Let’s Build a Hospital!

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, June 14th, 2018 - 19 comments
Categories: capitalism, Environment, global warming, science, sustainability - Tags:

A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.

A separate study warns that unless urgent action is taken in the next decade the melting ice could contribute more than 25cm to a total global sea level rise of more than a metre by 2070.This could lead eventually to the collapse of the entire west Antarctic ice sheet, and around 3.5m of sea-level rise.

(Here are the links to the two abstracts of the studies published in Nature – here and here – on the off chance you are able to access to the full articles)

So, now we’re looking at over 1m of sea level rise by 2070 and 3.5m of sea level rise by…well, the Guardian report doesn’t say. But NASA researchers have suggested a 3m – 6m contribution coming from Antarctica within human time frames – ie, within the lifespan of people alive today.

I’ve written of this before – on how the IPCC essentially took no account of ice collapse from Antarctica or ice melt from Greenland into account with their “1m by 2100” projection that was contained in the last IPCC report, and on how government is not basing policy on available scientific knowledge.

But no matter. We can have hospitals built on reclaimed land, and do nothing about anything that already exists on reclaimed land, and she’ll be right.

If government was serious (or maybe even simply exhibiting half pie levels of  intelligence), then all the talk of net zero emissions by whatever date would stop. Immediately.

The fact of the matter is that land based emissions must be net negative (ie – there would have to be a sustained drop in land based emissions) and energy based emissions must be zero if there is going to be any level of “combatting” going on on the global warming front.


19 comments on “Let’s Build a Hospital!”

  1. DB 1

    Have they not seen the projection maps of coastal inundation. We’re a pack of ostriches huh.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      There’s two things to account for when building a hospital:
      1. Planning for the future and
      2. Addressing where people live now.

      Once Dunedin is inundated it will be easier to persuade people that the hospital should be built on the hills – where they now live.

      • tc 1.1.1

        The ‘where’ is a lot more important with population and environmental factors than people realise.

        Akls middlemore isn’t on its intended site, in manurewa, and causes excessive travel for most of the region it serves.

        It’s now pretty must constrained up against a train line, knob central golf course and the creek serving a growing southern Akl. It’s condition is just another gift from key, blinglish, ryall and Coleman.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    At Te Papa (another stupidly positioned build) they had a fantastic computer model of what Wellington and NZ would look like at different sea levels.

    Just one meter of sea rise and you get a radically different city. Dunners will be the same. No need to wait 100 years for that additional meter of water.

    • ropata 2.1

      Ahh no worries bro. In Auckland. we’ve already built most of the CBD on reclaimed land, and we are gonna plonk a giant fuckoff rugby stadium right on top of the Port to wreck everyone’s view.

  3. Daveosaurus 3

    The proposed Dunedin hospital site (on the maps I’ve seen published, at any rate) is not on reclaimed land. The old coastline went approximately down Harrow, Forth, and Eden streets, and Harbour Terrace. (Eden Street is no longer on modern maps as the polytech was built over where it used to be).

    • Bill 3.1

      You can have a look at this overlay of the 1846 and 1865 shorelines and split hairs on the fact the Cadbury building straddles the shoreline if that’s your bag.


      And then add over 1m and up to whatever metres by or around 2070 or 2100 or whenever.

      • Daveosaurus 3.1.1

        On the map I saw, the lowest part (Cadbury’s southwards) was going to be parking. If the sea rises far enough to inundate the remainder, then a hospital with damp foundations is going to be the least of Dunedin’s worries.

        • Bill

          When crucial infrastructure becomes unusable, then other problems (and there will be many and they will be huge) become compounded.

          Every time there’s an “update” on an aspect of global warming, it’s the same story – faster, worse and bigger.

          That hospital will be finished in 2028 if there are no delays in construction (unlikely). At the moment it could be inoperable by 2070.

          If we allow for a 10 year build, then the replacement for this current replacement is going to have to begin in or around 2060.

          Which means there is a hospital being built that will have a functional life span of about 30 years. 30 years. That’s nuts.

          • Daveosaurus

            When I said ‘the least of Dunedin’s worries’, it was with reference to the fact that, if the Dunedin hospital is under water, so will be much of Dunedin. South Dunedin, St. Kilda, much of the city’s industrial areas, and the Taieri plains (including Mosgiel) will become practically uninhabitable. It’s not like the Canterbury plains, which are tilted so that even on the outskirts of Christchurch, land rises to 30m above mean sea level (with spot heights over 40m) – Mosgiel is less than 20m amsl, and spot heights westward toward Momona are in the single figures. Without an industrial core and an agricultural hinterland, there won’t be anywhere near as much need for people to live in or around Dunedin.

            • Bill

              I got the point you were making.

              Still, with between 1 and 2m sea level rise, that incidentally means the world has lost about 1/4 of its food growing capacity because its deltas are inundated and salted, I still think a hospital is a crucial piece of infrastructure that should have its long term viability taken into account.

              It’s an open question as to where all the people in South Dunedin and other areas will go. North? South? Inland? There are no good options in a world beset by sea level rise and all of the rest of it, so maybe it’ll be a case of just making the best of things where-ever it is we happen to be.

  4. Treetop 4

    70% of the earth’s fresh water is stored as ice in Antarctica.

    When the ice is melted what will become of humans?

    I doubt it will matter where you build anything.

    Swimming lessons could be the best investment anyone makes.


    Living on a boat.

    • saveNZ 4.1

      Lucky NZ has (or maybe had) a good boat building industry. Finally found something we are good at for the future melt down of our planet:) sarc.

      Not a good idea for a new hospital though. Inland and well above sea level sounds better!

  5. In Vino 5

    And if you need investment advice – invest in water wings and buoyancy aids.
    Stands to reason.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Ah, so we just make it so that the hospital floats.

      • saveNZ 5.1.1

        Saw a great documentary about a house built on an island that flooded a lot, and the building did just that, could float! It is all possible, we just have to plan well.

        Sadly planning is not NZ forte, because construction is big money and planning and RMA is manipulated fully by environmental lawyers and planners paid by big business . But it could be remedied with a change of direction to public good not private greed in our laws.

  6. Adrian 6

    Calm down, there are no 100 year old hospitals left in the country, they get rebuilt.
    Just move to Antartica when the time comes, the weather couldn’t be any worse than fucking Dunedins now.

    • timeforacupoftea 6.1

      Excellent answer Adrian, voting you onto Dunedin City Council.

      • Tricledrown 6.1.1

        Bill global warming has been factored into the design .
        The existing hospital will be only 50 years old when its decommisioned.

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