Climate change is not one of the Big Four issues dealt with in the One Plan, but it is an overarching issue for the regional community and touches on many of the keystone issues.

The Problem:
There is conclusive evidence that our climate is changing. The Region can expect (New Zealand Climate Change Office, 2005):
  • a 30-50 cm rise in sea level in the next 100 years
  • an increase of up to 3ºC in temperature in the next 70-100 years
  •  more rainfall in the western part of the Region and less in the east 
  • more westerly winds
  • an increase in more extreme weather events – floods, droughts and high winds.
Climate change could result in both positive and negative effects for the Region. People are likely to enjoy the benefits of warmer winters with fewer frosts but hotter summers will bring increased risks of heat stress, drought and possibly the introduction of new pests and subtropical diseases. The Region is likely to experience more frequent heavy rainfalls and floods. Changing weather patterns may provide new horticultural or cropping opportunities, but may also impact on biodiversity by affecting the balance of ecosystems. Species that are already under threat or are at the limit of their climatic range may not be able to survive.

Proposed Approach:
The Regional Council’s primary focus is to help the Region adapt to the effects of climate change by:
  • promoting resilient land-management practices under the SLUI, which will reduce the effects of climate change and provide carbon sinks at the same time
  • managing water quality within a values framework responsive to climate change
  • managing water quantity according to minimum flows and a core allocation framework responsive to climate change
  • planning for changes to the scale and frequency of natural hazards.
Look For:
Objectives, policies and methods that directly or indirectly address climate change in Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 9.