A Sydney council has rejected claims it is not doing enough to safeguard Bondi Beach, the mayor arguing it is ''ahead of the game'' on environmental responsibility.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found sea levels could rise by up to 80 centimetres by 2100, which would reduce the beach to a thin ribbon of sand.
Separate research contained in a 2011 report commissioned by the council also showed Bondi Beach could recede by 20 metres by 2050 and 45 metres by 2100.
Fun in the sun: The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found sea levels could rise by 80 centimetres. Photo: Dean Sewell
Greens MP David Shoebridge argued that Waverley Council is not doing enough to safeguard the beach but mayor Sally Betts said that was unfair.
''We've done risk assessments of all our cliffs and beaches, changed development rules and conducted comprehensive community consultation … and, most importantly, we've made long-term plans to address environmental issues if they occur,'' she said. ''What more can we do?''
Cr Betts admits there is the potential for the sea level to rise but says council measurements have not indicated that Bondi Beach is receding. ''If, over time, we have to look at changing the sea walls then we will,'' she said. ''At the moment, it's not an issue.''
Insufficient: Greens MP David Shoebridge, arguing that Waverley Council has not done enough to protect the beach. Photo: Supplied
Fellow Liberal councillor and chairman of the council's environmental sustainability advisory committee, Leon Goltsman, agreed.
''This is an issue close to my heart … [but] we ought to be more concerned about the things affecting us immediately not in 100 years, such as antisocial behaviour and drink-driving,'' he said.
However, this view is not shared by all Waverley councillors.
While agreeing that some of the IPCC forecasts may be overestimates, Labor councillor John Wakefield said Cr Betts had not done enough to protect the environment during her time as mayor.
''A responsible mayor with vision would plan for the worst-case scenario and the probable scenario,'' he said. ''From these scenarios, an action plan will emerge … She may not be a climate change sceptic but the next question is 'then why don't you take any action?'''
After the release of the IPCC report, Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said councils must not delay the fight against global warming.
"This is the biggest challenge of our time, which is why the city has already stepped up to take urgent action,'' she said.