Climate change is warming the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Water expands as it warms. Average sea levels rose around 200mm last century - and it's accelerating.
OzCoasts has published maps showing impacts for areas including South-East Queensland for scenarios including 1.1 metres of further sea level rise. We will see this sort of rise or worse this century, unless urgent action is taken to cut greenhouse gases emissions hard and fast .
Some of the areas marked on these maps, of course, already experience flooding in storms. But higher sea levels will make flooding more severe and frequent.
Sports fields are often in lower lying areas because of flood risks that already exist and which will be made much worse if climate change keeps forcing sea level rise. The Gold Coast is no exception. On the ground and on the maps, here are some of the threatened sports fields:
- In Coomera, Hope Island golf course is affected with about a third of its area showing as inundated
- In Labrador, the oval on Ashton St is only just above inundation level. Dux Oval is marked as fully inundated with 1.1 metres sea level rise.
- In Southport, James Overell Park (home of the Gold Coast Eagles rugby union club) and the golf course at Jock Rutherford Park are affected
- At Carrara, the cricket grounds on Nielsens Road are only just above inundation level on OzCoasts map. The golf course, and the sports grounds at Gold Coast Croatia Sports Centre would be affected.
- In Robina, the Glades Golf Club and the Dolphins turf wicket ground on Cheltenham Drive would be affected.
- The ground at Christina Avenue, Burleigh Waters is only just above inundation level on OzCoasts map
- The Merv Craig Sporting Complex fields at Currumbin Waters show as inundated
along with the ground at St Augustine’s primary school.
- Salk Oval at Palm Beach shows on OzCoasts map for 1.1 metre sea level rise as inundated, as well as the nearby tennis courts and some of the adjacent sports field
- The cricket and other sports fields at Albert Park at Broadbeach Waters are only just above inundation level on Ozcoasts’ map for 1.1 metres sea level rise
Clearly this area has a strong need for urgent action. Gold Coast City Council has had climate change on its agenda since 1977! Responsible local representatives have recognised how much of a threat climate change presents to places like the Gold Coast.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for local Liberal/National Federal members.
- Fadden MP Stuart Robert noted publicly in 2009 that “we went to the last election with an emissions trading scheme”. But he lined up just the same in 2013 to vote with Tony Abbott and against the interests of his area, to put Australia’s climate action in reverse including abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
- Macpherson MP Karen Andrews surely must remember something about science – she started out as an engineer. But we can’t find her ever having referred to climate change in Parliament - at all. She’s talked about how the Gold Coast has a great climate (how perceptive!) - but not about threats to that climate. She lined up behind Tony Abbott and against climate action to protect her area and its people in 2013.
- Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo said on TV in 2009: “We want to work constructively because we recognise that in the future around the world in most developed economies if not all there will be an ETS of some sort”. But he, too, lined up with Tony Abbott in 2013 to vote against an Emissions Trading Scheme, and for abolishing the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Is pleasing Tony Abbott more important to these people than serving their area?