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Tō tātou anamata āhuarangi Our climate future

The effects of climate change are being felt around the world and are already having an impact on Aotearoa New Zealand.

The food we eat, the way we travel, and the goods and services we produce all emit greenhouse gases. These emissions can stay in the atmosphere for decades to centuries or longer.

Our annual average temperature continues to increase, especially in winter. New Zealand’s annual average temperature rose at a rate of 0.31°C per decade over the past 30 years.

Kei te panoni tō tātou āhuarangi Our climate is changing

The phrase ki uta, ki tai, from the mountains to the sea, describes the range of effects that climate change is having on weather and temperature in Aotearoa New Zealand.

New Zealand’s average temperatures are warming, sea level is rising and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. New Zealand is also experiencing more intense rainfall and heatwave days. In some areas, droughts are becoming more frequent, and days of extreme fire danger are increasing.

The opportunity to lessen the impact of climate change is now. 

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Ko ā tātou whakatau tōpū o tēnei rā ka auaha i te oranga o ngā whakatipuranga kei te haere mai The decisions we make together today will shape the lives of future generations

Government, business, communities, and individuals all need to do whatever they can to limit climate change impacts.

For individuals wanting to reduce emissions, you can work to be a respectful steward of our land. You could take more public transport, swap a petrol vehicle for an electric one, or switch from a gas stove to an electric. You could also re-use or repurpose your old things or plant more trees.

When planning for the future risks, if you are buying a home, think about whether you want to live there forever, or when you plan to move on. Over time, there might be ways to make your home as efficient, warm and safe as possible.

Businesses also need to consider how they will adapt to keep their workers and their bottom line safe from climate change impacts. Think about what your local neighbourhood needs to do to increase resilience and equity.

How is it for pedestrians and cyclists? Are there charging stations for electric cars? Is there a treeplanting initiative? Talk to your friends and whanau, go to community meetings, make submissions, and create art. Work with existing organisations, ask your boss about climate change planning for your organisation, and stay positive for the children in your life.

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Ko tā te Kāwanatanga e mahi ai What the Government is doing

The Government has declared a climate change emergency, and has introduced new laws and initiatives to help reduce New Zealand’s emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change that cannot be avoided.

In 2019, changes to the Climate Change Response Act:

  • established a 2050 domestic target of net zero emissions for all gases except biogenic methane
  • set up the Climate Change Commission to provide independent advice and monitor our progress on climate action
  • require the Government to produce Emissions Reduction Plans and National Adaptation Plans

The first Emissions Reduction Plan is due later this year. Transport is a key focus, but it is also looking at reducing emissions from building and construction, agriculture and forestry, waste, and heat, industry and power.

The Government has also started work on New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan. The Plan will set out the actions the government will take to manage risks from climate change identified in the National Climate Change Risk Assessment.  

Other recent Government initiatives includes reforming the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, climate outcomes of the Resource Management system reform, a commitment to ban coal boilers in industrial heat, the clean car standard and investing in in new rail, buses, cycle-ways and walking infrastructure.

More on what the Ministry for the Environment is doing to address climate change 

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