A new climate report is warning locations such as the Gold Coast and Brisbane Airport will be under water by the end of the century.

The report, called “The Critical Decade”, highlights the impact of global warming on homes, agriculture and tourism.

Suzy Wood reports.


On the banks of the Brisbane River, experts warned floods like we experienced last year could become regular events.

The Climate Commission’s latest report says more than 56,000 Queensland homes could go under water if sea levels continue to rise.

Tim Flannery, Climate Commission: “Decisions are going to have to be made about whether we try to secure those houses against climate impacts or retreat from the coast.”

Professor Flannery says sea levels are tipped to surge by up to one metre before the end of the century.

But it’s not only coastal residents who are under threat. Experts say the Great Barrier Reef, and the State’s $17.7 billion tourism industry, could be crippled.

Professor Lesley Hughes, Report Author: “Corals exist about one or two degrees away from catastrophe during the summer months and if sea temperatures rise by even one or two degrees more than the corals are used to, they bleach and they can die.”

Australia is the 15th largest carbon polluter in the world.

Professor Flannery has called on the Federal Government to double its planned reduction of emissions to 10 per cent before 2020.

But not everyone is convinced the drastic measures are needed.

Max Rheese, Australian Climate Science Coalition: “If that did happen, if the sea level rise did occur to the extent that they’re talking about, that would be alarming, but we don’t have any observational data to support that.”

The report was not all bad news for Queenslanders, the State got a tick of approval for its strong uptake of solar energy.

Professor Will Steffen, Report Author: “Queensland does have some very serious risks that are very real and the science is solid, but it has many opportunities too, so we’ve gotta get this balance right.”

The report and its findings are now in the hands of the State Government.

Suzy Wood, QUT News.