Climate change  |  19 Feb 2021

Collective action is at the heart of a draft strategy that has been put together to shape Christchurch’s response to the challenges and opportunities of climate change.

The Draft Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Change Strategy looks at:

  • The areas we need to focus on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions locally.
  • How we can plan for and adapt to life in a changing climate.

Developed by Christchurch City Council with help from an external advisory group, it is based on the latest scientific advice and driven by increased calls from the community for action.

The local impacts of climate change

  • Average temperatures will rise 0.5 to 1.5˚C by 2040.
  • The number of days where temperatures exceed 25˚C degrees will increase - we expect 10 more days a year over 25ºC by 2040.
  • Average rainfall will not change much but summer and autumn will be drier. Winter will be wetter, with up to 10 per cent more rainfall.
  • There will be fewer frosts a year.
  • There will be longer dry periods with more intense, more frequent drought.
  • Sea levels will rise.
  • Groundwater in coastal areas will come closer to the surface.
  • Coastal flooding and coastal erosion will be more frequent and intense.
  • Coastal groundwater will become salty, and saltwater will move further upstream in rivers.

It will be presented to the Council’s Sustainability and Community Resilience Committee on 24 February, ahead of being released for public consultation in March.

Read the report on the Draft Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Change Strategy.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time. It is already affecting our climate, native ecosystems, customary practices, mahinga kai, food production, health , biosecurity, and will increasingly impact our infrastructure,’’ says Council Head of Strategic Policy Emma Davis.

“Christchurch needs a comprehensive, long-term approach to climate change that adequately addresses the broad range of challenges and opportunities that climate change represents.

“It is critical that we reduce our emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but we also need to prepare for, and respond, to the social, environmental and economic effects of climate change that will increasingly impact on our communities,’’ Ms Davis says.

“The Council is committed to providing leadership in this space, but the Draft Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Change Strategy makes it very clear that collective action is required.

“The Council can’t do this alone – everyone has a part to play in taking climate action. We want to harness the unique skills and resources of the people and organisations of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

“We want to partner with Ngāi Tahu and Papatipu Rūnanga, central Government, stakeholders, businesses, organisations, and communities across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula to achieve our climate change goals,’’ Ms Davis says.

Christchurch is aiming to be net carbon neutral by 2045 – five years ahead of the Government’s 2050 target for New Zealand.

Achieving net zero emissions is one of the four goals that underpin the Draft Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Change Strategy. The goals set out what we want to achieve to limit the impacts of climate change.

The goals are supported by 10 climate action programmes, each of which requires working closely with key stakeholders and the wider community to co-develop and co-deliver a set of actions.

Ms Davis says if the Sustainability and Community Resilience Committee agrees, the Draft Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Change Strategy will go out for public consultation at the same time as the Draft 2021-31 Long Term Plan.

“That will be the chance for people to give their feedback on what we are proposing,’’ Ms Davis says.