Ignoring the future? Sea level rise and NZ’s planning guidelines

A question-time exchange in the New Zealand Parliament a few days ago seemed worth drawing to the attention of Hot Topic’s readers. Green MP Kennedy Graham (pictured) put this question to the Minister for Climate Change Issues:

Is he concerned by a recent report of an international team of scientists that, even with a two degree Celsius rise in average global temperature, future generations could face sea levels of up to 12 to 22 metres higher than at present?

Kate Wilkinson, the Minister of Conservation, replied on behalf of the Minister for Climate Change Issues:

Yes. The estimates of sea level rise in this report are in line with estimates from the science community over the past few years. But I note that the author himself puts these estimates in context by stating that such changes could take centuries or millennia and that “The current trajectory for the 21st century global rise of sea level is 2 to 3 feet …”.

Graham’s follow-up question pointed out that the current Government guidelines for councils for sea level rise for 2100 are lower than the level estimated by scientists and asked whether the need for correction would be admitted.

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Oxfam NZ Election Debate: Climate change

Environment minister Nick Smith, Labour’s David Parker and the Green Party’s Kennedy Graham debate climate policy in these edited highlights from the first of Oxfam NZ’s election debates, held last week in Auckland. Debate ranged from whether New Zealand can become carbon-free to the likelihood of a cross-party agreement on long-term issues that last more than an election cycle, and from the effect of investing in roads to the question of bringing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

More on the debate from Oxfam NZ’s Jason Garman below the fold…

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