Underestimating Coastal Risk?

High-End Outcomes of Sea Level Rise For Whitianga Waterways Subdivision Have Been Ignored?

Is It Safe?

The Thames-Coromandel District Council recently gave its consent to a 72 lot extension of the Whitianga Waterways canal housing project, and relied on a “least drama” IPCC projection for sea level rise of 1.06 m out to 2120.  That 1m projection complies with nine-year-old 2008 Ministry for the Environment guidelines.  But was this good resource and risk management practice?  If the Council had instead taken account of high-impact but relatively low-probability projections, as has been proposed by the latest 2017 Draft Ministry guidelines and other 2017 reports from the USA, it would have been forced to conclude that both the subdivision itself and most of Whitianga township will be submerged by rising seas.  Put another way, has this subdivision managed to get Council consent courtesy of the National Government’s failure to update the Ministry guidelines in the last 9 years, and its suppression of the Ministry Report before the 2017 election? More importantly, is the subdivision safe? Continue reading “Underestimating Coastal Risk?”


Most Councils Sign Up For Climate Action

But Thames Coromandel Council Still Not With The Program

The new President of Local Government New Zealand Dave Cull has issued a strongly worded statement with a blunt message to whoever becomes the government on 23 September – climate change must be a top priority for a new government and it must act quickly on climate change to ensure New Zealand communities are well prepared for rising sea levels and greater storm frequency.

“There is no more time for inaction, we need whoever is in government after 23 September to set some firm goals and strategies for both mitigating and adapting to climate change,” Mr. Cull said Continue reading “Most Councils Sign Up For Climate Action”

The Real Fiscal Hole – $52 billion for Climate Change Costs

Even $52 Billion Underestimates the Risks

There has been a lot of media coverage about a leaked Ministry for the Environment report on climate change  which the Government has tried to keep hidden until after the election.  The coverage has concentrated on an estimated $19 billion replacement cost of buildings which could be threatened by sea level rise. Once that figure was originally reported, other media took up the story and quoted the figure without further investigation. The $19 billion figure is a huge underestimation.  A more accurate figure is $52 billion. Continue reading “The Real Fiscal Hole – $52 billion for Climate Change Costs”

Vital Climate Change Guidance Report Leaked


Government Suppresses Report Before Election –

No Excuses Left For Inaction by Councils

MFE GuidanceCover

Yesterday the Green Party published the full draft copy of the Ministry for the Environment Guidance Report to Local Authorities on Climate Change. Download here 

First impressions
The key details of the report which were previously released from a Ministry PowerPoint have been confirmed. 

The Government has been exposed as incompetent and deceitful by failing to publish this report before the election. The media coverage has been universally critical of the Government. ( Stuff, TVNZ, RadioNZ ) Continue reading “Vital Climate Change Guidance Report Leaked”

Second Climate Change Report Withheld By Government

See Update on Leak of MfE Guidance Report here

Embarrassing Climate Information Kept Secret until after the Election

Earlier this year I reported on how a major Ministry for the Environment Guidance Report on climate change and sea level rise has not been released even though it was in its final draft form. The clear suspicion was that the government was delaying publication of the report until after the election because it would not be popular with coastal landowners and developers, who are more likely to support the National Party. However, as I wrote in an earlier blog, key details of the guidance report were inadvertently released and were made public on my blog, and in a follow-up New Zealand Herald article

Now, Carbon News has revealed that another key climate change report has been withheld by Government until after the election. This is the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group’s first report. The Report was to include “a summary of the expected impacts of climate change on New Zealand over the medium and long-term, and a stocktake of existing work on adaptation, by both central and local government” and has been presented to Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett. Continue reading “Second Climate Change Report Withheld By Government”