Climate fix sought
TOWNSVILLE Mayor Jenny Hill is unwilling to declare a climate emergency after scientific modelling predicted several of the city’s suburbs to be inundated by 2100.
Concerned about modelling on the Coastal Risk Australia website showing that melting glaciers and ice sheets could make the sea level rise by 0.84m by 2100, a climate expert warned last week that future generations and local councils would pay the price.
Cquniversity Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography in the Research Division Steve Turton urged Townsville City Council to follow Noosa Shire Council’s lead in declaring a climate emergency “to bring their residents on board to prepare for a very different future”.
Well aware of the threat posed by climate change, Ms Hill wasn’t prepared to make an emergency declaration, saying it would be “superfluous”.
Ms Hill said the right way forward was to concentrate on practical solutions relating to the building designs and the council’s vision for a renewable energy-driven future.
Much like how building requirements changed after cyclones devastated Australia, she wanted to see building code legislation adapted in line with the changing climate.
Instead of having homes built on pads, which concentrated the flow of floodwaters, she suggested we embrace the approach of the city’s forefathers by building houses on stilts.
The mayor disagreed with the assertion that councils would carry the financial burden of a retreat from the coast, saying coastal inundation would be a nationwide problem for the federal government to address.
Ms Hill said Townsville could be part of the emissions-reduction solution by harnessing the new energy economy.
“If we’re going to make a real dent in carbon dioxide emissions, we need to invest in new technology to run manufacturing,” Ms Hill said.
“As a city, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of new energies such as solar and hydrogen, thanks to the development of the Lansdown Eco-industrial Precinct.
“We can bring manufacturing jobs into the area with renewable energy production,” she said.
A fortnight ago, the Lansdown EcoIndustrial Precinct had its first development application approved by TCC with Edify Energy’s proposed 1GW green hydrogen production plant as well as a behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic and battery storage facility at the precinct.
As part of the Townsville City Deal, the federal government has pledged $12m to match the state government’s funding for the Lansdown Eco-industrial Precinct.