New Climate Change Report Available Online
A NIWA report on climate change is now available on the Marlborough District Council website. Commissioned by the Council, the report includes projections and potential impacts for the region to inform staff where climate change may require further investigation and action. It was presented at yesterday’s Environment Committee meeting.
The report summarises two scenarios where Paris Agreement targets are not achieved, a high-emissions scenario with no mitigation and a mid-range scenario where emissions stabilise at 2100. Under both scenarios, Marlborough’s annual rainfall wouldn’t significantly change, but seasonal weather would vary more, with many areas experiencing wetter winters and longer, hotter dry spells in the summer.
Among the findings, Marlborough would be likely to see:
- Increased drought frequency and duration
- Increased coastal erosion and inundation
- Changing rainfall patterns and increasing extremes
- Warmer temperatures and more frequent hot extremes
The impacts of climate change isn’t new to the Council as the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) requires local government to consider it when carrying out its obligations under the act. The Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan (PMEP) includes an entire chapter on climate change. The 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan, now out for consultation, also addresses climate change in relation to infrastructure.
The report also explores the potential impacts of climate change on the primary sector, including increased pests and diseases, longer growing seasons, and opportunities for different crops in new locations.
Mayor John Leggett says many of the climate change risks highlighted in the report were already identified in previous modelling.
“Climate change is an evolving science. As the modelling improves, we need to continually re-evaluate our risks from weather extremes, and the effects of sea level rise, which includes potential coastal erosion, and increased risk of flooding to land and infrastructure,” he says.
While New Zealand is a small player in terms of total global greenhouse gas emissions (contributing less than 0.3 per cent), the country has the 12th highest level of emissions per capita in the developed world.