Report advances knowledge on impact of climate change on coastal communities

  • Published Date 05 Aug 2019

A report analysing the vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change has been released by Greater Wellington Regional Council and the region’s councils.

Preparing Coastal Communities for Climate Change takes an in-depth look at the extent to which the region’s coastal communities are vulnerable to climate change, sea level rise and natural hazards.

Commissioned by Greater Wellington and the region’s eight councils through their Wellington Region Subgroup on Coastal Adaptation, the report identifies the high-level vulnerability of the region’s different coastal areas to sea level rise and coastal erosion.

Subgroup chair Greater Wellington councillor Dr Roger Blakeley say building our knowledge on the impact of climate change is an essential precursor to planning.

“People are calling for action on climate change now, and we understand that. But, successful, lasting action depends on a clear understanding of how climate change will affect our coastal communities.

“This report and other information we have produced, such as our sea level and storm surge mapping tool, will contribute to the knowledge inputs required for long term adaptation to new circumstances for people living near vulnerable coasts.”

The report does not provide property-level data but does enable identification of different levels of vulnerability.

The work will help Greater Wellington and the councils establish processes for working with communities to develop long-term adaptive strategies.

Each council in the Wellington region understands how important it is to engage with their communities on climate change. The approach will differ between councils but what is common to all is the need to start talking about this important issue and to start sharing information.

More detailed assessments for each area will be carried out with communities following initial community engagement.

Future strategies for dealing with climate change must be grounded on a comprehensive programme of research, and this report provides a step forward in understanding its impacts.

The report was prepared by specialist resource management consultancy Mitchell Daysh, with oversight from a cross-council team led by Dr Iain Dawe, Senior Policy Advisor (Hazards) at Greater Wellington.

The maps in the report do not show predicted sea level rise but show levels of vulnerability, taking account of sea level rise and coastal erosion, and other factors such as socio-economic status of communities, infrastructure, waahi tapu sites and ecological areas.

Preparing Coastal Communities for Climate Change is available on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website.

Updated November 12, 2020 at 12:27 AM

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