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
Hauraki District Council’s Climate Action Pathway
1 The start of a journey
To stay in the ‘climate safe zone’ the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions to carbon zero by 2050. Carbon zero means we can balance the activities that produce emissions (such as driving petrol cars) against the activities that capture carbon (such as planting trees). We believe there is an urgent need to reduce emissions and in late 2019 we jointly funded emissions inventories for the Waikato Region and Hauraki District. We also undertook an inventory for our Council operations. We measured our emissions so we can identify where we can do better.
2 Making a plan
We’re making a plan on how we can lower emissions produced by our business operations. We want to get our own house in order before we focus on the bigger district wide picture. We will set emission reduction targets and identify and prioritise actions we can undertake that will reduce our organisation emissions.
3 Organisational action
We need to look at the costs and benefi ts of each option before deciding what action to take. Examples could include; reducing our sewage sludge emissions, reviewing our supply chains, introducing planting programs, reviewing our
planning rules, incorporating carbonzero building designs into our buildings.
4 Engaging with the community
No single group can deliver the change needed alone. We want to collaborate with iwi, business, youth and the wider community about the district emissions. We’ll begin these conversations in 2021/22. We’d like to set emission reduction targets for our district and identify and prioritise actions we can undertake as a community to achieve our goals. Making a plan for our district is a good way to build a common understanding of the issues and identify opportunities for collaborative action.
5 Taking action together
There are already some great climate action projects happening, but with your help we think we’ll be able to identify more action we can take together. We’re all in the same waka and we’ll get there faster if we have more people paddling in the same direction
Climate Change Adaptation
We’re also 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.
We’re planning on starting work on a community-led plan for the Hauraki Plains in 2024. This will also focus on a response to natural hazard risk.
We’re also taking into account the potential effects of climate change on our assets when we make decisions. There’s more about the impacts of climate change on our infrastructure under our Infrastructure Strategy section in our Long Term Plan.