City 'not exempt' from climate change

Dr Andy Reisinger, of Wellington, outlines, at the University of Otago yesterday, projected risks...
Dr Andy Reisinger, of Wellington, outlines, at the University of Otago yesterday, projected risks arising from climate change. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
There is no room for complacency about the likely effects of climate change on Dunedin and Otago, visiting climate researchers Dr Andy Reisinger and Dr Judy Lawrence said in the city yesterday.

Dr Reisinger was a co-ordinating lead author for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

He previously held positions at the New Zealand Climate Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington.

Dr Lawrence, also of Wellington, is an adjunct research associate at the institute.

The two researchers yesterday gave a public lecture at the University of Otago on the meaning for communities of the ''latest climate change assessments''.

More than 100 people attended.

Dr Reisinger said the impact of climate change had become significantly clearer in the recent international research which had been referred to in the latest IPCC report.

The associated United Nations process was ''really important'' for smaller countries such as New Zealand because it gave them a chance to have significant influence.

The latest report had highlighted increased future risk of droughts and of ''wildfires'' in some parts of New Zealand and Australia.

Dunedin and Otago were ''not exempt'' from climate change effects, he said in an interview.

Dr Lawrence said some parts of Dunedin, such as St Kilda, were low-lying and could become prone to flooding in future if there was significant sea level rise through global climate change.

Dunedin faced growing coastal challenges, including to assets such as the sea wall at St Clair.

And droughts and fire risks were likely to increase in some parts of inland Otago, she said.

Yesterday's lecture was given in association with the Otago Energy Research Centre and the university's Centre for Sustainability.

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