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Tip of the iceberg of climate costs

Tip of the iceberg of climate costs

Green Media Release

18 December 2006

Statistics New Zealand figures released today showing the financial impact of floods on some local governments are just the tip of the iceberg for the expected economic impacts of climate change the Green Party says.

“Statistics New Zealand states that flooding was a major contributor to both local government expenditure and central government grants to local government in the September 2006 quarter,” says Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader.

“The cost of repairing damage from flooding in the North Island was the main driver behind the increase in central government grants – up $28.9million to $186.7million in the September quarter (seasonally adjusted),” Dr. Norman says, also the Greens’ Economics Spokesperson.

“Climate change is expected to result in more extreme weather events such as flooding. While it is impossible to say that any particular flooding event was the result of climate change, overall, climate change will result in greater intensity and frequency of extreme weather events including flooding.

“The Stern report made the point that the economic costs of climate change are likely to be much greater than the economic costs of cutting our emissions. Statistics like these give us just a hint of what the economic consequences might look like.

“It is imperative that we play our part in cutting our greenhouse emissions so that we can put pressure on the bigger polluters. New Zealand is the fourth worst in the OECD in per capita emissions and until we improve our performance we won’t be taken seriously.

“The Government still lacks a sense of urgency about this problem but figures like these should be a wake up call.”

ENDS

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