Climate change risk assessment framework released

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has released the framework for assessing climate change risks in New Zealand.

The framework is for the upcoming National Climate Change Risk Assessment (NCCRA) and will inform climate change adaptation and mitigation opportunities.

Mr Shaw said New Zealand is already experiencing the effects of a changing climate.

“Such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms.

“The framework will enable a broad range of risks to be compared and evaluated in terms of their nature, severity, and urgency”, he said.

It includes the framing and templates, along with guidance materials that will be used to assess climate change risks at a national level.

The Ministry for the Environment’s report said the values-based approach to the framework “combines scientific, technical and expert information with Mātauranga Māori, local knowledge and experience”.

It said the framework aims to produce a risk assessment that will “improve the ability of decision-makers to make informed decisions in the presence of inevitable and, in some cases, substantial and irreducible uncertainty” and to “improve other stakeholders’ understanding and foster and support the broader public interests in the quality of the decision-making process”.

While the framework’s main focus is risks at the national scale, it will also aim to cover significant regional risks that would influence national priorities and budget process, including rohe based risks for iwi.

These could include the emergence of sub-tropical pests and diseases and fish species into Northland or receding snowlines and glaciers.

Mr Shaw said the government is now regressing work on the first Risk Assessment, “to ensure this important work is not delayed whilst we wait for the Zero Carbon Bill to pass”.

“This work is critical to set Aotearoa up to be able to respond to climate change as a nation,” Mr Shaw said.

The first Risk Assessment is expected to be published in mid-2020.