Cheaper to cut emissions than deal with climate change effects

LGNZ president David Cull says "Many councils have started adaptation work and want to do more."

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes.

The Ministry for the Environment today released a series of reports to give a clearer picture of the climate change issues facing the country and offering guidance on how to adapt to them.

A technical working group co-chaired by climate change academic Judy Lawrence and Environment Ministry deputy secretary Penny Nelson was tasked with advising the government on adapting to the impacts of climate change, and in a stocktake report released today said the dependence of major sectors on natural resources has the potential to weigh on the economy, disrupting agricultural production and seasonal tourist activities, and creating uncertainty for financial services when managing their risk profiles.

Large events have the potential to create significant one-off costs and stretch the country's ability to respond, whereas increasingly regular small events could cause an even bigger bill.

"While the potential costs of climate change impacts for New Zealand are not known, we do know that our exposure to the impacts of climate change is high, particularly in certain areas (eg, at the coast, within the built environment and to our major economic sectors), and as such the costs will be significant," the stocktake report said.

"Overall, the costs to New Zealand of climate change impacts and adapting to them are expected to be higher than the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While adapting to climate change cannot be avoided, adaptation is not a substitute for reducing emissions."

Biggest challenges
The new government acknowledged climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing the world, with the potential to undermine New Zealand's primary industries, and is in the process of developing new 'Zero Carbon' legislation and setting up an independent Climate Commission. It also plans to stimulate low carbon investment through a $100 million Green Investment Fund.

"It's important that New Zealanders have a clear picture of the potential impacts of climate change so that communities, local and central government, business and other sectors of our economy can make well-informed decisions about how we build resilience and adapt," Climate Change Minister James Shaw said in a statement.

"While some sectors and areas are proactive, in general we react to events rather than preparing for them."

The report notes the primary sector is most at risk, but it also says lenders and insurers will also have to cope with increased uncertainty. For insurers, that means they will have to raise premiums to reflect that heightened risk, banks will trim the tenure of their loans, and fund managers will factor in the impacts of climate change in their investment decisions.

Coastal hazards update
A separate report by the Environment Ministry on coastal hazards and climate change incorporated the stocktake into its guidance of local authorities, replacing a 2008 document.

The ministry report noted the increased risk posed to coastal communities by climate change-induced higher sea levels was compounded by continued development and population growth in those areas and will demand hard questions be asked of policymakers.

"Communities, councils and infrastructure providers will need to ensure present knowledge of the increasing future risk and the evolving consequences are embedded in key private and public decisions now," the report said. "The risks to future communities, and their ability to address them, should not be made worse by decisions taken now."

Local Government New Zealand agreed with the report that greater coordination and collaboration was needed across central and local governments.

"This report reinforces what LGNZ has been highlighting for some time, which is that adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change requires strong leadership from both central and local government and a clear, joint plan of attack," president David Cull said in a statement.

"Many councils have started adaptation work and want to do more, but need central leadership and support, community buy-in and resourcing."

(BusinessDesk)


20 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

20 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Theirs no climate change that I know of, been living at the beach since 1964,sea level is still the same,you get the odd storm which is normal,sounds like a hoax to me,follow the money.

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 1

Taxing people for the big yellow thing in the sky are the ravings of crazy people.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 1

It's interesting that you say this, because on the odd visit to the beach, I look at the water level and think, is it any higher than it was when I was a kid. Well if it is, I can't notice any difference. If it is higher, then we're only talking a very unnoticeable minuscule amount.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 1

Its great somebody can sea what I can sea,yeah I think someone is clipping the ticket big time on the taxpayer for all these made up false stories about climate change.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

It's even cheaper to look at the empirical data in the IPCC AR5 report before flushing money down the toilet needlessly. Here's 4 empirical temperature datasets (i.e. measured temperatures) vs. the climate models:

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/graphics/images/Assessment%20Reports/AR5%20-%...

source: Fig TS.14, page 87, Technical Summary, Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, IPCC AR5 report, 2013.

The climate models have failed when compared to actual temperatures. There was a subsequent spike in temperatures in 2015/16 due to an El Nino (a recurring, natural weather event - not AGW), but temperatures have largely returned to what they were previously again. BTW, an El Nino is a cooling event as the ocean purges heat to space via the atmosphere.

