old Sir Joh (may he RIP) certainly had his faults, but failing to build Dams was categorically not one of them.

    Part of Federal/State Liberal policy for the next State/Federal elections should be a joint statement on planning and funding for another Wivenhoe size Dam and/or increasing the Flood mitigation level for Wivenhoe as well.

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  • #

    ‘The great Wivenhoe flood of 2011!’

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  • #
    pat

    2UE is broadcast over 4BC in brisbane for the late nite talk show, and a sceptic presenter has been replaced this a new zealander, mark kennedy, who is an absolute warmist.

    last nite, he repatedly mentioned “climate change deniers” and read the WMO statement. he kept repeating why do we spend so much on higher education and then ignore our scientists who “overwhelmingly” state “global warming” is happening and we need to act now.

    kennedy is a real zealot and i doubt if anyone could convince him there’s not a human on earth who doesn’t believe the climate changes. it is such a shame this man with his smirking attitude should appear to have taken over the nite shift on a regular basis.

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  • #
    Bulldust

    Gotta love ole Gavin @ RC… just when he is trying to convince people that he is all about the science he pops out a pearler like this ad hom:

    36 Joe Hunkins says:
    20 Jan 2011 at 6:09 PM
    First, very good of Gavin and Stephen Leahy to *try* to correct things before release. However I’m very confused how so many claims this extraordinary could have been missed by Dr. Canziani of IPCC 2 fame. Don’t things like this support the idea that IPCC puts politics ahead of science?

    [Response: No. The IPCC reports are not just one infirm 87-year-old's opinion. - gavin]

    Source: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/01/getting-things-right/

    Ahhhh good ole Gav…

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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Dave N: # 16

    Good point!

    “This year saw the highest global temperatures since the last previously warmer year … everybody panic!

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  • #
    Warren

    Don B @1,a lot of wrong technical information re Wivenhoe is being posted in comments at Dr Pielke’s blog. I hope he gets around to straightening it out. One person seems to think 100% drinking water supply is reached at the concrete lip of the dam,the foot of the gates.This is incorrect,that level,EL57m is 40% full,while 100% full water supply is ten metres higher up the gates at EL67m. Top of the gate is EL73m,while absolute full supply above 75m is only achieved in strong inflows with the gates part open and therefore reaching a higher elevation. Another person has made false claims about Wolffdene being intended as Brisbane’s primary water supply (!),and Wivenhoe never being intended as a water supply dam. Depressing..

    Meanwhile,The Australian has gone provocative,cited two engineers,and leapt to conclusions on the back of insufficient data and dodgy maths. Nothing like exploiting people’s pain in a crisis,is there?

    The one useful thing they have done is offer a link to the Operating Manual.

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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    Cookster @ #6

    The reason the MSM seems to be living in another reality has been amply explained by Bernard Goldberg in his two books Bias and Arrogance when decribing the US MSM, and Thomas Sowell in a previous post here also explains it in terms of the “annointed” as well in other books.

    This progressive surreality is not a new phenomenon, humanity has been cursed by these intellectuals since the times of Plato, the primary source of their worldview.

    And the tragedy is that they don’t seem to learn from their mistakes, so Australians can look forward to more of the same – more flooding in QLD, etc.

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  • #
    Percival Snodgrass

    “pat” (20), I have sent a complaint to radio 2ue regarding this global warming FANATIC announcer “mark kennedy”.

    I suggest that others do the same.

    Remember what happen to Steve Price who used to be on radio 2ue?
    He was asked to leave/sacked for his RADICAL LEFTIST views………..

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  • #

    This recession was preceded by decade and a half of good times. In those circumstances, politicians cannot promise the voter that good times will result if they vote for them so they fall back on an older strategy; they promise to save the voter from something. Anything will do really as long as it is of concern to the voter.

