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The 5th report of the International Panel on Climate Change was the most unequivocal yet in its finding that climate change is a real phenomenon and that human activity is affecting the worlds climate, atmosphere and oceans.

Local authorities have statutory responsibilities to adapt to, and help the community to adapt to the effects of climate change. Regardless of any legal obligations the potential impacts of climate change on the frequency of adverse events, water security, coastal communities and natural ecosystems are serious enough that shutting our eyes to the effects of climate change would represent poor stewardship on our part.

The report that follows surveys the action that local authorities can and are taking to adapt, and help their communities adapt to the effects of climate change. It is intended to serve both as a reminder and a stimulus for your own thinking. We deliberately kept the discussion that follows short and practical, and have steered away from an in-depth discussion of the science.

In writing this report we were well aware of developments in the policy environment such as the Emissions Trading Scheme review and New Zealands determination of its Independent Nationally Determined Contribution. This activity has a focus on mitigation, and is well stocked with contributors. We chose to focus on adaptation as something the sector will have to grapple with (and is).

Taituarã thanks Blair Dickie, Maryanne McLeod, Cameron McIntosh and Ronnie Cooper for their contributions to this report.

This report is the second in what will be an ongoing series of thought leadership reports from Taituarã. We welcome thoughts from the sector as to future topics for exploration.