The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale, has questioned the wisdom of the upgrades to Taro airstrip and Seghe airstrip to have sealed runways and lighting.
While appreciating the gesture by NZ and Australia in underwriting these upgrades, Hon. Wale questions whether the effects of climate change and sea level rise have been factored into these decisions.
Hon. Wale said, further to the human induced climate change and sea level rise, a recent report by NASA on the moon’s wobble forecasts further increased pressure on sea levels.
NASA reported that in the mid-2030s coastal locations will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change.
The report states that high tides will exceed known flooding thresholds, and the floods will sometimes occur in clusters lasting a month or longer, depending on the positions of the Moon relative to the Earth and Sun. Low lying areas near sea level are already at risk and suffering from increased flooding, and it will only get worse, NASA said.
Hon. Wale said, already Taro and Seghe, among other airstrips throughout the country are barely above sea level.
“These airstrips will be severely affected by sea level rise due to climate change. The Moon’s wobble will make it worse and seal the fate of these low lying airstrips, as early as the next decade. NZ and Australia have combined with the SIG to fund upgrades for these two airstrips at a cost of SBD230M,” said the Opposition Leader.
Hon. Wale calls on the government to clarify if these risks were considered in the technical assessments of the projects, and to outline what those findings and recommendations are.
Hon. Wale further calls on the government to ensure the all development proposals and projects are properly assessed for climate change and sea level rise risks to ensure the longevity of the infrastructures.