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ONE News: Who’s to blame for Queensland floods: Man or Nature?

Posted in Reflections On Science on January 19th, 2011.

Australian scientists Kevin Roche and Professor John McAneney explain why climate change does not explain the scale of damage caused by the recent floods in Queensland.

They point out that a key issue is that there are ever more people living in vulnerable areas – Brisbane, for example, is built on a floodplain – and argue that Australia needs risk-informed land planning policies to reduce the scale of future disasters.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“To what extent climate change is implicated in terms of the rainfall is a perfectly legitimate question, though not one easily answered.

“If we truly wish to reduce the scale of future disasters in Australia, we need risk-informed land planning policies with risks appropriately priced by an active insurance market.

“In simple terms, for flood and bushfire, this means an end to unmanaged development of flood plains or within bushlands.

“In the Black Saturday fires, studies by Risk Frontiers showed that 25% of the home destruction in the most affected towns of Marysville and Kinglake took place physically within bushlands; 60% occurred within 10 m of bushland boundaries.”

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