Small sea level rise puts infrastructure at risk
The initial findings of a new report, shows that billions of dollars of roading, water, and public transport infrastructure are at risk from as little as a half a metre sea level rise.
The Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Climate Change Symposium discussed the challenges posed by climate change and the work underway to identify the local government infrastructure and assets at risk from sea level rise, councils’ work to adapt to the changing climate, and council engagement with communities to manage the impacts of coastal hazards.
The research, currently underway by LGNZ with engineering and environment consultancy Tonkin + Taylor, has so far revealed that billions of dollars of local government infrastructure and assets at risk from sea level rise, and that the impacts will be most significant for water infrastructure and roads. The completed report with full findings is expected to be released later this year.
The potential financial impact of climate change is significant and the local government sector, at its Annual General Meeting in July, voted in favour of a remit that asks LGNZ to advocate to central government to establish a Climate Change Adaptation Fund to improve local level and community participation in responding to climate change.
LGNZ President Dave Cull says LGNZ’s proposed Local Government Risk Agency would build on the research that has been undertaken and provide comprehensive and consistent risk management expertise, knowledge and tools to local authorities across the country. It would help to manage the risks presented and exacerbated by climate change, but also risks associated with other natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Presenter Vernon Rive, Senior Law Lecturer, AUT Law School.