Brisbane’s Man-Made Flood
A couple of years ago we posted on the Victorian bush fires, presenting the argument that they were far worse and more deadly because of loony Greenist orthodoxy which had made preventative bush burn offs illegal. You can’t put all that carbon dioxide into the air–why, not only does it destroy the “natural” bush, it also contributes to global warming. Carbon-sinks must be maintained at all costs. The build up of combustible material made the bush fires far more severe as a result, leading to tragic loss of life and untold cost. To this day it remains the most-read post on Contra Celsum.
Now comes another in the genre. Queensland floods, it is argued, have been far, far worse because of–you guessed it–Greenist orthodoxy. Global warming means that drought is the real threat. In Queensland this has meant at least two things: the risks of flooding have been discounted when it comes to town planning and construction. Secondly, conserving water even to the point of danger has become a governmental fetish.
Christopher Booker describes how it has unfolded in an article in The Telegraph:
What was the role of warmists in the Queensland flood disaster?
Australia was told to prepare for droughts as a result of climate change, and let down its guard against flooding, writes Christopher BookerIndustrial flotsam forms a deadly logjam in the Brisbane River Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
By Christopher Booker 7:29PM GMT 15 Jan 2011Ever more alarming facts are emerging to show how Brisbane’s floods were made infinitely worse by cockeyed decisions inspired by the obsession of the Australian authorities with global warming. Inevitably, the country’s warmist lobby has been voluble in claiming that such a “freak weather event” (as the BBC called it) is a consequence of man-made climate change. But far from being an unprecedented “freak event”, the latest flood was nearly a foot below the level of one in 1974 and 10 feet below the record set in 1893.For years, Australia’s warmists have been advising the authorities that the danger posed to the country by global warming is not floods but droughts: not too much rain but too little. One result, in Brisbane, was a relaxation of planning rules, to allow building on areas vulnerable to flooding in the past. As long ago as 1999, this was seen as potentially disastrous by an expert Brisbane River Flood Study (which was ignored and for years kept secret). Instead of investing in its flood defences, Australia spent $13 billion on desalination plants. (Queensland’s was recently mothballed because of the excess of rain.)Last week’s most disturbing revelation, however, was the contribution to Brisbane’s flooding by the South East Queensland Water company’s massive release of water from its Wivenhoe dam upstream from the city (for details see “Brisbane’s Man-Made Flood Peak” on the Regionalstates blog). Instead of controlled releases through the previous week, the company allowed the level to rise to within a few inches of the top of the dam before releasing a vast volume of water, with devastating consequences for Brisbane 36 hours later.Last spring, Queensland’s prime minister, the drought- and warming-obsessed Anna Bligh, ordered the water company not to allow any releases from the dam because water was such a “precious resource” that none must be wasted.Unsurprisingly, on Friday, the city’s Lord Mayor asked for a full judicial review of what had happened. But it is time our Australian cousins carried out a very much more wide-ranging inquiry into all the other decisions made by their gullible politicians in recent years, under the spell of a pseudo-scientific ideology which now looks utterly discredited.