Climate change impacts in Aotearoa

“Those who deny it [climate change] should go to the scientists and ask them” – Pope Francis

Last year a ship crossed the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time in history. In Aotearoa temperatures and humidity in Auckland resemble a typical day in Singapore. Cyclones bare down on us as a matter of routine. What impact will this have on our future?
According to the Ministry for the Environment Manatū Mō Te Taiao we will see:
– Higher temperatures – greater increases in the North Island than the South, with the greatest warming in the northeast (although the amount of warming in New Zealand is likely to be lower than the global average)
– Rising sea levels
– More frequent extreme weather events such as droughts (especially in the east of New Zealand) and floods
– A change in rainfall patterns with increased summer rainfall in the north and east of the North Island and increased winter rainfall in many parts of the South Island
For a large city like Auckland this will mean a high demand for electricity in summer because of an increase in demand for air-conditioning systems. Our water resources will be strained as farmers will struggle with demand. This will be as a result of longer summers with high temperatures. Couple that with lower rainfall and you have a reduction in soil moisture and groundwater supplies. Cape town is an example of extreme water shortage. The Indian Cricket Team were asked to keep their showers to 2 minutes during their stay in Cape town.
What can we do?
– Choose a power company that generates at least half its power from renewables, wind or solar
– Invest in energy-efficient home appliances, use the energy “star rating” (Energy Rating Label)
– Shop wisely so that you consume all the groceries you purchase
– Save water, don’t let the tap run while brushing your teeth

As Catherine McAuley wrote in a letter to Sr M de Sales White February 28, 1841, “The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow. Let us take one day only in hands, at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow, thus we may hope to get on taking short, careful steps, not great strides”.

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