Climate Change


Our changing climate poses unique challenges to the Otago region, but it also provides new opportunities. It is time to focus on building a more resilient Otago that is dedicated to reducing emissions and responding proactively to the impacts of climate change.  


The impact of climate change in our region will result in new risks and challenges, but also opportunities. These challenges and opportunities will be widespread, influencing our natural and urban environments, our economy, society and culture. 


What does climate change mean for Otago?






What do these terms mean?

Our approach to climate change requires us to reduce our emissions and remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to mitigate the impacts of our changing climate. Additionally, we must adapt to the changes that are already in motion.


Mitigation: this means making changes to decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses we are releasing into the atmosphere.

Adaptation: this means building the resilience of our communities by helping them to be more prepared and reducing exposure to risk from drought, flooding, wildfire, storms, sea level rise and other natural hazards.

Sequestration: this means using nature-based solutions – such as tree planting and wetland restoration – to remove carbon that has already been released into the atmosphere.




What are the risks that Otago will face as a result of climate change? How will climate change impact our people, natural enviuronment, built infrastructures and economy? Read the full report here.

What will Otago's climate look like in the future? To find out what climate factors like temperature and rainfall could be like as far ahead as 2100, read this climate change report.

What are the main risks New Zealand faces as a result of climate change? Find out here.

New Zealand needs to be better prepared to adapt to the effects of climate change. To help achieve this, in November 2016 the Government asked a group of technical experts across the public and private sectors to provide advice on how New Zealand could adapt to the effects of climate change. Find out more here.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act provides a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies.

  • Farming creates methane and nitrous oxide gases. MPI researched ways to reduce these emissions. Find out more here.


  • Action on agricultural emissions: a discussion document on proposals to address greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.


  • Launched in November 2018, the One Billion Trees Fund offers $240 million in grants and funding to landowners, organisations and communities who want to plant trees, revert land to native forest or improve the way we grow and plant trees.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations' body for assessing the science related to climate change.

This synthesis report provides and overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change.

Climate change is not new to us. We are working to better understand and reduce the impact of climate change, and we share this information with our community and local city and district councils.


Local Government Leaders Climate Change Declaration 

We are a signatory of the Local Government Leaders Climate Change Declaration, which highlights an urgent need for responsive leadership and a holistic approach to climate change. 

To find out more about what this declaration means and what we’ve committed to, visit Local Government NZ.


Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group 

Our General Manager Operations, Dr Gavin Palmer, was part of the climate change adaptation technical working group (2016-2018), which was formed by the government in 2016 to deliver guidance on how New Zealand could adapt to the effects of climate change. The group is made up of technical experts across the public and private sectors and has produced two reports: a stocktake report and a recommendations report. 

For more information about the climate change adaptation technical working group and their reports visit the MfE website.


Our Council 

In a council meeting on 14 August 2019, our councillors passed a resolution that: 

Agrees that Otago must continue to prepare for the certainty that climate change will present emergency situations in many areas of our region 

Will therefore continue to give high priority to adaptation to climate change, especially in our flood and drainage schemes and in South Dunedin, and to minimising our carbon emissions 

In 2015, New Zealand signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement, which committed NZ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.



  • Zero Carbon Amendment Bill  introduced in May 2019, its aim is to provide a stronger framework around the national response on mitigation and adaptation



  • Interim Climate Change Committee – the ICCC provides independent evidence and analysis, and has reported to the Minister for Climate Change on reducing agricultural emissions and on planning for the transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2035



  • Transition Hub – provides advice to Government on how we transition to a low emission economy



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