Climate change challenge for coastal communities

Published 5 May 2008

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion will be two of the major topics addressed at the Second Regional Forum on Climate Change and Coastal Communities, to be hosted by Southern Cross University in July.

The forum is being organised by the University’s Centre for Regional Climate Change Studies and the School of Environmental Science and Management, and follows on from a forum held in 2005.

Organiser Associate Professor Graham Jones said while progress had been made in some areas since the initial forum, there were many challenges facing the Mid North and North Coast regions.

“We can expect the sea level to rise by at least one metre over the next 90 years and in some places that will have quite a substantial impact. If there’s a one-metre rise, this can produce inundation of about 100 metres,” Professor Jones said.

“This has major implications for planning of coastal developments.”

Professor Jones said the Climate Change Forum, titled ‘Adaptation to and mitigation of climate change in the Northern Rivers NSW region’, was open to all members of the community as well as local government representatives, builders, developers, planners and people in the agricultural and horticultural industries.

People from the Coffs Harbour region north to the Queensland border are being invited to attend.

Speakers include Dr John Hunter, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at the University of Tasmania, who will provide an overview of the impact of sea level rise on the northern NSW coastline, and Professor Rodger Tomlinson, from Griffith University’s National Centre for Climate Change Adaptation, who will talk about coastal erosion and the coastal planning that will be required over the next century.

“We will also have updates on the progress being made to achieve sustainable water resources, agriculture and horticulture in our region and how we need to achieve sustainable settlements. Recent progress on climate-related issues at the local government level will also be covered,” Professor Jones said.

The first day of the forum will be open to all members of the community. On the second day workshops will be open to invited professionals and community leaders to look at the priorities for the region for the next three years. A trade display will also be included as part of the forum, where industries can highlight climate adaptation and mitigation innovations.

Anyone interested in participating in the Climate Change Forum should contact the Centre for Regional Climate Change Studies on 66203650, email graham.jones@scu.edu.au or visit the website scu.edu.au/environment-science-engineering/

The forum will be held at the Whitebrook Theatre, Lismore campus, on July 3 and 4.

Photo: Associate Professor Graham Jones.

Media contact: Brigid Veale, Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.