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Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Will the Greenhouse Effect make me Rich?

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald discusses the possible impact of probable sea-level rises (caused by apparent climate change that may be due to increasing C02 levels, the "greenhouse effect"). While I doubt many houses will actually be lost in NSW due to rising sea levels (after all, most a several metres above sea level, and would install sea walls rather than just let their foundations wash away), there is likely to be an impact on beach formation and disappearance.

This is actually of possible relevance to me as my parents own a 25 acre "hobby farm" on the inland shore of Lake Wallis on the NSW mid-north coast. The Lake is formed by a large sand bar running south more than 10 km from Forster. The southern end of this bar actually washed through in the early 1900s, so a rise in sea levels of 0.5-1.5 m could easily erode this barrier and open the Lake to the ocean. Eventually my parents farm could become prime ocean-front real estate due to Global Warming! Based on prices for nearby sea front house blocks, the value of my parents property would increase ten-fold if it became an ocean frontage and was sub-divided for housing. As the farm is on a hillside and has a fairly steep slope down to the lake front, sea level rises would not encroach far into their property.

Of course this is unlikely to happen for at least 50 years, so it would be of more interest to my children, assuming the farm stays in the family that long. I also think that if Global Warming does eventually cause sea levels to rise by up to 1.5m the general economic and social downside (think Bangladesh) is likely to swamp any potential benefits.

Enough Wealth

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