T3 to host Australian climate change scientist in meeting
Resilience group T3-TransitionTownThames is hosting one of Australasia’s leading climate change scientists on October 4.
Macquarie University professor Lesley Hughes will join the Transition Cafe via videolink from Sydney at 7pm at the Brew, Pollen St, Thames.
T3 spokesperson Mark Skelding said Hughes would be joining a discussion to help focus local thinking prior to upcoming Thames Coromandel District Council consultation workshops about coastal protection and sea-level rise strategies.
Hughes’ work on climate change issues had earned her a Nobel Prize, he said.
Hughes is also pro-vicechancellor of research and development, and has been a lead author on IPCC reports. Recently she has been the coauthor of a report Tracking Local Government Progress on Climate Change, an examination of how local government in Australia is responding to this challenge.
Skelding said the low lying nature of many of the Coromandel Peninsula’s residential areas, plus the high value of coastal property, meant the topic of climate change and sea level rise generated interest, concern and contention. The link between carbon emissions and climate change was at least as strong as that between smoking and cancer, he said.
‘‘Whilst no-one can say that a particular cigarette caused a cancer, scientists are noting that increasingly intense or frequent climate events around the world follow a pattern that suggests climate change is underway.’’
Skelding said Hughes pointed out that each IPCC report was conservative and already out-of-date.
‘‘Professor Hughes knows that to get 140 nations to agree on an assessment report is as political as it is scientific - each full stop is argued over 15 times. The longer we pussy-foot about the topic, the more people and communities will miss out, and the more costs will mount up.’’
Skelding said there were many questions and issues to raise with each other and with the local authority, and that the Transition Cafe would give food for thought.
Council is currently developing a district-wide coastal management strategy, covering topics such as coastal hazards, Maori values, recreation, and community assets and infrastructure.
Workshops will be held from October 10-18. See P8 for details.
Macquarie University Professor of Biology Lesley Hughes.