Impacts and Implications
Improving our understanding of the likely impacts of climate change to support decision-making about and adaptation to climate change.
Climate change is having, and will have, a range of impacts, including physical impacts (for example, sea-level rise or changing temperatures), socioeconomic impacts (climate change will impact different social groups in different ways), and environmental impacts, including how climate change will impact our natural environment.
If we can understand how climate change will impact New Zealand, we can plan for it more effectively. This involves taking a ‘big picture’ view. We need to explore how the many and varied impacts of climate change will interact with each other.
Our programme is aiming to make sure that New Zealanders can properly consider and evaluate key impacts of climate change. Our research into the impacts of climate change will also feed into and be informed by the emerging New Zealand Earth System Model.
We’re also aiming to make sure communities, end-users and stakeholders consider climate change in multiple contexts and make robust decisions about adaptation.
Further, we need to better understand the institutions that facilitate climate change adaptation. Our research is looking into historical responses to environmental threats and at the way climate-sensitive decisions are currently being made.
The purpose of the Deep South Challenge is to produce knowledge that New Zealand communities, including Māori, industry and government groups can use to plan for, and adapt to, climate change. It’s therefore crucial that these groups are involved in framing the research itself – we need to learn which issues relating to the impacts of climate change are most important to them.
The Impacts and Implications programme is running a series of innovative stakeholder dialogues that enable the co-creation of research questions, to make sure our research directly meets stakeholder needs.
Facilitated by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, these dialogues aim to develop a shared understanding of key issues, to map current knowledge about them, to identify creative ideas to address them, and to pose well-formulated research questions. In this way, the dialogue process creates a more informed policy and research environment.
The dialogues bring together researchers, community leaders, government agencies and NGOs to formulate research questions around the following topics:
- Insurance, coastal housing and climate adaptation
- Storm water and wastewater infrastructure
- Flood-prone communities and sea-level rise
- Drought management
- Urban and freight transport
Building on existing work
The Impacts and Implications programme builds on a four-year project that finished in 2016: Climate Changes, Impacts & Implications for New Zealand. This MBIE-funded project modelled the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems, including a national integrated assessment and a series of five case studies focusing on different ecological areas in New Zealand. There is a national assessment for this body of work.
- Snow, ice and glaciers in our changing climate
- Climate impacts on the national water cycle
- National flood risks & climate change
Impacts on people and economic systems
- Climate change: The cascade effect
- Climate change & its effect on our agricultural land
- Stormwater, wastewater and climate change: Impacts on our economy, environment, culture and society
- Extreme weather, climate change & the EQC
- Climate change and the withdrawal of insurance in New Zealand
Adaptation and responding to climate impacts
- Making robust decisions about New Zealand's water
- Tools for decision makers
- Sea level rise, housing and insurance
- How should the risks of sea level rise be shared?
Please have a look at a complete list of Deep South Challenge projects.
Science lead: Suzi Kerr, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research
Programme contact: Sally Owen, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research | email@example.com
Latest news and updates
2018 may well be the year New Zealand gets serious about adapting to our changing climate. Last year, and the start of this one, gave all of us plenty of opportunities to experience a future in which creeping sea level rise and extreme weather – from drought to flood to surprise storm surges – make day-to-day life more precarious and more expensive.
In October 2017, the Deep South Challenge released a report into the state of the nation’s storm and waste water infrastructure, in the face of a changing climate. The report garnered significant media attention – not surprising given the infrastructure is currently valued at well over $20 billion.
The recent Edgecumbe floods saw raw sewage floating through the streets, making the clean-up extremely challenging. Over 300 homes in the district were damaged and six months later, 240 houses are still unliveable. Flood-proofing the town itself remains a distant goal.