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sea_level_risingSea levels are expected to rise, but many people in Australia’s most vulnerable coastal communities don’t think they are at serious risk: study.

People living on the coast are concerned about climate change, but are confident they will adapt to rising seas, temperatures and more frequent storms, University of Adelaide PhD researcher Christopher Button says.

Mr Button surveyed communities on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia and also Rockingham, a seaside resort south of Perth, which are both non-metropolitan areas with low-lying shorelines and houses built very close to the beaches.

“Most residents of these areas accept that climate change is real, but for various reasons are not too worried about how it will impact on them,” Mr Button says in a statement.

“This could be misplaced optimism, particularly if we are talking about the long-term impacts of climate change on Australia’s coastline.

“If we plan to avoid new developments in the most vulnerable coastal communities, and develop strategies for people most at risk to relocate from the coast, there would be less upheaval down the track.”

A 2009 report by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency predicts that a sea level rise of about 1.1 metre by 2100 would erode up to 100 metres of shoreline, with many coastal dwellers beginning to feel the effects from 2030 onwards.

The report estimates up to $63 billion of existing residential buildings, or about 247,000 houses, are at risk of inundation from a 1.1 metre sea-level rise.

© 2010 AAP www.domain.com.au

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