Skip to content

Climate change: Our biggest challenge

Climate change: Our biggest challenge

Updated 7 August 2019 8:50am


Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge we have ever faced and will affect everyone in the region.

New information commissioned from NIWA in 2017 projects that there will be significant impacts to our region by 2090 if global emissions are not significantly reduced:

• Annual regional temperatures will increase by 3°C

• Wellington and Wairarapa will experience significant increase in hot days

• Frosts in the high elevations of the Tararua Ranges is likely to disappear

• Spring rainfall will reduce by up to 15% in eastern areas

• Up to 15% more winter rainfall could be experienced along the west coast

• The risk of drought will increase in the Wairarapa

• More extreme rainfall events

You can read a summary of the report here or read the full report in the 'In depth reports section' of this page to the right. 

GWRC made a submission to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill on July 16. You can read it here

What is GW doing about climate change?

Some of the impacts of climate change are now inevitable and we need to prepare to adapt to those, while at the same time working to avoid the very worst potential impacts by reducing emissions.

Here at GW, we’re already thinking about what our future might look like and we’re future-proofing the services we provide for our region.

Some of our on-going climate-proofing projects include:

• Flood protection options and schemes for the region

• Leading the Regional Natural Hazards Management Strategy

• Whaitua catchment modelling

• Our climate change strategy

We’re thinking about the future of our natural resources, and have been working with the people of our region to create action that will safeguard our region’s resources for future generations.

We’re safeguarding other communities throughout our region, building new stop banks and helping manage local rivers and streams to protect people and we’re leading the charge to establish a coordinated regional approach to planning for hazards.

We’re already working with others in some areas but we need to make a greater effort. We need to work together to tackle the challenge and our first step was setting the strategic direction.

Preparing Coastal Communities for Climate Change

Greater Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) and the territorial authorities across the Wellington region recognise the significance of climate change for the region and the importance of understanding the vulnerability of the region’s coastal communities to climate change. As a result, the Wellington Region Climate Change Working Group (WRCCWG) was established in 2017 and, in early 2018, agreed to progress towards a better understanding of this issue. A technical report, Preparing Coastal Communities for Climate Change, was commissioned to help assess coastal vulnerability to climate change, sea level rise and natural hazards.

The full report is available here:

Assessing coastal vulnerability to climate change, sea level rise and natural hazards

Our strategic approach to climate change

With help from the community, GW has developed a Climate Change Strategy that aligns and coordinates climate change actions across GW’s responsibilities and operations.

The strategy builds on work programmes already underway, raises awareness of climate change drivers and impacts, and helps co-ordinate regional effort through collaboration and partnerships.

 The Climate Change Strategy’s three objectives

Objective 1: Greater Wellington will act to reduce GHG emissions across all its areas of influence, including its own operations, helping to create the conditions for a smart, innovative, low-carbon regional economy

Objective 2: Risks from climate change-related impacts are managed and resilience is increased through consistent adaptation planning and actions based on best scientific information

Objective 3: Community awareness of climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions increases and organisations and individuals know what they can do to improve the long term resilience and sustainability of the region

Policies have been identified under each of these objectives and actions to achieve the objectives and policies are outlined in the Implementation Plan.

GWRC made a submission to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill on July 16. You can read it here