Adapting to climate change, Technical Working Group calls for urgent action

Proactively planning how we can adapt to climate change urgently needs to weave into the work of every organisation, at every level, in every sector of New Zealand if we hope to adapt to the effects of climate change, says a group of climate change adaptation experts.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw today released the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group’s (CCATWG) recommendations on what New Zealand needs to do to adapt to the effects of climate change.

CCATWG Co-Chair, Dr Judy Lawrence, says that even if the world stopped all greenhouse gas emissions today, our climate would still change for centuries.

“Previous emissions take time to show their impact and are long lasting. We are already seeing the effects of climate change with sea level rise, more floods and hotter temperatures and we can expect further losses and damage.

“We need robust data to assess our risks and see where and who is most vulnerable and exposed. This will enable us to put a national plan into action which is independently monitored and reported on.

“Adaptation needs to be funded so that there are incentives for people and organisations to take adaptive action. All of this work needs to be supported by strong leadership,” says Dr Lawrence.

“The group has conveyed its expectation that the government will put in place a coordinated set of measures. These will enable New Zealand to reduce its exposure and vulnerability to the changing climate.”

Mr Shaw thanked the group for its comprehensive, thorough and frank report.

“Becoming climate resilient is a significant challenge. But it’s clear from CCATWG’s report that with the right plans and tools in place, we have a greater chance of managing the transition,” says Mr Shaw.

“There is new money in Budget 2018 for resourcing the Government’s climate change priorities.

“I see risk assessment as a priority and I intend to bring options to Cabinet soon for a decision on how and when to do a risk assessment.

“In the coming weeks we will be asking New Zealanders how they see New Zealand adapting to the effects of climate change as part of the Zero Carbon Bill consultation.

“We are all in this together and we have a responsibility to future generations to make changes now and build on what has been started. This will provide a framework for the future. I urge everyone to be part of the conversation.

“Taking early action in the right areas is likely to avoid the need for more abrupt action later,” says Mr Shaw.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

People can register to have their say on how New Zealand becomes climate resilient as part of the Zero Carbon Bill here.