Australia was told to prepare for droughts as a result of climate change, and let down its guard against flooding.
Ever 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.