Whether it is the effects of the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods, Cyclone Gabrielle, or the droughts gripping the South Island, the impacts of climate change are beginning to come into sharper focus. The urgent need to mitigate and adapt to future changes to our climate has never been more apparent. In this update we talk about the latest 'Synthesis Report' from the IPCC, the second New Zealand Emissions Reduction Plan, and our upcoming Climate Change Forum.
Source: IPCC Figure SPM.1
We're not going to tell you again
In contrast to the usually muted tone of previous IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, this Synthesis Report of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) candidly urges that it is "now or never" to take drastic action as 2030 nears and the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius slips away from us.
The Synthesis Report says that prioritising “deep, rapid, and sustained mitigation and accelerated implementation of adaptation actions in this decade would reduce future losses and damages related to climate change for humans and ecosystems” and ensure a liveable future more at one with nature for our tamariki and mokopuna.
The infographic above, which has been much shared and hailed for its clarity online, illustrates how different the experience of climate change will be for older generations compared with that of their grandchildren under differing emissions scenarios.
It's already time to plan how we reduce our emissions in the late 2020s
As the Synthesis Report highlights, by the time the IPCC produces their next report in 2030 it will be too late if we haven't collectively already moved to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – placing many of us and most certainly our mokopuna into the intensely dangerous purple zone illustrated above.
In terms of making a difference, the Climate Change Commission will be consulting on the second Emissions Reduction Plan which covers the years 2026-2030 from the 26 April 2023 to 20 June 2023.
Given the number of actions directly impacting local government in the first Emissions Reduction Plan, it will be important for you to respond to this consultation so that the second Emissions Reduction Plan is practical and easy to implement.
Uniting local government to secure positive change
Collectively, the local government sector has extraordinary potential to implement change. In fact, central government relies on our sector to achieve its own goals. Reducing emissions locally and building community resilience by the end of this decade is crucial. Right now, we need action.
Our Climate Change Forum taking place from 20-22 June 2023 offers an opportunity to share best practice and hear from a range of experts. The forum's programme will be posted online in the coming weeks.