Sea level rise report strengthens resolve

The Minister for Climate Change says Government recognises the challenges facing many on the frontline of coastal impacts from sea level rise.

Responding to Local Government NZ’s release of its report, “Vulnerable: The quantum of local government infrastructure exposed to sea level rise”, James Shaw says the Government is acutely aware of the impacts sea level rise could have on coastal communities.

“This report shows the sheer magnitude of devastation that could be caused by sea level rise. It would destroy critical infrastructure that allows our communities to function and thrive. The consequences of that are frightening.

“Evidence like that contained in LGNZ’s report reinforces our resolve around the critical work we are doing to address climate change and limit sea level rise.

“To delay or weaken our stance would be to the detriment of New Zealand communities.

“The Government intends to push ahead this year with work to establish a National Climate Change Risk Assessment system to help communities, councils and central government deal with the impacts of climate change.

“That work will also incorporate consideration of the very difficult issue of how we spread the financial burden of climate change impacts.

“I am proud to be leading work on the independent Climate Change Commission under the Zero Carbon Bill, which will hold this and future governments to account on reducing polluting emissions and limiting sea level rise and other climate impacts.

“Today’s LGNZ report adds to work like the “Coastal Hazards Guidance for local government” which point out the huge challenges that threaten our communities.

“But the challenges can be met, and the best way to do that is to gather the best information we can, along with the best community involvement and expert advice possible to put strategies in place sooner rather than later,” says James Shaw.