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Climate Change Wake Up Call Needed for West Coast

GREENPEACE PRESS RELEASE
Climate Change Wake Up Call Needed for West Coast

Auckland, Wednesday 3 December 2003: A report by NIWA released yesterday warned that 90% of Westport could be inundated in up to one metre of water during a one in a hundred year flood. Greenpeace warns this could be the tip of the iceberg for the West Coast town.

"NIWA's report estimates that large scale flooding of the Orawaiti and Buller Rivers will occur once every hundred years", said climate change campaigner, Annette Cotter. "We have heard similar predictions for our eastern hydro lakes - that droughts would reduce their electricity generation during one in one hundred 'dry years'. But the hydro lakes have had three of these dry years in the past ten."

"Climate change means that we will face more and more extreme weather events, and weather patterns will change considerably. For New Zealand, this means greater rainfall and flooding on the West Coast."

"Other predictions are more intense and frequent droughts on the eastern side of the country. We must take climate change seriously because it is going to effect us economically, socially and environmentally."

"Climate change is the most serious problem the world faces now and into the future. Even big business is concerned, with the insurance industry in particular addressing whether they will insure against increasingly devastating weather events. If they refuse cover, individuals will carry the cost burden when these floods and droughts occur," said Ms Cotter.

Climate change is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.

There is an urgent global need to address the effects of global warming. Currently a global Climate Change Conference (COP9) is being held in Milan, Italy. This international meeting is discussing implementation measures of the Kyoto Protocol - the international treaty designed to reduce the amount of climate changing gases each country produces.

ENDS

For Greenpeace campaigner Vanessa Atkinson, currently in Milan at COP9, please call +64 215 65 165 For Greenpeace campaigner Annette Cotter please call 021 553 225 or Communications Officer Dean Baigent-Mercer on 021 790 817


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