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Confronting climate change: critical issues for NZ


23 November 2006

Confronting climate change – critical issues for New Zealand

The issues confronting New Zealand as a result of climate change have been put in the spotlight with the release of a new book from Victoria University.

Confronting Climate Change: Critical Issues for New Zealand, published by Victoria University Press, grew out of a major international conference organised by the University and held in Wellington earlier this year.

The book will be launched by the Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues, the Hon David Parker.

Edited by Associate Professor Ralph Chapman, Professor Jonathan Boston and Wellington writer Margot Schwass, the book includes contributions from more than 30 leading scientists and policy experts and a foreword by British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair, who addressed the conference by video link.

Associate Professor Chapman, from the School of Geography, Environment & Earth Sciences, says the debate on the science is over.

“As the outgoing Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, has recently commented, the sceptics are ‘out of step, out of arguments and just about out of time’. Climate change is real and it is happening even faster than previously thought and is being powerfully influenced by human activities.”

Associate Professor Chapman says events such as Hurricane Katrina, the shrinking icecaps, the 2003 European heat wave and the disastrous Australian drought are reminders that climate change is not a future threat.

“The scientific evidence shows that dangerous climate change can only be averted by global action that starts happening now. We cannot afford to wait year after year. Informed public debate, bold policies and decisive political leadership are needed – but too many countries, New Zealand included, have been slow to act.”


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