Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, April 6th, 2017 - 44 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, science - Tags: Climate Impact Disclosure Statement, future-proofing, sea level rise, south dunedin
In a week that brought more serious flooding to the North Island, Stuff reports that the University of Otago, the Dunedin City Council, and the Otago Regional Council have compiled a database of areas in Dunedin at risk from sea level rise.
Dunedin has more houses under the 50cm above sea level mark than any other city in NZ. The new database looks at places less than 1 metre above sea level and includes flood hazards, how water might pond in different scenarios, house ages, demographic details, social assets and history. The University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability has made a simplified version of the interactive map for the public that can show the different data.
Dr Stephenson says asking how much sea-level may rise and how soon is important.
“But it shouldn’t overshadow the human side of the question, which is, ‘who may be affected and how should we respond?’.”
Dunedin City Council’s Second Generation District Plan proposal is for all new buildings in South Dunedin and other coastal areas to be relocatable. Developers are objecting of course, and it may be limited to residential buildings under 9m. It seems like a no brainer to me but I’m guessing most of the objection is because of the impact on the potentially lucrative development of the Otago Harbour waterfront.
It’s not just sea level rise. Dunedin is at risk from large rainfall events and these are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. Given the number of floods that the North Island has seen in the past month, now might be a good idea for similar mapping and database creation to be happening across the country (if anyone knows of other mapping, please link below).
Dunedin City Council commissioned a Peak Oil Vulnerability Assessment in 2010. It looks like Dunedin might be leading the way for NZ on preparing for the world we now live in and I’m guessing that South Dunedin residents in particular are having to grapple with the initial direct-impact realities of CC more than most in NZ. It’s harder to avoid seeing the climate for the weather when bylaws are about to affect your home and it’s not even raining. This isn’t flood prevention or even mitigation, it’s first steps in permanent change to how society functions. There is so much that needs to be done on auditing infrastructure and incorporating climate change into town and country planning. This is a start at least.
It’s also critical that we don’t think only in terms of adaptation, that we keep centred on mitigating the worst effects of CC and build that into everything we do. The Greens have a Bill that would require all government legislation to be considered within a Climate Impact Disclosure Statement and how the legislation would impact on climate and our GHG emission responsibilities. This would keep MPs and the public informed, give opposition parties more information to hold government to account, and would ensure that climate is a key consideration in the running of the country. Local bodies need to be stepping up for this too, so that it becomes normal for climate change to be at the front of our minds and how we manage our collective resources and communities.
The Green Party’s Legislation (Climate Impacts Disclosure Statement) Amendment Bill (draft for consultation)
Moderator note: climate change denial is not welcome here and will be moderated accordingly. I’m also aware that we could have big debate about whether 1m is a useful setting for councils and other bodies to work with. Please try and relate that back to the post, and let’s try and do something useful other than just talk about what is wrong.