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Helping New Zealand prepare for climate change

Hon David Parker
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues


27 May 2008 Media Statement

Helping New Zealand prepare for climate change

Climate change is real, and we now know more about how it will affect New Zealand, Climate Change Minister David Parker says.

The Minister today launched the Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment: A guidance manual for local government – 2nd edition.

“This manual contains new projections of changes in temperature and rainfall in New Zealand which should encourage fresh thinking on how we can prepare for climate change,” David Parker said.

Four years on from the first guide, the manual provides the latest projections of the expected physical impacts of climate change at the national and regional level. These projections were produced by the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The manual also provides practical advice for local government and other decision makers.

NIWA has produced new rainfall projections for each season. For example, for winter and spring, New Zealand can expect the east and north to be drier, but more rain in the west of both islands.

“This more detailed information allows us to not only put better plans in place to reduce the risks we face from climate change, but also to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise,” David Parker said.

“Preparing for climate change makes good sense; it is about risk management and being more resilient to climate extremes. The Ministry guidance manual provides practical tools to enable local government to plan for climate change.”

“A risk management approach is already familiar to local government, and the manual allows the effects of climate change to be considered as part of existing planning, assessment and regulatory activities.”

“The government has a two-pronged approach to climate change and that is to limit the causes of climate change by reducing emissions, but also helping New Zealand to adapt to the physical impacts of climate change. Both approaches are needed to take on this serious challenge.

“Just as the emissions trading scheme saves cost to the economy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation minimises cost by future-proofing our infrastructure.”

ENDS

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