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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Climate Change arrow IPCC Report Puts Pressure On Local Government
IPCC Report Puts Pressure On Local Government PDF Print
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Articles - Climate Change
Written by IPENZ Engineers NZ, Scoop   
Friday, 13 April 2007

Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) President Jeff Jones says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report puts local government under additional pressure to manage climate change impacts on their communities as well as minimising potential rates increases.

"Local authorities are already under pressure to minimise rates increases", Mr Jones says. "However, as much as 80 per cent of council revenue is already committed to infrastructure and services. Any attempt to hold down rates rises may risk plans to adapt or protect their communities against climatic events".

Mr Jones says climate change has introduced a whole new set of considerations for engineers working within constrained budgets. These engineers may not be able to guarantee their communities full protection. He also says plans designed by engineers to protect their communities from a one in 100 year event may now only protect against less severe events. Northland, Matata, and Manawatu are examples of the long term effects of extreme climatic events on communities.

"No matter how good the engineering, some residual risk will always remain - councils must therefore create resilient communities through preparedness and disaster recovery planning".

Owners of homes built on coastal sand spits, on river flood plains or on steep hillsides expect that their properties can be indemnified from the effects of major climatic events through insurance.

The IPENZ President also flagged that home insurances may under-go drastic changes in response to climate change. Owners of homes built on coastal sand spits, on river flood plains or on steep hillsides expect that their properties can be indemnified from the effects of major climatic events through insurance. Insurance costs are often averaged over all property owners, so homes in high risk areas receive an indirect subsidy from other property owners.

"Ultimately New Zealanders will pay for climate change - either through insurance, or rates rises to improve protection, or through meeting the costs of recovery after events that could not be isolated from the community"

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