It’s just another day on the road back to reality.
The New South Wales state government in Australia has announced it will tell its local councils that not only are they not bound by the IPCC sea-level predictions, they must do their own research on their own beaches. It’s the polite way of saying that no one believes the IPCC predictions anymore, worse, that they are so sure the IPCC is wrong that councils have to get different advice. For the IPCC it’s just one more signpost on the path to oblivion.
The NSW government will order councils to study the scientific evidence for sea-level rise on a beach-by-beach basis, amid fears that many local authorities may be undermining property values by imposing punitive planning conditions based on predictions contained in reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
IPCC credibility has crumbled in so many ways. People were suffering real pain — properties near the ocean in some councils were being denied the approvals to renovate or expand, and their values had fallen. Owners were locked into properties they couldn’t improve and couldn’t sell. The NSW state government told councils last year they didn’t have to follow the IPCC recommendations, but some still did. Now they are telling the councils “to adopt a commonsense approach to sea-level rises based in part on the science of what is actually happening in each location.”
“Councils which fail to respond to their communities can ultimately be held accountable by their residents/electors.”
One resident and elector who is outraged by the Great Lakes Council is Beverley Harbutt, whose home is on absolute beachfront at Boomerang Beach.
Ms Harbutt said she had been facing increasing financial pressures due to a marital break-up some years ago and had been forced to move in with her son Mark and his partner and put the house out to holiday rental.
She has tried for several years to sell the house, but prospective buyers lost interest when they found out the local council had designated it as subject to coastal hazard from rising sea levels, and had imposed severe planning restrictions, she said.
“It’s wearing on the soul, on the mind, and on the pocket,” she said.
Mark Harbutt said council policy had debased his mother’s place by $1 million. The house had been valued at $2.7m and the best offer coming in now was only $1.5m.
The real commonsense approach would have been to say that councils have no business telling people they can’t extend their own home on their own property in the first place (assuming the extensions are safe and not be too big an imposition on the neighbors). Owners and investors should be able to decide for themselves if they want to take the risk the sea will rise dramatically. Al Gore and Tim Flannery don’t seem to be selling up to move to higher ground.
This would be a true free market solution — where smart investors who were not fooled by b-grade science reports could step in to buy beachfront properties that gullible patsies were selling.
Where are those advocates of a “free market solution” now?
The whole story is at The Australian (paywalled).
A special mention here goes to Paul E who helped the Mosman Council get a better grip on sea level projections. That council also deserve kudos for rejecting the CSIRO predictions too. From September 2013:
RESEARCH that suggests Mosman properties could be at risk from a one metre rise in sea level by 2100 has been rejected by the council.
The prediction by CSIRO scientists was scrapped by councillors as a planning benchmark.
They said it would cause property prices to plummet by hundreds of thousands of dollars and send insurance premiums up.
“Property values would drop by up to 40 per cent,” Deputy Mayor Roy Bendall said. He also questioned the accuracy of the expert recommendation, citing a Manly Hydraulics Laboratory report indicating Sydney Harbour rising was at less than 0.9mm a year.
“The climate change industry at times justifies its existence by engaging in what can only be described as hysterical scenarios, predicting we will all be underwater or dying of thirst, with little concern for the consequences,” he said.Cr Simon Menzies agreed, saying the predictions were “hysterical” and “over the top”.