    Global Warming fitted the bill quite nicely. As the scary scenarios came out, the politicians took note of the Alarmists, who then obligingly produced even scarier ones. A feedback loop. The Alarmists got lots of money for research and the politicians picked up lots of votes. The amount of first rate scientists producing the IPCC reports declined but the amount of propagandists increased.

    The recession put paid to that particular strategy. The voter has real concerns now and they centre about basics; jobs and money. The politicians have adjusted their selling strategy in response. Add in the decline in the credibility of science due to Climategate et al, and you can see why the politicians have already jumped off the bandwagon. The climate power brokers were always the politicians and the scientists were always just their means to power.

    Pointman

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  • #

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TWT POLITICIAN, TWT POLITICIAN. TWT POLITICIAN said: Science played by politicians « JoNova: Science played by politicians. When an expert on small mammals announces… http://bit.ly/ec47Zu [...]

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  • #
    John Brookes

    The same applies to the heart breaking story that relayed in one of Andrew Bolts pieces (see here and further here) about the engineer in Toowoomba who wanted larger pipes installed in the town’s creek when landscaping works were underway. Sadly he was overruled by “architects” and “landscapers” on the council.

    The council, probably encouraged by developers, people hoping to sell land for a good price, people wanting affordable housing, and people who favour economic development and expansion (e.g. business owners in town), allowed environmentally unwise development decisions. If you listen to the bloke who tells you the pipes aren’t big enough, then you’ll have to listen to the guy who tells you that you shouldn’t build houses there. Where do you stop? It comes down to a cost versus risk argument.

    At this point, you may well be feeling indignant, after all, peoples lives were lost. But we make cost versus risk judgments that cost lives all the time. Look at our roads. An awful lot of people die or are seriously injured in traffic accidents, yet we still drive. Right now the technology exists for cars approaching an obstacle to brake automatically. In Australia, we could probably save more than the number of lives lost in these floods by insisting that all vehicles be fitted with this technology. But we don’t, because its too expensive. Its a cost versus risk thing. We do it all the time.

    So an engineer says that in his judgment, the risk is too great. The council decides not to follow his advice. They had a different judgment. With hindsight, you can stand up and say that they should have listened to the engineer. Hindsight is like that.

    It seems man (via “Flannery theory”) had a hand in that tragedy as well.

    Yes, its a disgrace isn’t it, how Tim Flannery pushed for the building of houses in an area vulnerable to flash flooding.

    ‘The great Wivenhoe flood of 2011!’

    Why the glee, scaper? Can’t contain yourself with delight at the prospect of pinning the blame on a few scapegoats? Still, scaper, if the name fits…

    “pat” (20), I have sent a complaint to radio 2ue regarding this global warming FANATIC announcer “mark kennedy”. I suggest that others do the same.

    Yeah sure. I’ll complain about Alan Jones being a fat gay right wing shit stirrer and see how I go.

    Prof Karoly said it was due to CO2.

    Yeah sure. He is so dumb that he has never heard of la nina. He has trouble tying his shoelaces. So why would you want to misquote someone so dumb?

    [John, are you alright? I'm worried about you.] ED

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  • #
    grayman

    I knew John Brookes was here somewhere by the thumbs down count. Yes i do agree that risk versus cost analylis has been around for a long time and has been used for a myriad of different things across the board, But flood plains are one thing and choosing to drive is apples to peanuts comparison. the Aussie councils saw tax dollars in their eyeballs and flood plain studys went out the window. Those flood plains have been known for as long that the areas in question have been settled, and Aus. history which is well recorded in pictures and words show that to be all to true. So YES there is a lot of blame to go around form the warmist lobby saying that drought is the new norm and the floods will never happen again to council that push aside the studys that show the dangers and developing any way. And sorry to say and no disrespect to the good people of Australia the home and biusness owners for not doing their homework about disaster in the areas they are settling in, and yes the developers for not pointing it out to them ahead of time who just like the councils saw dollar signs in their eyes and be damned about disasters. Just my humble opionion because the same problems go on here in the states as well, thinking about the mobey instead of the masses!

