Climate change is already affecting New Zealand. The country’s average annual air temperature has risen by 1°C in the past 100 years.
According to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation climate change adaptation report, many high-temperature records than low temperatures have been broken recently.
Climate change models show that a warmer future awaits New Zealand with rainfall patterns amplifying it – dry parts of the country will become drier, while wet areas will become wetter.
NZ’s Department of Conservation (DOC) has developed the Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan from 2020/21 to 2024/25. The five-year plan aims to “inform, prepare, and guide our response to climate change impacts, with a focus on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC-managed infrastructure”.
While there are known effects of climate change on New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage and its visitor and recreation resources, there are still knowledge gaps regarding climate change impacts on New Zealand’s environment.
Examples of this include some species no longer lives in the wild, the pervasiveness of mammalian pests and weeds in the alps, and some iconic glacier destinations that are no longer accessible to visitors. These changes will impact DOCs work and responsibilities.
The DOC Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan identifies the steps it will do over the next five years:
- Identify and rectify important climate change information gaps
- Develop and implement the following: Consistent risk assessments on priority species; habitats, regions and assets; A suite of opportunities to reduce impacts; The required adaptation actions to address those risks, including time frames and resource requirements; and Monitoring and reporting systems to know if the actions are being successful
- Establish an internal governance and management structure for implementation.
The plan recognises the two-pronged approach when addressing climate change – climate mitigation or actions that reduce GHG emissions and climate adaptation – referring to plans and strategies to build resilience against climate change effects. Both actions are fundamental and incorporated in this report.
The plan also fulfils the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi under section 4 of the Conservation action to protect land-based native biodiversity from climate change impacts, review marine issues, and sustainability planning.
To read the entire report, click the link below:
DOC’s climate change adaptation action plan. Department of Conservation. Retrieved from https://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/climate-change-and-conservation/adapting-to-climate-change/
Department of Conservation climate change adaptation action plan/Te Papa Atawhai he whakamahere hātepe urutau mō te huringa āhuarangi (2020 June). Department of Conservation. Retrieved from https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/our-work/climate-change/climate-change-adaptation-action-plan.pdf