• Insurers praise climate move

Insurers are backing the Government’s Climate Change Response Amendment Bill.

Governments will be required to reduce biological methane by at least 10% by 2030 and between 24% and 47% by 2050. 

All other emissions  must reach "net zero" by 2050 to limit global warming increases to 1.5C.

The Insurance Council was pleased to see the bill introduced to Parliament.

Chief executive Tim Grafton said the organisation was committed to working with the Government on understanding and adapting to risk to reduce the cost of climate change for communities and New Zealand as a whole.

He said insurers had a lot of knowledge about the risks posed by climate change, including increased frequency and severity of storms and changes in flood risks.

"We are especially pleased to see that bill will place a legal obligation on the Government to support adaptation initiatives,” he said.

"Mitigation is simply not enough on its own; even if all carbon emissions ceased today, we would still be dealing with the effects of a changing climate for years to come."

Figures presented by UMR at the 2018 ICNZ conference showed a majority of people thought climate change was concerning or very concerning.

"According to preliminary research from NIWA, there are 125,600 buildings and $38 billion of replacement costs within 1m of sea level rise and there is near certainty that the sea will rise a further 0.2m to 0.3m in the next 20 years," said Grafton. 

"With these sea level rises come increasing risks from storms and coastal inundation, as well as the increased risks of ever higher water tables and sunny day flooding."

Adaptation actions can include improving infrastructure such as stormwater systems, moving properties away from coastal areas and floodplains and not consenting new properties in these areas, and building new residential and commercial buildings to be more resilient to a changing climate.

"Failing to adapt will cost us greatly and the longer we delay, the more that cost will increase,"  Grafton said.

IAG New Zealand chief executive Craig Olsen also praised the bill.

 “The Government is not just focussed on the target of keeping climate change below 1.5C, it is also taking firm action to ensure New Zealand is ready to adapt to the climate change that is coming at us.

 “NIWA predictions already point to tens of thousands of properties, worth billions of dollars, that will be under threat in New Zealand with climate change of just 1C – we need to be ready for that challenge.”

He said IAG was a founding member of the Climate Leaders Coalition, which also supported the bill. IAG is committed to reducing climate change and supporting adaptation.

 “IAG hosted a Climate Leaders Coalition workshop on climate change adaptation in Auckland last month, attended by Climate Change Minister James Shaw and more than 80 business leaders.

 “I mentioned at the end of this event that when it comes to climate change in New Zealand, we can’t rely on the old adage ‘she’ll be right’. She actually won't be right, we need to take action.”

June 2019

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