New Zealand publishes first national climate adaptation strategy

Sydney, Australia, Aug 3 (EFE).- New Zealand published Wednesday its first national strategy for adaptation to the climate crisis to deal with extreme weather and natural disasters that have become more frequent and more ferocious in the country because of global warming.

“Severe weather events that had previously seemed unthinkable, even only a few years ago, are now happening at a pace and intensity we have never experienced before,” Minister of Climate Change James Shaw said in a statement published alongside the plan.

The New Zealand government plan, based on the first national climate change risk assessment published in 2020, includes 120 actions and responses to protect lives, homes, infrastructure, communities, cultural heritage and businesses.

One of these measures is the publication at the end of the year of online information on the risks of erosion, flooding, sea level rise, drought, among other land problems that directly affect housing, livelihoods, investment and business.

“Even with 1.5 degrees of warming, we are going see the impacts of climate change on our communities and the way we live our lives. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, that we do everything we can to adapt to these changes,” the minister said.

Under the plan, actions and new climate risks will be evaluated every six years through consultations with various sectors, including Maori, to identify urgent responses to these problems, among other measures.

“Climate change is a global challenge, but its impacts are felt in our local communities and in our homes. Taking action to prepare for these impacts will make our communities safer, protect our environment, and ensure our towns and cities can continue to support people’s jobs and livelihoods,” Shaw said.

However, one of the strongest criticisms of this plan is that it does not address who will pay for the costs of damage and adaptation to climate change and the mechanisms to fairly order residents to permanently abandon their homes and out of harm’s way.

“While it is great to see these steps being planned for the next six years, it will be critical, to see firmer direction and support provided, particularly to local government, to help guide decision-making in the immediate term,” said New Zealand Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Mike Burrell in a separate statement.

“It will also be important to establish how this plan will be funded and resourced if we are to move from business as usual to reflect the urgency of this adaptation task.”

The Labour government of Jacinda Ardern announced in May a NZ$2.9 billion ($1.8 billion) plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand over the next four years, especially in the transport industry.

The New Zealand government, whose parliament declared a climate emergency in December 2020, has committed to implementing one of the most ambitious plans in the world to reduce emissions with the objective that the global temperature does not increase by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius with respect to the pre-industrial era, and become carbon neutral by 2050. EFE


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