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    In the end the only truth in all this is that there was a flood. To misquote the hippies of yesteryear, “Floods happen!” It will probably escape those who most need to take notice, that the best course forward is to learn from the experience so they can be better prepared the next time floods threaten. Such is our human tragedy as it has played out for our whole existence.

    One gains points in the game of life by shooting off one’s mouth and pointing fingers, not by staying silent and getting the job done. Whether it’s government, civil service or the press, no one pays much attention to you if all you do is get your job right.

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  • #
    Percival Snodgrass

    Very Interesting article on Population growth.
    Something that is constantly drummed into us by Global Warming fanatics is that we cant feed all these people and their energy consumption will ruin the planet. The fact is World Population is slowing dramatically and birth rates are only really increasing in Africa. Western leaders know that birth rates are falling and are making up the difference by increasing immigration. Heavy Migration is creating an artificial population bomb in western countries.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/dominic-lawson/dominic-lawson-the-population-timebomb-is-a-myth-2186968.html

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    John Brookes correctly states,

    It comes down to a cost versus risk argument.

    And John, you are inarguably correct. But how do I make a cost versus risk analysis when there is no risk?

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  • #
    cementafriend

    Many do not know that Queensland has a Professional Engineers Act – the only state to have one in Australia. The PE Act requires that anyone providing an engineering service for and in the state of Queensland must be a registered engineer. Engineering service includes giving advice about design of buildings or infrastructure, supervision of construction, engineering processes and engineering data. The Act applies to the State. Engineering data would include rainfall, runoff, riverflows etc. Advice on stormwater pipes in Toowoomba would be an engineering service. The architect who advised on the stormwater pipes in Toowoomba would have breached the PE Act. The councillors and council officials in Toowoomba would have breached the Public Sector Ethics Act by condoning a breach of the PE Act.
    It is very likely that there have been many breaches of laws within the Queensland public sector over the Wivenhoe dam design, manual and operation.
    I would imagine that Tim Flannery has also breached the PE Act Queensland. It would be great to see him fined or even jailed but firstly Anna Bligh has to stand up and get rid of him and his fellow travellers from all committees and advisory boards.

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  • #
    cohenite

    Brooksie @28 disingenuously suggests that the QLD flood damage and casualties were a “cost versus risk argument”.

    That is not true; they were a truth vs honesty, commonsense vs unreality argument; when your predictions and anticipation and methods of dealing with natural crisis are determined by the fairy tale of AGW, then, at the very least, you are going to be hesitant and circumspect in reacting to reality.

    It is beyond doubt that errors in preparation, in respect of having Wivenhoe empty and not building more mitigation dams and levees, and response, delaying the release of water, not predicting a flood until it was happening, occurred because the scientific apparatus of the state has been contaminated by AGW ideology.

    John’s claims that building in floodplains are a recipe for disaster is also a loaded statement which, if taken to its ultimate extent, which is what a large proportion of Greens want to do, would mean that there would be no new expansion of infrastructure into ‘nature’.

    John’s utterances are typically schizophrenic; on the one hand he is saying that humans should not encroach into nature because nature will punish such temerity, yet, on the other hand he subscribes to the concept of AGW which is predicated on the idea that humans can determine the climate and dominate nature! So, which is it John; are humans slaves to nature or are we masters of our domain?

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  • #
    engineer

    I see the NSW government has begun running their technically fraudulent black balloon ads again – black balloons supposedly filled with “polluting” CO2.
    Since CO2 is clearly heavier than air (about 1.5 times heavier) those taxpayer funded TV ad showing the black balloons supposedly full of CO2 floating up into the atmosphere is scientifically impossible.
    Any balloon filled with CO2 would fall to the ground. Even a balloon filled with air falls to the ground as we all know.
    The blatant deception of blaming all climate events on CO2 is rife at all levels of government. It’s so heavily entrenched that they can’t even get their basic science right when they make their misleading ads. The deception is breathtaking.
    I’ll bet the agency that shot the ads knows this very well and would have had to fill the balloons with a gas as light as helium to get them to float upwards. Does anyone know who the agency is so we can get a comment from them?

