The world’s climate is changing, largely because of the build-up in the earth’s atmosphere of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. New Zealand and the Hauraki district are already experiencing the effects of climate change with rising sea levels, increased time spent in drought and when it does rain, we get a lot of it in a single event. The major risks posed by climate change not only include risks to the natural and built environment, but also to social cohesion and community wellbeing.
If the world acts quickly to reduce emissions then we can reduce the degree that the climate does change and we may not have to adapt as much – but that’s a work in progress. This uncertainty means we also need to start preparing for how we will adapt to the effects of climate change.
Here's what we’re doing to play our part.
Climate Change Mitigation – reducing and offsetting our emissions
In 2020 we received the results of the greenhouse gas inventories for the Hauraki District and Waikato Region. We also undertook an inventory of our organisation emissions.
On 30 June 2021 we adopted our Zero Carbon Promise which sets out how we will work toward achieving our goal to reduce or offset more of our organisational greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to creating a zero carbon district.
We’re working with some of our more at risk communities to start planning for the effects of climate change. A community-led plan called the Wharekawa Coast 2120 is being developed. This plan will lay out how we’ll respond to natural hazard risks on the Wharekawa Coast in the future, recognising what we know about these risks may change 10, 20 and 100 years down the track.
Background work is starting now on a community-led plan for the Hauraki Plains. This plan will be developed over the next few years, and will also focus on a response to natural hazard risk.
When we’re making decisions, we’re also taking into account the potential effects of climate change on our assets. There’s more about the impacts of climate change on our infrastructure under our Infrastructure Strategy section in our Long Term Plan.
Work is occurring nationally in the climate change adaptation space too. The 1991 Resource Management Act reforms include the Climate Adaptation Act, due to be released in 2023 but not expected to be passed into law for a few years. It will detail how New Zealand can better deal with climate change, particularly in relation to managed retreat (the strategic movement of people and assets away from hazard-prone areas).
National Climate Change Adaptation Plan:
New Zealand now has its first climate change adaptation plan. This sets out Government-led policies, strategies and proposals to aid New Zealanders in adapting to the changing climate and its effects.