NSW Coastal Conference, Bateman’s Bay

Post by Kurt

The 19th NSW Coastal Conference “Coastal Management – all aboard, making it work!” was held from the 10 – 12 November 2010 at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, Batemans Bay and proudly hosted by Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Read the interesting news on our current Insurance against the Actions of the Sea!

Coastal management is a difficult policy issue for local Councils. Developing coastal communities sometimes raises conflicts between conserving the natural environment, promoting economic growth and adapting our coastal settlements to the anticipated impacts of sea level rise. The Coastal Conference brought together policy makers and professionals from different fields to exchange ideas on how best to meet these challenges. To view presentations and conference papers from this years conference visit www.coastalconference.com.
 
The Coastal Conference is a serious professional activity however individuals and groups from the wider community are encouraged to attend. John Asquith from Community Environmental Network provided a few words on the talk by the Insurance industry:- 

Insurance Against Climate Change?–the Insurance Council of Australia gave a keynote address, it is summarised as follows;
 
There are two aspects to climate change which impact the insurance industry, namely, increased frequency of extreme weather events and rising sea levels. Approximately 86% of claims relate to bushfire, storms, floods or cyclones, and the scale of these is increasing rapidly.
 
On extreme weather, several recent events caused total claims of over $4 billion in the past two years. This included the Victorian Bushfires and Perth Storms. This type of insurance has always been covered by the industry but flood insurance is relativley new in extent.
 
On Rising Sea levels, it was surprising to hear that the “Actions of the Sea” are not covered and have never been covered. Rising Sea Levels are an Action of the Sea and therefore are not covered. This is due to the International Reinsurance Standards that exclude Action of the Sea. Reinsurance is needed for Australian insurers to spread their risks out to the international insurance industry. Claims for flood damage are assessed and where there is doubt, the salinity of the water determines wheather it is a flood (which is covered) or Action of the Sea (which is not).

There is currently an inquiry by the Productivity Commission into insurance in a world impacted by accelerated Climate Change.

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Another of the keynote speakers at the Conference, Graeme Pearman, who has over 30 years of experience in climate change science and policy, broke down the barriers between the science and policy interface.

Pearman explored the position of the climate sceptics and deniers and their often unfounded view based on myth rather than fact. He used a powerful quote from Kennedy: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”.

Other presentations looked at a variety of topics including emergency management, community engagement and education, estuaries, ecological issues, coastal planning, coastal law, geomorphology, beach scraping, dredging, GIS tools and sand nourishment to name a few. 

Next year’s Coastal Conference will be held in the Tweed Shire during November 2011. For anyone interested in attending, the coastal conference website will be updated early next year with more details.

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