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  • #

    the cost v risk argument assumes the risk is perfectly known and that the cost is perfectly known – its quite clear that both sides of this equation have been fiddled with in these cases.

    For instance:

    – hydrology reports being ‘ignored/buried’ (downplays the risk side)
    – dams meant to prevent floods probably being operated in a way that doesn’t reduce the risk
    – insurance policies excluding river floods (ups the cost side)

    So to the poor people caught by this flood; their cost/risk metrics were totally out of whack. So one could say this was an accident just waiting to happen.

    BTW Australia is not alone in this silliness – the UK also had a habit of building on flood plains.

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  • #

    BTW Australia is not alone in this silliness – the UK also had a habit of building on flood plains.

    Yes. Man is an irrational creature. In fact he’s done it throughout history. Yangste, Nile, Mekong, Euphrates, Jumma etc. Totally absurd when you think about it, agricultural people living in close proximity to fertile soils and water. Then of course there are those other silly people, the trading societies, who had the strange notion of living next to harbours and sea routes leaving themselves open to all manner of disasters from tempest, tide and tsunami. If the sensible option had been taken, people would have lived in the uplands and mountains and there wouldn’t be nearly as many of us. There would then also be no conflict with the greens over population levels and the “footprint” of civilisation; a win win situation.

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  • #
    Percival Snodgrass

    “engineer” (35).

    I have composed a list of the email addresses of NSW politicians.

    I SUGGEST THAT EVERYBODY START EMAILING THEM AND TELLING THEM HOW ANGRY YOU ARE WITH THEIR LIES!!

    SPREAD THIS AROUND!

    THE NSW ELECTION IS ON IN MARCH.
    KENEALLY AND HER BAND OF LABOR PARTY CRIMINALS HAVE TO GO!!

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  • #
    Lawrie

    engineer @ 35. I have tried several times to complain about this add including e-mailing the responsible minister directly. Absolutely no response. Should Labor lose their AGW “advantage” over the Coalition parties they would have nothing left. Julia is still talking climate change however I note that one of her more astute new members, Bill Shorten, is talking about adaptation rather than “stopping” climate change.

    As for people living on flood plains it makes perfect sense. As a farmer I know that alluvial flats are the most productive. I lived and farmed on one. Local knowledge contributes to building homes just out of flood reach. Of course larger than the biggest recorded will get you every time. Most settlements were built near stream crossing points simply because people have to have a reliable and handy dailywater supply.

    The problem in Brisbane appears to be the approval of housing in a flood prone area based on the premise that a flood mitigation dam would prevent a repeat of the 1974 event. The premise did not take into account the possibility of human error nor did it take into account that weather history would be ignored and replaced by the hypothesis of global warming and it’s predicted effects.

    The cry from Julia and Anna for insurance companies to be “generous” when assessing claims goes against every business rule and shows the business ineptitude of Labor politicians. Homeowners who are correctly insured will be paid and those who chose to take a risk will be wise after the fact. Should an enquiry find that human error or government dictate contributed to or exacerbated the flood I have no doubt that the uninsured will bay for Anna’s blood. The insurers who have paid out will simply sue the government for recompense. While most affected homeowners will rebuild where they are (history says this will be the case) few, wanting to move, will be able to redeem even a fraction of their properties previous worth. Smart investors will weigh the risks of a similar event being allowed to happen and buy cheaply.

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  • #
    Treeman

    Engineer@35
    Let Keneally fly the black balloons, they signify her demise at the polls The thing for NSW opposition to do is point this out to the voters!

    I can just see it now.

