New Zealand climate plan includes relocation of some homes – WSB-TV Channel 2

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — (AP) — The New Zealand government released its first-ever climate adaptation plan on Wednesday, which includes the possibility of moving some communities to higher ground.

But the six-year plan, which is nearly 200 pages, lacks important details, including how much the changes will cost and who will pay.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw told reporters that around 70,000 coastal homes in New Zealand were at risk from rising seas and many more inland homes were at risk from flooding rivers. He said New Zealand had been slow to adapt to climate change, which would end up costing more over time.

“I am frustrated that over the past three decades successive governments have paid no real attention to the challenges we face from the effects of climate change,” Shaw said. “We had to start somewhere.”

The National Adaptation Plan foresees possible relocation of low-lying homes and assets as rising seas and increased storms make flooding more frequent.

“In some highly exposed areas, the risk from natural hazards and climate impacts may become intolerable,” the report said. “The flooding of buildings and infrastructure will begin to occur, resulting in direct damage and loss of certain facilities like roads or other vital services, and open public spaces.”

The report says a “managed retreat” from these areas will often be seen as a last resort, to be used in conjunction with other adaptations such as installing dykes and raising houses on stilts.

Shaw said adaptation costs will be borne by a combination of landlords, insurers, banks, local councils and central government. He said the government is taking hardship into account and will target aid to those least able to pay for the changes themselves.

The plan also aims to make granular climate change data more widely available, which in some cases could impact insurance rates and house prices.

Luke Harrington, lecturer in climate change at the University of Waikato, said in a statement that the report was a timely reminder that New Zealand had to deal not only with rising seas, but also with other climate impacts such as more severe droughts and extreme conditions. precipitation.

“This National Adaptation Plan is an important first step towards addressing some of these challenges, although some details remain lacking,” he said.

The adaptation plan comes two months after the government published a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which includes a trial program to help low-income people get rid of their old gas guzzlers and replacing them with cleaner hybrid or electric cars.

The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research said the first six months of 2022 were the second hottest on record in New Zealand, with average temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), about 1.2°C (2.2°F) above normal.

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