Council backs sea level rise report

27 November 2014

Wellington City Council welcomes the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright’s report into the challenges facing New Zealand due to sea level rise (Changing climate and rising seas: understanding the science.)

Last month the Council released its own report, 'Sea Level Rise Options Analysis', to further understand and plan for the impact of climate change on Wellington.

Wellington’s Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, says these reports are an important step toward rising to the challenge of sea-level rise in Wellington and New Zealand.

“These reports are a starting point for Wellingtonians to consider what is important to our city, what we need to think about and plan for the future. While WCC is an important leader in addressing climate change it’s an issue we can’t tackle alone,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

“Increasing the understanding of climate change is important.  It helps individuals and business think about what actions they will take in relation to their property.

“Wellington is continuing to reduce emissions and our energy use is comparatively positive.  Wellingtonians use 58 Gigajoules of electricity per person annually. This compares with 81 gigajoules for an average European city and 228 gigajoules for an average Australasian city.”

The WCC commissioned analysis looks at how the capital could be affected by rising sea levels over the next century. It broadly covers cultural, economic, environmental and social values, looking at the potential impacts for different scenarios.

The Council’s Community Resilience Portfolio Leader Councillor Malcolm Sparrow says, “The Council is prioritising Wellington’s resilience and like all cities, there is much to be done. Cities are at the frontline of building resilience to natural hazards in the face of climate change.”

Councillor David Lee, Portfolio Leader for Climate Change, says Wellington City Council is already working on a number of resilience initiatives to best prepare the city for future climate change risks.

 “As a council, we’re already working with the community through our city planning and through initiatives arising from the 2013 Climate Change Action Plan – such as the Water Sensitive Urban Design Guide, the Smart Energy Challenge, and working with the community to find a long-term solution for the storm damaged Island Bay seawall.”

Wellington has taken significant steps to reduce our emissions and continue to do so. The western side of Wellington has been developed with two large-scale wind farms. We have the highest commuting rates of walking and public transport in Australia/New Zealand for a city and our emissions are starting to trend downwards from 2001 levels.