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 0

To cut emissions you need to target the root cause. The root cause is people so it seems the govt should be making every effort to reduce the number of people. Start by cutting paid parental leave after the 2nd child. Provide free contraceptive. Ensure people understand that they are the problem and should not be selfish about the future we leave for the next generation.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

What's so great about the climate we have that we should be worried about change? The real worry is sea level rise so why don't we call a spade a spade and call it sea level rise?
Also it may be easier to deal with the emissions than their effects but sea level rise will be much more exciting than carbon trading.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Because John, the sea isn't rising. The authorities are not building massive flood barriers on low level roads, urban areas and beaches. The reason for this that they've got the cash rolling in from the brainwashed sheeple and its a con.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

They are building these sorts of things actually, have you heard of the barrier on the Thames to defend London and another on one of the low countries rivers to defend Antwerp? or is it Amsterdam?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

The London Thames barrier was built in an era when "Global Cooling" featured in the UK's education curriculum and had nothing to do with "AGW Sea rises" (as it's a myth).

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The point is that they are being built, because they are necessary. The point is not what may or may not have been in school text books. London has been there since Roman times and tidal flood defences have only become necessary in the last decades. So obviously the level of the sea is rising.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

And so Ms Lawrence and Miss Nelson believe, " the dependence of major sectors on natural resources has the potential to weigh on the economy, disrupting agriculture production and seasonal tourist activities"
Would these sages please tell me a sector, or individual that is not dependent on "natural resources?
Then they add that would create uncertainty for financial services to manage risk profiles!!
Lord, "still my beating heart"
I fear this "climate change" thing has become a gravy train for the "public servant and scientists who cannot find private employment.
The climate IS changing. Yes, but hasn't it always been changing? Was it not global warming that brought the earth out of the ice age?

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 1

Who was it who told you the earth came out of an ice age? You did not observe it for yourself I presume? No, scientists who studied these things are the source of your knowledge, so why don't you believe it also when the accepted scientific view of the majority is that it is rising

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

What meaningless, virtue-signaling drivel. The Ministry for the Environment should show us some compelling evidence for its claims regarding relative costs. Until it is able to do so, the best policy response would be to do nothing.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Priority should be given to determining whether or not man-made greenhouse gases cause dangerous global warming.

There appears to be no convincing evidence that this is the case. (James Renwick, our top "climate scientist" cannot put his finger on this evidence.)

If this is so, then everything they are doing is a criminal waste of our money.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Unfortunately the vested interests who have brainwashed the media and their readers will continue to manipulate the statistics.
Climate changes ,but not because of what we do.
Everyone agrees with cutting waste and looking after the environment,but don’t expect walking to the local dairy,rather than driving,will make any difference to the temperature in 20 years time.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

I accept that the world's climate is warming but what I am skeptical that is caused by human activity. Over many centuries it is well recorded that the planet's climate has at various times warmed and cooled and has been warmer than we are currently experiencing even within the last millennium, to me the notion climate change is man made is a myth, climate is subject to earths relative position to the sun as per the Milankovitch theory, after all how did earth come out of an ice age without the presence of mankind, how on earth has this come to the point it is deemed reasonable to combat climate change first world nations pay billions to a faceless entity whilst 3rd world countries carry on as normal.
according to the UN’s own climate models, the Paris deal is predicted to “maybe” decrease global temperatures by three-tenths of one degree, at a projected cost of $100 trillion, over 100 years. Not really a good use of other people's money, given that the current climate is benign, and that we have serious pollution , bio- security , economic and social issues to deal with here in Godzone, then can we now forget about this climate conjecture and get on with the things we can do something about?

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

NZ accounts for something like 0.1% of global emissions. So even if we could stop all NZ emissions today, it won't make any difference to climate change. And the gap created by no more NZ dairy and tourism will be filled by other countries. Whose emissions would go up as a result. So the drop in emissions would be less.

Sure, still reduce emissions where you can do so for a low economic cost. And importantly where any reduction in NZ won't cause an increase in another countries emissions. But claiming that NZ alone can somehow solve world climate change, is at best misleading. Or otherwise an outright lie.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Here's a prediction, just as these days it's impossible to find a single NZer who was in favour of the 1981 Spingbok tour, so in 30 years time will it be possible to find one who said the sea was not rising.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 2

Here is a prediction. In 30 years time it will be impossible to find anyone to admit they predicted in 2017 that the sea will rise over a metre.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7269 0.0000 0.00%
AUD 0.9101 0.0000 0.00%
EUR 0.5951 0.0000 0.00%
GBP 0.5249 0.0000 0.00%
HKD 5.6856 0.0000 0.00%
JPY 80.4820 0.0000 0.00%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1331.0 4.850 2018-01-19T00:
Oil Brent 68.6 -0.710 2018-01-19T00:
Oil Nymex 63.4 -0.580 2018-01-19T00:
Silver Index 17.0 0.090 2018-01-19T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NASDAQ 7312.0 7336.4 7296.1 0.55%
DJI 25987.3 26071.7 26017.8 0.21%