Extreme weather is “picture of future”

A New Zealand climate scientist used the following phrase today to describe the extreme weather battering New Zealand: “picture of the future”.

Christchurch is experiencing a one-in-50 year rain storm, high winds and power cuts are affecting other parts of the country and conversely, dry conditions continue to hamper farming in the Waikato.

Arguably, the future is already here. These extremes of weather are fitting the models and chiming with predictions.

Climate change is not some distant threat. It is happening now in the form of extreme weather events and it is costing communities.

Yet the National Government remains asleep at the wheel, implementing neither strong mitigation policies, nor appropriate measures for adaptation. New Zealand’s emissions continue to climb, and there are no real strategies in place to deal with the increasing threat of extreme weather.

Insurance companies paid out $174m in costs for weather-related events in New Zealand last year, one of the worst years since 1968.  At a global insurance summit in London this week, climate change was identified as one of the major issues affecting the industry.

The Green Party is calling for a National Environmental Standard or National Policy Statement on climate change adaptation. Local authorities need a clear mandate and some base parameters to plan for more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, and for rising sea levels

As parts of New Zealand battle high winds and heavy rain, searing temperatures are setting new records across the Tasman, and a new report shows temperatures in Australia are on average 1C warmer than they were a century ago. Australia is a “burning, drying” continent, according to the report.

The Government needs to get its head out of the sand and get serious about a changing climate.


6 Comments Posted

  1. Hey rural johnny, speaking of specifics, you stated in another thread that it was fair to factor in the hidden costs of fossil fuels into their pricing. This was a welcom admission and yet when pressed repeatedly, you refused to give any kind of indication how much of a surcharge should be added to account for these hidden costs.

    Are you willing to be more forthcoming on this professed position of yours?

    Or was it just empty talk?

  2. And yet Warren Buffet- who owns 9 Insurance companies (two of them very large) said this in an interview on MNSBC;
    Interviewer: How has the latest rise of extreme weather events changed the calculus on Ajit Jain in reinsurance?
    Warren Buffett: “The public has the impression, because there has been so much talk about climate, that the events of the last ten years have been unusual. …They haven’t. We’ve been remarkably free of hurricanes in the last five years. If you’ve been writing hurricane insurance it’s been all profit.”
    Warren Buffett: “So far the effects of climate change, if any, have not affected… the insurance market.
    It has made no difference. I calculate the probabilities in terms of catastrophes no differently than a few years ago… that may change in ten years.”
    Warren Buffett: “I love apocalyptic predictions, because … they probably do affect rates…”
    Warren Buffett: “Writing US hurricane insurance has been very profitable in the last five or six years… now the rates have come down and we’re not writing much, if anything, on Hurricanes in the US at all. The biggest cat risk right now.. I think is earthquakes in New Zealand.”

    I have seen the odd Press Release from Munich Re used as justification of “climate change”. Well talk about a vested interest…

  3. Just premature. The first key to the problems with the environment is that there is a tight relationship between them and the problems with the economy. The monetary system in particular, drives a great deal of the economic sentiment that growth is a sacrament.

    A lot of what you say is good sense though, and I’ll be my usual noisy self, but the fact is that we can’t do anything BUT “call for” this that or the other. Without a good run by labour we will still be stuck out in the heat.

    The bottom line is that for us to prevail, New Zealanders have to understand things a lot better than most are willing to take the trouble to do. I have talked to a lot of people here now, and there is nothing in it. A fair few would rather hang with their mates than vote, and have no issues (that they know of) to vote on as a result.

    They DO, because they grizzle about stuff all the time, but to do the one thing they CAN do about it all is just too hard.

  4. Always it seems, the Green Party is calling for this or that… Fair enough to call for those things but how much more could you guys do?

    In an election year, why can you not give electors a real sense that the Green economy can help us to adapt to climate change! Can work to mitigate the downside! Can be economically positive! And that the Green Party is the future government to do all that?

    Sounds simple to say I know. And the reality is more convoluted. But I see too little in the way of hard, specific policy to get electors thinking about the consequences of climate change and then seeing that there is at least one political party doing more than talking about it.

    Or am I being unfair?

  5. Good luck getting this Government to take any action in this space. Unless we can demonstrate some short term economic or commercial gain we are just p***ing into the wind.

  6. I have asked you before and, in the light of this posting I am asking you again. As a political party with, presumably, aspirations to govern the country can you let us know what measures you would put in place to combat ‘climate change’, how much they would cost and what effect they would have upon the climate.

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