New report links 2013 drought and climate change

A new report on global extreme weather events confirms climate change was a factor in last year’s crippling North Island drought.

“Scientists are generally wary of linking single weather events to climate change, so this is a significant acknowledgement of the role man-made climate change played what was one of the worst droughts in New Zealand’s history,” said Green Party climate change spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.

The report, “Explaining extreme events of 2013 from a climate perspective”, was published overnight in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

In a section entitled “The role of anthropogenic climate change in the 2013 drought over the North Island, New Zealand” it says models show “meteorological drivers were more favourable for drought as a result of anthropogenic climate change”.

“The 2013 drought cost the New Zealand economy billions of dollars,” said Dr Graham.

“We should be doing everything we can to avoid a repeat, yet National continues to sit on its hands over climate change.

“Under National, New Zealand’s net emissions have risen 20 per cent and are projected to rise by another 50 percent in the next 10 years.

“National has failed to implement both effective climate change mitigation policies, and appropriate adaptation measures.

“As a result, New Zealand’s emissions continue to climb, and there is no national strategy to deal with the increasing threat of extreme weather.

“Over six years in office, National has failed New Zealanders on climate, and unless it changes tack in its third term, it risks further damage, including the fallout from extreme weather events,” said Dr Graham.

The Green Party would scrap National’s failed emissions trading scheme and introduce a fair and transparent tax on carbon, the revenue from which would be returned to households and businesses in the form of tax cuts.

The Green Party also has a range of complementary measures to help New Zealand transition to a low-carbon economy and reduce its emissions.

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