Climate workshop hears Peninsula has hotter summers

The summer temperature on the Woy Woy Peninsula has increased at twice the rate (four per cent) of the rest of the Central Coast over the last 10 years.
This was one of the facts mentioned by Central Coast Council officer Dr Anumitra Mirti as she addressed the climate change draft policy public meeting at Ettalong on February 21.
A four per cent increase on a temperature of 22 degrees would be almost 0.9 of a degree
Dr Mirti told Peninsula News a report to council on March 25 would further expand on the temperature rises.
About 150 people attended the briefing about the draft policy, which was based on a prediction that little reduction would be achieved in the rate of climate change.
In her introduction, Dr Mirti made four points.

  1. The issue of climate change was a local issue, as well as a state and federal issue.
  2. The policy was a draft and was not yet adopted.
  3. It did not impose planned retreat. That was merely one option of adaptation.
  4. The policy would not affect insurance premiums or property values. Rather, it would work as a framework, a knowledge base that was place-based to help people understand risks.

Dr Mirti and her colleague Mr Peter Ham gave an overview of the six themes of the draft policy: biodiversity, corporate responsibility, urban disaster management, coastal hazards, property and services, and general.
The public was then asked for feedback and questions.
Attendees were given coloured dots to put on 22 council policy statements written up on large posters stuck around the room to show their support or disapproval.
At the end of the process, the dots showed the overwhelming response was agreement with council’s direction – except for one statement about planned retreat, but even that one received slightly more support than not.
One common complaint was that people felt they didn’t know enough detail, but they were told that this was a policy statement. The detail would come with the action plan.
Council staff summed up some of those details that people wrote up on the notes they stuck on the posters.
For Biodiversity; people wanted more trees, better tree retention, a draft tree development control plan, attention to urban heat and action to stop seismic testing on the water.
For Corporate Responsibility, they wanted more ambitious targets on emissions than State and Federal Government targets; they wanted landfill alternatives, action to stop a proposed Wallarah 2 coal mine in the north of the Coast and they called for other levels of government to do their bit.
Under Disaster Management and Coastal Hazards people said they wanted a good understanding of flooding and water and didn’t want development and planning decisions to make more problems; trees came up again as a way of managing heat and water; and they wanted to see shared responsibility for planning in advance of disasters.
Under the heading of General; people wanted food security to be addressed as well as vulnerable communities, transport, liveability and shady environments.
In Property and Services, they talked about waste management, natural asset protection and trees again came up. They wanted the principles of the Development Control Plan kept and they wanted council to start now on things such as improved drainage and kerb and guttering.
The comment on kerb and guttering got the biggest roar of the evening from the crowd.
The issue of sea level rise and adaption won the popularity poll for the evening but the dots showed 55 per cent supported the proposed policy direction.
It would “review and update the sea level rise planning levels and coastal hazards based on Representative Concentration Pathway Scenarios 8.5 and latest scientific research adopted by the Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change for planning coastal areas and developing appropriate plans and strategies that recognise the long-term need to protect, redesign, rebuild, elevate, relocate or retreat as sea level rises”.
This scenario assumed no greater effort than now would be put into reducing climate change.
The effort to curb emissions would remain low.
Temperature and seal level rises and extreme weather would continue to increase as a result.
This would require the council to adapt to a high level of climate change.
Some commented that this was pessimistic and people needed to be encouraged to lower emissions.
Council director Mr Scott Cox told the meeting that a report would be prepared for the council to consider in June or July.
The night ended with a comment from one of the few young people who attended the event.
The young woman was responding to a comment about climate change.
“For you, growing up, maybe it was nothing. But for me growing up, it is a weekly thing,’’ she said to loud clapping.

Ettalong Workshop, 27 Feb 2019
Draft Climate Change Strategy, Central Coast Council

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