Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Impacts of Climate Change Are Widespread and Substantial

31 March 2014

Impacts of Climate Change Are Widespread and Substantial

In recent decades changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says.

The report, from the IPCC’s Working Group 2, was released today (31 March) in Yokohama. It describes effects already being seen from changes in climate, the impacts expected for a range of possible future scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, and ways of managing and reducing risks through adaptation.

Dr Andy Reisinger of The New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre says “The new report summarises why, where and how climate change actually is a serious problem”.

Dr Reisinger jointly led preparation of the chapter on New Zealand and Australia. He says: “Without adaptation, further changes in climate are expected to have substantial impacts on Australia and New Zealand’s water resources, coastal ecosystems, oceans, infrastructure, health and agriculture.”

Key risks identified by the report for New Zealand include increased flooding and wildfire, and coastal damages from sea level rise. Some potential benefits are also identified, such as reduced energy demand for winter heating, and increased spring pasture growth in cooler regions.

The report says that globally, climate change has caused animals and plants to shift their ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns and abundance.

Changing rainfall or melting snow and ice are affecting water resources and quality in many parts of the world. Negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of severe and pervasive impacts.

Looking to the future, the report concludes that many species and systems are subject to very high risks if global temperatures warm 2°C above recent (1986 to 2005) levels, particularly Arctic sea ice systems and coral reef ecosystems. Sea level rise projected to occur through this century will lead to increasing flooding and erosion impacts for low- lying coastal areas, and some small island states are expected to face very high impacts

For 1°C of warming, climate change related risks are high from extreme events such as heat waves, extreme precipitation (rain and snow), and coastal flooding. Without adaptation, negative impacts for crop production in many tropical and temperate regions are expected for local temperature increases of 2°C or more. The fraction of the global population experiencing water scarcity will increase with the level of warming through the 21stCentury. In the oceans, acidification poses risks especially to polar ecosystems and coral reefs.

Risks of severe impacts on unique and threatened systems including risks of substantial species extinction are high at around 3°C of global warming above 1986 to 2005 levels. High temperature and humidity associated with such temperature rises could compromise normal activities including growing food or working outdoors in some areas for parts of the year.

A first step towards adaptation to future climate change is reducing vulnerability and exposure to present variations in climate. But Dr Reisinger says “ a key challenge for government is to identify when and where adaptation may have to go beyond incremental measures and more transformational changes may be needed, and how to support such decisions”.

Several New Zealand scientists contributed substantially to the report, as well as Dr Reisinger. Professor Alistair Woodward of Auckland University was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Health chapter. Dr Andrew Tait of NIWA and Dr Paul Newton of AgResearch were Lead Authors of the Australasia chapter. Dr Philip Boyd, initially from NIWA and Otago University and now at the University of Tasmania, was a lead author of the chapter on Ocean Systems.

Full text of the “Summary for Policymakers” of the report will be available on the IPCC website (www.ipcc.ch) from 31 March, along with near-final versions of the underlying chapters including the chapter on Australasia.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gaza.Scoop: Another Israeli Attack On A Hospital

Israeli tanks attacked Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, killing five patients and doctors, and injuring more than 70.

The third and fourth floors, housing the emergency department, orthopaedic department, surgical department, and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) were destroyed. Operating theatres had to cease work because of the lack of oxygen.

Patients are being evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and the European Gaza Hospital between Rafah and Khan Younes. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Tribunal: Report On The MV Rena

In its interim report, the Waitangi Tribunal has found that the Crown’s conduct in response to the grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti (Astrolabe) reef breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza: Wellington Protest For Palestine Calls For End To Bombing

Around 300 people gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Wellington on Friday to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Failure To Prosecute The GCSB

So one hand of the state – the Independent Police Conduct Authority – has now washed the hands of its brother agencies, and declared that all hands are clean. Case closed. More>>

ALSO:

Illegal Search: Police Behaviour 'Reminiscent Of Tūhoe Raids'

"Māori will lose further trust and confidence in the New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) if the recent incident in Stratford is not adequately addressed. This behaviour would not occur in Epsom or Khandallah so why should police think that such behaviour was acceptable in Stratford," says Chris McKenzie. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On The Dotcom Emails

The Dotcom residency decision fails any number of sniff tests... Why, then, was it approved? Here we get into the realm of the “INZ being under political pressure” to approve Dotcom’s application. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shonky Police Statistics, And The Israeli Air Strikes On Gaza

When people systematically alter how being statistics are recorded in order to gain personal and organisational advantage, that’s usually when the Police get called in. Yet in the case of the burglary statistics in Counties-Manakau, it was the Police doing the fudging and – at the time – it was then-Police Minister Judith Collins claiming the credit... More>>

ALSO:

'Clean Rivers': Green Party Launches Key Election Priority

The Green Party will make a series of announcements over the course of the election campaign in which it will outline the specifics of how it will clean up our rivers and protect our beaches. In the first of these announcements the party launched its plan for clean rivers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news