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Notice given 21 June 2007

*2  Senator Milne: To move—That—

(a) the Senate notes that:

(i) the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that:

( a ) the sea level would rise by between 0.18 metres to 0.59 metres by the end of the century and that these projections do not include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow because a basis in published literature was lacking,

( b ) there is medium confidence (that is a 50 per cent chance) that at least partial deglaciation of the Greenland ice sheet, and possibly the West Antarctic ice sheet, would occur over a period of time, ranging from centuries to millennia for a global average temperature increase of 1° to 4°C (relative to 1990-2000), causing a contribution to a rise in sea level of 4 to 6 metres or more, and

( c ) many millions more people are projected to be flooded every year due to a sea level rise by 2080 and the numbers affected will be largest in the mega-deltas of Asia and Africa, while small islands are especially vulnerable,

(ii) recent scientific research, published too late for inclusion in the IPCC reports, suggests that the sea level is rising more quickly than previously thought and many eminent climate scientists, including Dr James Hansen, Head of Atmospheric Research for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, warn that a warming of 2 o to 3 o C could melt the ice sheets of West Antarctica and parts of Greenland, resulting in a sea level rise of 5 metres within a century,

 

 (iii) assessing the impact of even a moderate rise in sea level in Australia remains inadequate for adaptation planning,

(iv) assessing the vulnerability of low coastal and estuarine regions requires not only mapping height above sea level but must take into account factors such as coastal morphology, susceptibility to long-shore erosion, near shore bathymetry and storm surge frequency,

(v) delaying analysis of the risk of the rise in sea level exacerbates the likelihood that such information may affect property values and investment through disclosure of increased hazards and possible reduced or more expensive insurance cover, and

(vi) an early response to the threat of rising sea levels may include avoiding investment in long-lived infrastructure in high risk areas; and

(b) the following matter be referred to the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee for inquiry and report by 3 December 2007:

An assessment of the risks associated with the rise in sea level in Australia, including an appraisal of:

(i) recent science relating to projections on the rise in sea level,

(ii) ecological, social and economic impacts for the full range of projections,

(iii) adaptation and mitigation strategies,

(iv) knowledge gaps and research needs, and

(v) options to communicate risks and vulnerabilities to the Australian community.

Orders of the Day

*1  Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—Standing Committee

Report to be presented on the provisions of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing and Datacasting) Bill 2007. ( Referred pursuant to Selection of Bills Committee report .)

*2  Employment, Workplace Relations and Education—Standing Committee

Report to be presented on the provisions of the Australian Technical Colleges (Flexibility in Achieving Australia’s Skills Needs) Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2007. ( Referred pursuant to Selection of Bills Committee report .)