Friday, August 02, 2019

Climate Change: Wellington expects to go under

What will climate change do to our capital city? The Wellington City Council has updated its projections, ditching its optimistic 0.6m estimate for sea-level rise in favour of a more realistic 1.5m. And the result is devastating:

Wellington City Council has unofficially ditched an optimistic sea-level rise scenario in favour of one that could see much of the central city and low-lying suburbs under water.


Under the new scenario, also outlined in the 2013 report, areas in line for "inundation" include much of the area around Westpac stadium, swathes through the central city, as well as lower parts of Oriental Bay, Evans Bay, Kilbirnie, Shelly Bay, Seatoun, and the South Coast bays.

It will mean that without massive mitigation measures - as extreme as reclaiming Wellington harbour east of a line between Freyberg Pool and CentrePort - the Harbour Quays will be in the inundation zone. It is here Wellington's $6.4 billion Let's Get Wellington Moving has its preferred route for mass-transit.

The old best-case scenario was almost-entirely limited to areas immediately beside the sea.

Wellington will basicly return to its pre-colonial shoreline. WCC has an interactive map here, and if you plug in 1.5m, you can see that the Beehive is beachfront property, with the new shoreline running along Thorndon Quay, Lambton Quay and Wakefield St. Parliament, Te Papa, the National Archives and the Green Parrot, along with a huge number of government agencies and private businesses, will all have to relocate. $6.5 billion of property will be at risk, and 2,000 residents displaced. And that's just in Wellington. Petone, Waiwhetu, Makara, Pauatahanui, and Kapiti are all going to be underwater as well.

Fonterra and the fossil fuel industry like to talk about the cost of climate change action, but the cost of inaction is having to relocate the entire CBD of our capital city (and others as well). And that's simply too much to risk.