    1. NSW Labor consigned the gulag in March.

    2. Queensland Labor reeling from class actions over the Brisbane flood forced to go early in face of collapsing support.

    3. Gillard denied supply by three amigos and coalition. Can’t say why right now, why help them out of the hole!

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    Ken Stewart

    On Macca this morning Hugh Lunn was talking about the 1974 flood, and his interview with Archie Shield (Head of BOM Qld) in 1971 when he predicted Brisbane would be flooded. Mr Shield was adamant that whatever was built in, on, or near the river made the flood worse by slowing the water down; that “a full dam holds no water” (any extra water just overflows); and that floods will happen again no matter what we do. A very good listen!
    Ken

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    Bruce

    Here’s another UK columnist linking the Qld govt’s obsession with climate change being a contributing factor in causing the Brisbane floods.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100072049/did-australias-obsession-with-global-warming-contribute-to-the-brisbane-floods/

    Perhaps Anna Bligh can send a ” Please Explain” to her husband Bill Withers who is head of the Office of Climate Change and is the author of “ClimateSmart 2050″ which is referenced in the above link. The “Office of Climate Change” was created by Anna Bigh’s govt and her husband appointed CEO. Nah…that’s not nepotism.

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    Warren

    Ken@41,Mr Shield is quite right about floods being worsened by flood-plain development.This fact was recognised and remarked upon in the assessment of the Wivenhoe proposal made by the Co-ordinator General’s department in 1977.

    A full dam indeed holds no water for flood considerations…but Wivenhoe was not full.It had over 1400GL of flood buffer unoccupied when the big inflows began.

    Floods will happen again,and the Wivenhoe design assessment clearly stated that it would not prevent all flooding,but was likely to reduce a 1974 scale flood by a few metres if operated optimally.

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    @28 Me, gleeful you say?

    For your information I live 200 metres from Oxley Creek and 350 metres from the river so your ‘gleeful’ description is somewhat a deranged remark, due to the losses my neighbors and I suffered!

    I blame the dam operators for this man made flooding.

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    Bruce

    Correction to post #42.

    Anna Bligh’s husband in Greg Withers.

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    Mark Allinson

    Joe Bastardi makes a good point. Sure, warmer air can hold more water vapour, but what happens when that moisture-laden air cools?

    It’s called “precipitation”, just like when a full sponge is squeezed. As Joe says:

    “IT’S THE COOLING THAT IS SETTING ALL THIS OFF. If you want to blame warmth… you must refer to it in the past tense, because widespread cooling in the face of warming leads to clashes.”

    http://www.accuweather.com/ukie/bastardi-europe-blog.asp?partner=accuweather

    As Joe points out, the troposphere is cooling at a very rapid rate. The AMSU-A site shows that channel 5 (14,000 ft) is a whole 1.07 deg F. cooler than it was this time last year.

    No wonder it is raining everywhere!

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    John Brookes

    Mark Allinson@46:

    Why do people bother to come up with such arguments? As with all plausible arguments, the fundamental point is true. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, so when warm moist air cools, it rains.

    But the amount of moisture air can hold is not linear. A fall in temperature from 21C to 20C will release less water than a drop from 31C to 30C. So the warmer it is, the more rain there will be when it cools. Oh, and I’m pretty sure AGW doesn’t say that there won’t be plenty of short term rises and falls in temperature.

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    John Brookes

    Cohenite@34:

    John’s claims that building in floodplains are a recipe for disaster is also a loaded statement which, if taken to its ultimate extent, which is what a large proportion of Greens want to do, would mean that there would be no new expansion of infrastructure into ‘nature’.

    Exactly cohenite. I don’t mind building in areas which will occasionally be flooded. But when you do so, you make a cost vs risk analysis – whether you are conscious of it or not. I don’t subscribe to the greenie, “no development ever” rubbish.

    And Ed, you are right, I feel particularly grumpy.

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    Ian Mott

    The problem is not the fact that people have built houses in flood zones. The problem is the houses they have built are brick veneer on concrete slabs. The traditional “Queenslander” is on posts with the floor higher than the flood level. Most of the Rockhampton suburb of Depot Hill that saw most flooding is of this design and they all just sat back and watched it go up then watched it go back down again, as they have many times before.

