Climate change joint committee gets green light

Horizons Regional Council approved the establishment of a Joint Climate Action Committee for the region at yesterday’s Council meeting.

The new Joint Committee, which will include representatives from iwi, Horizons and seven territorial authorities, will oversee action on climate change across the region. 

Horizons Regional Council Chair Rachel Keedwell says climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face.

“While we are uncertain about the pace and scale of climate change, we do know that the Horizons Region is already being affected by increasing temperatures, changes to rainfall patterns, river flows, increased drought, and ongoing sea-level rise.

“This Joint Committee has been established to ensure an effective local government response to climate change in our region. The Committee’s objectives include the development of a regional Climate Action Plan for adoption by the member councils.

“A changing climate affects our economy and way of life. By working together we can make our communities more resilient and reduce the overall costs associated with climate change,” Chair Keedwell says.

Horizons and the region’s city and district councils signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2019, undertaking to work together in response to climate change. A regional risk assessment to identify climate-related impacts is currently underway. The Joint Committee will receive the risk assessment’s finding later this year.

The Joint Committee’s inaugural meeting will be held at Horizons Regional Council on 30 March 2021.

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Responding to climate change touches most of Horizons’ activities. Horizons’ work in this area to date includes managing the use of natural resources and effects of development on freshwater, land, air and our coasts, pest management, land and passenger transport initiatives, and avoiding further risks from natural hazards such as flooding.

Horizons proposed 2021-31 Long-term Plan is due out for consultation from 26 March. It includes a proposed new activity for climate change and recommendations for significant increase in resourcing to tackle climate change in the Horizons Region.