The Changing Climate

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

The secret life of puddles: their value to nature is subtle, but hugely important

Guest Author Mar 30, 2021

Gregory Moore, The University of Melbourne It’s official: Australians endured the coldest, wettest summer in at least five years thanks to La Niña, a climate phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean. Before we knew it, autumn rolled in bringing more rain. Tragically, it led to widespread flooding across New South Wales, but elsewhere it helped to create more puddles. Read More

Time to make nature studies a compulsory school subject – before it’s too late

Guest Author Mar 22, 2021

Matthew Adams, University of Brighton The UK government is reported to be seriously considering making “nature studies” a compulsory subject for all pupils. It’s a move that was recommended in the recent government-commissioned Dasgupta review, a detailed analysis of the “economics of biodiversity”. The review is long and technical, but in among the tables and statistics, there are … Read More

Why New Zealand should invest in smart rail before green hydrogen to decarbonise transport

Guest Author Mar 16, 2021

Susan Krumdieck, University of Canterbury Green hydrogen is being touted as an alternative to fossil fuels in New Zealand. The government has invested NZ$8.4 million to explore its potential and $19.9 million in a hydrogen energy facility. Globally, 6% of natural gas and 2% of coal are used to produce industrial hydrogen, contributing carbon dioxide emissions … Read More

When climate change and other emergencies threaten where we live, how will we manage our retreat?

Guest Author Mar 08, 2021

Christina Hanna, University of Waikato; Bruce Glavovic, Massey University, and Iain White, University of Waikato Despite living in dynamic environments and facing an uncertain future due to climate change, New Zealanders generally expect their land and property rights will endure indefinitely. But little stays the same. As last week’s offshore earthquakes and tsunami alerts reminded us, our coasts and … Read More

The Biden Administration Increases the Social Cost of Carbon

Guest Author Mar 04, 2021

Ramin Skibba To turn the tide against climate change, on the day of his inauguration President Joe Biden signed an executive order instituting a raft of policy changes and initiatives. One directed his team to reassess the social cost of carbon. This seemingly obscure concept puts a number on how much damage a metric ton of carbon … Read More

NZ’s Climate Change Commission needs to account for the huge potential health benefits of reducing emissions

Guest Author Mar 03, 2021

Nick Wilson, University of Otago; Caroline Shaw, University of Otago; Jude Ball, University of Otago; Michael Baker, University of Otago; Simon Hales, University of Otago, and Tim Chambers, University of Otago The Climate Change Commission’s recent draft report and recommendations has helped to kick-start an extremely important process. But, as others have argued, there remain serious questions about … Read More

New Zealand’s COVID-19 stimulus is a ‘lost opportunity’ to move towards a low-emissions economy

Guest Author Feb 26, 2021

David Hall, Auckland University of Technology and Nina Ives, Auckland University of Technology In every crisis there is opportunity. Even during New Zealand’s strictest COVID-19 lockdown last year, many people felt the pandemic offered a chance to tackle other global crises, especially climate change. The government responded to the pandemic with an extraordinary package of monetary and fiscal … Read More

NZ’s smoking rates dropped dramatically thanks to a hard-hitting campaign. Could we do the same to bring emissions down?

Guest Author Feb 26, 2021

Caroline Shaw, University of Otago New Zealand has the highest per capita car ownership in the OECD, and reducing emissions from the transport sector is seen as a wicked problem. As part of its recently released advice for the government’s first emissions reduction plan, the Climate Change Commission is calling for a public education campaign … Read More

The Enduring Mystery of Critchfield’s Spruce

Guest Author Feb 17, 2021

Zach St. George The first and only time Steve Jackson spoke to Bill Critchfield was in the late 1980s. Critchfield, an authority on the conifers of North America, was at home recovering from a heart attack. Jackson, then a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University, had called looking for advice on how to tell jack pine from Virginia pine. Jackson … Read More