    Those houses were also built of native hardwoods which handle getting wet much better than radiata pine and which do not go brittle over time like radiata. The switch to the use of “termite salad” in dwelling construction was also the result of a government decision to close down native forests under green pressure.

    In the past, whenever a house was found to be lower than a new flood peak the normal response was to jack the house up and put in higher posts. It often coincided with a “lift and shift” that allowed a large block to be split into two to fund the owner’s retirement. But that can’t be done with a concrete slab either.

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    David

    We in the UK are of course subjected to the warmistas’ claptrap on a daily basis – but I thought you might like this one.
    Down in deepest Kent is a very pleasant spot called Bodiam Castle – managed by the National Trust – a favourite weekend spot for families – nice tearoom, etc, etc. I was reading the informative panel overlooking the adjacent river – once used by commercial traffic – water level about five feet below the bank. All very interesting – until at the end, the writer had clearly lost his marbles: ‘Enjoy this river bank while you can; in fifty years time it will be under water due to climate change’..!!
    You couldn’t make it up…

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    Ken Stewart

    Ian Mott, John Brookes,Warren:
    Not just flood plain development, but also pontoons and jetties, bridges, renovating Queenslanders by enclosing under. Not many houses in Depot Hill are enclosed under.
    John, a dam that has released some of its 100% water will be able to hold more than a 145% or 190% dam. A dam will not prevent a flood, but it might decrease the height and increase the length a bit. Incidentally at Rocky the Fitzroy was flowing past at a rate of about 1 Sydharb a day- 1 Sydharb being a bit over 500,000 ML. So on Tuesday 11th the dam operators were releasing 1.2 Sydney Harbours, 1.2 x the Fitzroy flood.
    You will always get floods on a flood plain. That’s how they’re built. (A “1 in 100 year” flood depositing 1cm of silt- which isn’t anywhere near what some people got- in 1 million years will flatten, broaden, and also raise the floodplain by 10 metres.) Residents learn to adapt, prepare, and clean up.
    I’ll repeat my suggestion on a previous thread: mandatory flood maps in all real estate offices, and a bright purple mark on every power pole and building showing the height of previous floods. Then people will be reminded and not be complacent.
    Ken

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    Bruce

    Not addressed so far is a mismatch in building codes. The old Queenslander style built on stilts is good at weathering floods but not big cyclones, which can unfortunately lead to ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore’ moments. Now though you have to build what are basically block houses to weather cyclones but which sink beneath the waters when floods arrive. The logical idea of two story concrete block houses gives you the most ugly form of architecture known to man. I have no idea what the answer is, maybe Queenslanders built from steel plate?

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    Ken Stewart

    Bruce, that was an interesting article. Not many Queenslanders left in Mackay though! It is entirely possible to build an elevated house to full cyclone rating, many people do, but slab on ground is cheaper and easier so that’s the norm. We built our beach house in 1988 on (steel) stumps to catch the breeze and the view, fully cyclone rated (not necessarily cyclone proof of course). On a hill so no flood danger. We’ve since built in half of underneath with garage bathroom and laundry but breeze still flows through.
    So it is possible.
    Ken

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    brc

    @bruce/ken

    Years ago my cousin built a house on the river at Chelmer. It was designed for the lower floor to be submerged. No water-unsafe building materials, floor coverings or fittings. The thinking was that any brisbane flood appears with plenty of warning, so all furniture, soft furnishings get moved to the top floor, and the lot gets hosed out afterwards.

    One big step for the council to make is to change the codes so that lower floors in flood prone areas cannot have water-soluble building materials and water-affected infrastructure (gas bottles, electrical meters) must be fitted above the flood level. This would mean effectively no plasterboard downstairs and perhaps a change to steel framing on lower floors, plus electricity meters to be on the 2nd story – perhaps the meter readers would be required to carry ladders, or the box must be accessible via a verandah or landing. It’s the electricity that is the big problem at the moment.

