Sir Tipene O’Regan.
from a National Business Review article of 1 September posted on Facebook:
“Sir Tipene rails against madness of Christchurch sea rise plan” by Chris Hutching
Resentment is growing among property owners in Christchurch and residents are organising themselves since the council announced it would tag 18,000 coastal properties with warnings of inundation from rising sea levels, severely depressing land values without good cause.
You might wonder why predicting rising sea levels might have been unexpected. After all, the whole world expects the sea to rise because we refuse to stop burning hydrocarbons.
Well, when you examine the actual evidence for rising seas, you find anomalies. The IPCC concluded in its latest report, AR5 (2013), that anthropogenic warming of the atmosphere (and thus the sea) would probably cause the sea to rise (by thermal expansion) about 450 mm by the year 2100. This is in the medium range of ‘scenarios’ offered by the IPCC, neither low nor high. The AR5 concluded the “likely” range for sea level rise by 2100 would be between 450 mm and 600 mm. So that is a reasonable amount to be expected, but the IPCC went a little further:
The basis for higher projections of global mean sea level rise in the 21st century has been considered and it has been concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to evaluate the probability of specific levels above the assessed likely range. Many semi-empirical model projections of global mean sea level rise are higher than process-based model projections (up to about twice as large), but there is no consensus in the scientific community about their reliability and there is thus low confidence in their projections.
So whence comes this projection of one metre of sea-level rise? From the most extreme of the imagined scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The highest is called RCP8.5, which stands for a global level of radiative forcing of 8.5 W/m2 by 2100.
IPCC flunkeys usurp good guidance for Christchurch
The mean sea level rise under RCP8.5 is about 740 mm by 2100. But, you say, the Christchurch council has picked a figure 50% higher even than that! Why? Because that 1000 mm is the very highest guesswork that could possibly occur under RCP8.5.
None of these “calculations” are based on observations, but only on unverified computer models. Nobody knows, and cannot know until the time comes, whether these models are accurate, yet we are expected to believe them and sacrifice, in the case of Christchurch coastal properties, our personal fortunes on the expectation that the models are correct.
This is not science, this is scaremongering. On what basis has the council chosen the most extreme end of the most extreme emission scenario?
Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch, claims the Christchurch earthquake gave us “50 years of climate change in a few minutes” to reinforce the one metre sea level narrative. The use of the earthquake tragedy as a climate change propaganda tool is despicable.
Here’s how the NBR described Sir Tipene O’Regan’s attack on the council’s reasoning.
Sir Tipene O’Regan is adding his voice to the chorus of protest against Christchurch City Council’s proposed restrictions on properties now deemed at risk of flooding from climate change.
Worst-case UN fantasy dooms foreshore properties
Sir Tipene lives at South Shore, one of the areas where council staff have tagged land titles, restricting existing rights to develop properties and laying them open to increased insurance and potential devaluation.
“What I find most offensive is their intellectual dishonesty. If they really believe in these projections, then they should be prohibiting all building in Christchurch and moving the whole place to West Melton (a small town to the west of Christchurch), or the Canterbury foothills.
“But they’re not. They’re building stuff all over the place that would be compromised if you accepted their theory. Why rebuild Christchurch at all if you believe this plan is valid?”
Abuse of power
Sir Tipene also says it is an abuse of power to speed up the passage of the district plan under the provisions of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act, forbidding appeals except on points of law.
“This whole thing should be done on a national basis, not left to individual councils to decide.”
It was ironic that the earthquakes actually raised the level of the land where the O’Regan’s live by about one third of a metre (other areas at the neck of the South Shore spit fell).
“In that respect we now find ourselves on a little island surrounded by a sea of doom. That gives us another 130 years rather than the 100 years estimated by the council’s Tonkin & Taylor engineering report. All of the assumptions in the report fail to consider what might happen to the level of the land.”
Better a doormat than test the evidence?
“Pegasus Bay is built up from the sediment coming from the mountains down the Waimakariri, Ashley, Waiau, Hurunui and Clarence rivers,” said Sir Tipene. “It’s extraordinary they can talk about erosion without talking about that build-up. Wellington wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for the 1855 earthquake, which raised the place up.
“Nor have they considered mitigation, although they seem to accept it for the suburb of Sumner across from the South Shore spit where there is a man-made sea wall. It’s another indicator of the Christchurch class war.
“It’s a real indictment of the level of intelligence we’ve come to expect. These people are interviewing their keyboards. And you’d have to ask if the decision makers around the council table have even read these reports. [Cabinet minister Gerry] Brownlee and his minders have to say ‘slow down’ and look at this again.”
It’s hard not to agree.