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Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Climate change, insurance and you

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Aslan Shand

Flood and fire are no strangers to either the Byron Shire or the Northern Rivers. As the dry conditions continue and the climate emergency news keeps rolling in, people are looking for ways to understand what is taking place and how to respond.

‘The Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released on 25 September, presents a disturbing assessment of the effects of climate change on the world’s coasts and oceans,’ said Barry Sammels, the Chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association (ACCA).

Risks for local government areas (LGA) across Australia have been categorised in the report Climate Change Risk to Australia’s Built Environment with analysis provided by Climate Risk Engines. The Byron Shire has been identified as, ‘Highly vulnerable to both forest fire and coastal inundation’ ranking 13th nationally for fire and 11th for inundation risk.

In a detailed story by the ABC (https://ab.co/2pkv6Ji) the content from the report has been used to create an interface that identifies the number of potentially uninsurable addresses, based on the risk that each suburb faces. They predict that there will be increasing insurance costs that will see ‘nearly 720,000 – or one in 20’ uninsurable addresses in Australia by the turn of the century.

The prediction is that uninsurable addresses in Byron Bay will rise to 6.4 per cent or 439 addresses by 2100. Mullumbimby is predicted to rise to 10.2 per cent, Brunswick Heads will be at 16.7 per cent, South Golden Beach will hit 54.5 percent and of New Brighton addresses it will be 78.3 per cent of addresses that will be uninsurable by 2100. This prediction is based on current addresses and doesn’t include potential land release in areas like the proposed rezoning of southern Mullumbimby that may be flood prone.

But this shouldn’t really be news considering the Climate Change Risks to Coastal Australia report from 2009 clearly identified that ‘a mid range sea-level rise of 0.5 metres in the 21st century, events that now happen every 10 years, would happen about every 10 days in 2100. The current 1-in-100 year event could occur several times a year…’

‘Up to $63 billion [in 2009] (replacement value) of existing residential buildings are potentially at risk of inundation from a 1.1 metre sea-level rise, with a lower and upper estimate of risk identified for between 157,000 and 247,600 individual buildings.’

Mr Sammels, Chair of the ACCA has said that the recent IPCC report represents a ‘wake-up call’ for all levels of government in Australia.

‘We are already seeing the effects of climate change in coastal areas in the form of widespread coastal erosion, more frequent and severe extreme weather events and more frequent inundation’.

The report warns that the current rate of annual sea level rise of 3.6mm is projected to increase to 15mm a year by 2100. It also warns that under a business-as-usual scenario, the sea level is projected to rise up to 1.1m over the next 80 years.

‘But there is currently no national plan to address these risks, which will impact on coastal communities and their residents all around Australia. The nation urgently needs a comprehensive plan to deal with the climate hazards that lie ahead, for the sake of coastal communities and the coastal environment, and to defend the extensive public and private infrastructure and assets that are at risk.’

Analysis strengths and weaknesses for individual suburbs and addresses is explained in the ABC article.

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  1. Some time ago there was a talk about creating side roads lines across the Byron Shire Shores.
    I wonder what happen to those discussions.

  2. Thanks for the update Aslan !! Seem to remember Al Gore and the UN also the national geographic predicting such sea level rises since the 1970s ..
    By the years 2000. Than again in 2013..
    Okay here is a Fact sydney harbour was one such
    Prediction for such sea level rises ..in 140 years
    Sydney harbour has had a rise of 0.0CM
    Thats Zero …so we can safely say will be fine !!
    And please dont forget it was the UN that predicted
    In the 70s that by 2000 we would be in a ice age ?
    Now they are predicting we are going to fry and die ?
    The so called scientist has not been settled the
    IPCC are only one of many organizations predicting doom and gloom…its all based on computer modeling..many more reputable scientists are predicting the complete opposite…

  3. Yet more climate/ global warming alarmism with the usual discredited IPCC predictions which never happen , Gore predicted the poles would melt in 2013 …hasn’t happened , still its a good earner for insurance companies with higher premiums, so why not cash in on the fear.

  4. We are so lucky to have such geniuses as Barrow and Anton in the Byron Shire where their expertise is so obviously wasted correcting all this nonsensical misinformation. I think they should both lobby the IPCC and those brainwashed scientists to give them the benefits of their vast knowledge and the insights gained by their own research. Mind you, that would mean using their own full names instead of anonymous pseudonyms.

    BTW gents, Gore was not a scientist.
    National Geographic is no more a scientific journal than The Echo (apologies Echo).
    And the sea level change at Fort Dennison is now 4.6mm/yr (1993-2011) after being 1.2mm/yr for the previous 128 years. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed? Or just reading too much real science?

    • Okay Einstein!! Could you please explain as to why
      The one and only LORD Tim Flannery absolutely
      Loved by the Greens endorsed by the ABC ..
      His tenure was short lived and for good reason
      Taxpayer funded scientist who made outrageous
      Global Warming predictions!! One such Flannery
      Prediction and there were many ! “Even if the world stopped using Fossil fuels immediately.
      It would take 1000 years for the planet to cool down” not One of his eco anxiety predictions
      Has come true !! And by the way M.Clarke, Gore
      Is 100% respected by the Alarmist worldwide..

  5. Barrow. What is it you want me to “please explain”?

    The substance of this article is that we are living with, and starting to see, the consequences of climate change…. These long-inhabited areas are becoming uninsurable based on the increased cost of claims associated with the increased magnitude of floods and coastal erosion, the increased number, size & intensity of bushfires. The level & frequency of damage has already increased. What don’t you understand about that? Or are all the insurance companies somehow part of this global conspiracy hoax too?

    You are the only person constantly referring to non-scientist Gore, but there are literally thousands of scientists now agreeing with much of Flannery’s work. You can keep mocking them based on your superior knowledge about everything, but it makes no sense to proclaim Flannery is wrong about the planet taking 1,000 years to cool when we’re still increasing our use of fossil fuels and it’s only been 15 years! Love your logic.

    And how much do you hate Sir David Attenborough too for voicing exactly the same fears for life on earth?


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