The Changing Climate

NZ’s clean car discount is a turn in the right direction, but how much will it drive consumer demand?

Guest Author Jun 22, 2021

Basil Sharp, University of Auckland   New Zealand faces two enormous challenges if it is to meet its international climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement: biogenic methane emissions from agriculture, and carbon emissions from industry and transport. For now, there seems little prospect of significantly reducing agricultural emissions, short of reducing actual livestock numbers, because the technology is … Read More

As more climate migrants cross borders seeking refuge, laws will need to adapt

Guest Author Jun 11, 2021

Katharine M. Donato, Georgetown University; Amanda Carrico, University of Colorado Boulder; and Jonathan M. Gilligan, Vanderbilt University   Climate change is upending people’s lives around the world, but when droughts, floods or sea level rise force them to leave their countries, people often find closed borders and little assistance. Part of the problem is that today’s laws, regulations and … Read More

Why Indigenous knowledge should be an essential part of how we govern the world’s oceans

Guest Author Jun 10, 2021

Meg Parsons, University of Auckland and Lara Taylor, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research   Our moana (ocean) is in a state of unprecedented ecological crisis. Multiple, cumulative impacts include pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, drilling and climate change. All affect the health of both marine life and coastal communities. To reverse the decline and avoid reaching tipping points, we must adopt more … Read More

The idea of ‘green growth’ is flawed. We must find ways of using and wasting less energy

Guest Author Jun 01, 2021

Michael (Mike) Joy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington   As countries explore ways of decarbonising their economies, the mantra of “green growth” risks trapping us in a spiral of failures. Green growth is an oxymoron. Growth requires more material extraction, which in turn requires more energy. The fundamental problem we face in trying to replace fossil … Read More

Climate policy that relies on a shift to electric cars risks entrenching existing inequities

Guest Author Jun 01, 2021

Alistair Woodward, University of Auckland; Kirsty Wild, University of Auckland, and Rhys Jones, University of Auckland   At the end of this month, the Climate Change Commission will deliver its final advice to government, outlining how New Zealand can reach its climate targets. New Zealand has committed to reaching net zero emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide … Read More

Most people consider climate change a serious issue, but rank other problems as more important. That affects climate policy

Guest Author May 20, 2021

Sam Crawley, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington   Straight denial of climate change is now relatively rare. Most people believe it is happening and is a serious problem. But many rank other issues — healthcare and the economy — as more important. This means people can’t be easily classified as either deniers or believers when it … Read More

The outlook for coral reefs remains grim unless we cut emissions fast — new research

Guest Author May 11, 2021

Christopher Cornwall, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington and Verena Schoepf, University of Amsterdam   The twin stress factors of ocean warming and acidification increasingly threaten coral reefs worldwide, but relatively little is known about how various climate scenarios will affect coral reef growth rates. Our research, published today, paints a grim picture. We estimate that even … Read More

Climate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangerous trap

Guest Author Apr 24, 2021

James Dyke, University of Exeter; Robert Watson, University of East Anglia, and Wolfgang Knorr, Lund University Sometimes realisation comes in a blinding flash. Blurred outlines snap into shape and suddenly it all makes sense. Underneath such revelations is typically a much slower-dawning process. Doubts at the back of the mind grow. The sense of confusion that things cannot be made … Read More

Marine life is fleeing the equator to cooler waters. History tells us this could trigger a mass extinction event

Guest Author Apr 09, 2021

Anthony Richardson, The University of Queensland; Chhaya Chaudhary, University of Auckland; David Schoeman, University of the Sunshine Coast, and Mark John Costello, University of Auckland The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The … Read More

Managing retreat: why New Zealand is drafting a new law to enable communities to move away from climate risks

Guest Author Apr 07, 2021

Catherine Iorns, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington The government’s recently announced overhaul of major environmental legislation will result in a new law focused solely on climate change adaptation. The 30-year-old Resource Management Act (RMA) was groundbreaking when it was passed in 1991 — the first in the world to be based on the concept of … Read More