Climate change is a process that has evolved and accelerated over the last century.
The changes experienced through this process will impact our environment. Both the natural and built environment, biodiversity, loss of habitat, damage to our infrastructure and homes, freshwater availability, where and how we live and what we produce will all be affected.
Our understanding of climate change and the science behind it informs us that we must not only attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change, but also adapt to them. A community can become climate resilient by working together to mitigate and adapt.
What are the climate change effects in Southland?
The most recent study on the effects of climate change on the Southland region is NIWA’s 2018 report. This sets out a summary of the potential effects of the changing climate on Southland, and provides a useful tool for gaining an overall understanding of all possible scenarios for the next 100 years.
This report shows that in Southland we can generally expect more intense rainfall events, but also longer periods without rain. Sea levels are also expected to increase each year by approximately 10mm, which can have a significant impact on our community.
One of the most effective tools in mitigating the effects of climate change, and increasing community resilience, is the reduction of greenhouse gas emission.
This is both an individual and collective responsibility for every community. Council has already moved to reduce greenhouse gas emission not only to mitigate effects of climate change, but also to save operational costs.
What is Council doing to respond to climate change?
Council has reduced both emission and expenditure by initiating its transition to using alternative and more cost-effective sources of energy. Council’s reliance on fossil fuels, a costly and emission-intensive resource, is reduced wherever possible from transition to a hybrid vehicle fleet, sustainable solutions for the management of parks and pools, digitisation of Council records to transitioning to virtual meetings.
These achievements are part of Council’s vision and journey towards a sustainable future where environmental and economic gains are interlinked, for more information on Council’s sustainability vision see the Council’s Long term plan.
Also crucial to climate resilience is a community’s ability to adapt to effects of climate change. Adaptation requires methodical planning in relation to infrastructure, biodiversity and natural hazards.
Council’s planning for adaptation is reflected in the Invercargill City District Plan 2019. Precise planning requires precise information on potential hazards, and this information is still being gathered. Council continues to use expert advice, scientific data and regional collaboration to amass the knowledge required for effective planning against the effects of climate change.
33,000 property files being digitised will reduce Council’s carbon footprint
Environmentally friendly switch to hybrid vehicles will lower operating costs and emissions
Electric equipment used in parks saving dollars as well as CO2 emissions
Switch to woodchip boilers at Splash Palace better for the environment, and warmer for swimmers
Interactive conference system allows close collaboration and less travel
Southland climate change assessment
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