Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding

A landmark report exploring coastal flooding: the sleeping giant of climate change risks.

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SIX KEY FINDINGS

  1. Sea level has already risen and continues to rise due to climate change. Climate change exacerbates coastal flooding from a storm surge as the storm rides on higher sea levels.
  2. Australia is highly vulnerable to increasing coastal flooding because our cities, towns and critical infrastructure are mainly located on the coast. Australia’s infrastructure has been built for the climate of the 20th century and is unprepared for rising sea level.
  3. Coastal flooding is a sleeping giant. If the threat of sea level rise is ignored, the projected increases in economic damage caused by coastal flooding are massive.
  4. Rising sea levels pose risks for many of Australia’s species and iconic natural places, such as Kakadu National Park and the Great Barrier Reef.
  5. Rising sea level is eroding the viability of coastal communities on islands in the Torres Strait and the Pacific, and in low-lying areas of Asia, increasing the likelihood of migration and resettlement.
  6. We need deep and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions this decade and beyond if we are to avoid the most serious risks from rising sea levels and coastal flooding.

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