    Whilst expensive for homeowners, if built-in at design time it would severely limit the amount of damage come flood-time. As the old timers tell me, if you had wood or fibro houses in 1974, all you needed to do is pull up the carpet and give the place a good hosing out. There were few chipboard kitchens and plasterboard in 74.

    Sounds crazy but it makes a lot more sense than trying to stop all coastal development due to sea level change – that’s what the government sees as the endgame in climate change.

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    In answer to those responding to what I said on building on flood plains by extension to the whole of history – for them the risk/reward made good sense and one can probably safely assume they were reasonably well informed or aware of established practice. Rather I would say in the case with Brisbane that the risk/reward was not clear to those purchasing.

    As for the UK, the same ‘ignoring’ of the evident flood risks for financial gain when building on flood plains has occurred there also. I’ve seen it happen when ‘locals’ have said it was down right madness.

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    John Brookes

    An interesting idea is for flood insurance to be built into council rates, or in some way be compulsory (yes, I know I’ve just lost the libertarians – go on, off you go and make some more margin notes in “Atlas Shrugged”). Developers, councils etc would then have to think twice about where they build, knowing that the people who end up buying the houses would consider the flood premium when buying, and hence pay less for flood prone housing (assuming the insurance companies price flood insurance appropriately). Land which can’t be insured can’t be developed.

    Imagine buying a house for $400,000, with annual flood insurance of $10,000. You would think twice.

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    I second the idea of flood insurance being built into the council rates. Or rather have it something that must be quoted clearly in the development or for sale details. That would drastically reduce the reward for developing in areas with too high a risk by passing it straight onto the buyer.

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    Ken Stewart

    If you’re with Suncorp, flood insurance IS compulsory.

    Ken

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    brc

    Somewhere prior I made a comment that a compulsory flood scheme could be attached to council rates in the same way third party personal coverage is supplied with vehicle registration. But I would take this further and say that all ‘disaster’ insurance could be covered this way. So add in cyclone, storm, tsunami and bushfire damage. The government would set the terms of the policy and set rules about claims processes, and then the insurers could compete to get the business. There would be something like the MAIC to oversee the process and help set premium and coverage levels in combination with the insurers and interest groups. If anywhere was too risky it would be excluded from development. I would see it as everyone paying the same premium, based on a rough formula of perhaps bedrooms or roof area into maybe 2-3 bands. At first bite it sounds outrageous, but then we all pay the same TPP coverage for our car, whether we’re 50 years with no accident or freshly minted P-plater.

    Normally I’d side with libertarians and scowl at anything collectivist, but insurance is one of those cases where the collective burden makes for a better society through lower individual costs of insurance. All being equal, the larger the premium pool, the lower the cost for individuals. It makes no sense to say ‘no building in flood zones ever’ because you’d have to, by the same logic, say ‘no building in cyclone zones ever’, or ‘no building in forests ever’. Clearly there has to be a balance and full disclosure of risks by councils and developers, but BANANA politics is no good when you’re trying to house people and build industry.

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    Ian Mott

    Sorry guys, I don’t agree. Brisbane has an excellent flood insurance scheme. It is called Wivenhoe Dam and when it is operated competently it can do the job cheaper and with much lower premiums than any insurance scam can ever do. Indeed, Queenslanders have already paid their premiums on the policy but got no delivery. And the owners of the “insurance scheme”, the local councils, are about to pay a massive payout for their failure to deliver a service they had undertaken to provide but chose not to.

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    Percival Snodgrass

    “David” (50), you should have sprayed GRAFFITI all over the BS SIGN!

    Evey bit of protest against this global warming FRAUD helps!

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    cabat10

    Summed up nicely by Miranda Devine, The Sunday Telegraph, NSW on 23 Jan.

    Link to full story.

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    Tim

    Latest Queensland floods almost reached the levels of 1841 eh?

    Must have been some secret factory emitting huge levels of Co2 around then.

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