An Australian environmental group is calling on the government to “take immediate action” to address the threat posed by rising sea levels and the impacts of climate change.
Australia’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has been given the task of managing the country’s coastal defences, and it is being given the green light to put up barriers along the countrys most heavily populated coastline.
An EPA spokesperson told the ABC on Friday that the agency was looking into the issue and had received “significant feedback”.
The spokesperson said the agency “has received substantial feedback” from Australians, including some that were concerned about the risks of the barrier wall.
The EPA has been asked to consider the feedback and will decide whether it is appropriate to place barriers along Australia’s coastlines, according to a report by the organisation’s climate change committee.
In the first of a series of reports on climate change and the Great Australian Barrier Reef, the committee said barriers were needed “to protect the environment and the people and infrastructure around the Great Australia Barrier Reef”.
“There is a strong case for building barriers to protect our coastline from rising sea level,” the committee’s report said.
“However, barriers are only part of the solution.
We need to build a more effective, cost-effective and resilient strategy to address climate change, as well as develop a holistic approach to managing climate change across Australia.”
Australia is the world’s sixth-largest economy and is home to some of the worlds largest natural reserves, including the Great Basin, the Great Sand Sea and the Murray-Darling Basin.
There are some 1,000 kilometres of barrier walls along the Great Northern and Great Southern coasts, but the majority are built in the south.
According to the EPA, the barrier walls have been “replaced by sand dunes, mangroves and coral reefs to increase erosion risk, which has resulted in significant impacts on marine life”.
While the Great Great Barrier is a protected area, the EPA said its coastal defences were already under threat from climate change in the northern Great Barrier, which is home a number of coastal towns.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to build more barriers along his countrys coastlines in an effort to stop sea level rise.
Climate change has also affected the Great Lakes, which have experienced record-breaking temperatures in recent years, and the South China Sea.
This year, a large wave washed away a bridge on the Great Lake, leaving a trail of destruction across the lake’s banks, which had been constructed over centuries to protect the shoreline.