Friday, 28 April 2017

New report highlights need for coastal homeowners, government, and the insurance industry to plan for climate change

by Susan Livengood, Director of Partnerships for the Deep South National Science Challenge.

As New Zealand counts the cost of widespread flooding this month, a new report identifies key questions we need to answer to better prepare our coastal communities for climate change.

The Insurance, housing and climate adaptation report, commissioned by the Deep South National Science Challenge, highlights issues New Zealand may face as it grapples with “increasingly severe risks” for coastal housing – particularly sea level rise which is expected to exacerbate the frequency and impacts of flooding and storm surges.

It was hard not to think of this report as I drove along the Thames Coast Road in the wake of last week’s storms. Huge boulders lay on the road, pohutukawa trees ripped from the earth by landslides lay dying in the sea, and the splash of waves on the road reminded me just how susceptible to sea level rise this area is.