Worrying warnings on the weather front

NIWA’s annual climate summary for 2017 sends a clear message that New Zealand is right to be addressing the impacts and risks of climate change says the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw.

NIWA’s data ranks 2017 as the 5th warmest year on record since the Institute began annual measurements in 1909. Seven of the warmest ten years since 1909 have been in the last decade.

“NIWA’s latest data is in line with patterns of climate change that are becoming clearer every year, and shows why we have a responsibility to future generations to do what we can, as soon as we can, to limit more climate change and prepare for the effects the changing climate is already having,” said Mr Shaw.

“When you combine NIWA’s latest report with New Zealand’s new ranking at a ‘high hazard’ level for most flooding and cyclone events, according to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, it’s clear the government is moving in the right direction by adopting strategies like Zero Carbon legislation to move New Zealand towards a low emissions economy.

“In 2018 all New Zealanders will have the chance to participate in setting our national plan for climate action, which will create huge opportunities to increase communities’ resilience to extreme weather and, at the same time, make our towns and cities better places to live in.

“As we reduce our climate pollution together as a country over the coming decades, we will also invest in infrastructure that will withstand the extreme weather, which even modest amounts of climate change will bring.

“Moving public and private sector investment into clean technology and sustainable infrastructure both reduces climate-related risks and sets up New Zealand for a prosperous and stable economic future.

“If further warnings were needed that we cannot be complacent, the fact that New Zealand’s insurance bill for extreme weather events - at $242 million in the first seven months of last year was five times higher than the bill for 2016 - sends that clear warning,” says Mr Shaw.