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Articles - Climate Change
Written by Simon Wilson, Metro, Feb 2008   
Thursday, 20 March 2008

Photographer: Gareth Eyres (Images by Martin Thomas)

Simon Wilson reports on what climate change might mean for Auckland.

Climate change is already causing an escalating chain of disasters. The global average temperature goes up just 2C from pre-industrial levels, that escalation may become unstoppable. If this happens, the ice in Greenland and Antarctica will melt, along with the permafrost of Siberia. The Amazonian rainforest will burn, and the deltas of the Ganges, Nile, Mekong and other great rivers of the world will be drowned. The deserts of North Africa will spread into Europe. Most of the world’s species will become extinct.The rise in sea level we show here will not happen in your lifetime, or that of your children or grandchildren. It may not happen for hundreds of years. But what we do now — and in the next 20 or 30 years — will probably determine whether it happens at all. Scientists disagree on exactly how long we’ve got and how much we have to do. What they don’t disagree on — with the exception of a very few — is that 2C is the tipping point. We could reach it as soon as 2030.

Auckland in 2050 - a snapshot:
At Omaha the storm breaches the new sea walls, putting hundreds of properties under water. The Rodney District Council, bankrupted by expenditure on the walls, does what it can with civil defence.

It’s not about the weather. Not in Auckland. Conditions here are likely to get a little warmer and overall a little wetter. In fact, strictly from a weather point of view, climate change will probably make New Zealand, and particularly Auckland, one of the world’s most desirable places to live — relative to what happens everywhere else.

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