Hamilton, New Zealand Local Climate Change Action Plan
Status: Initiated in 2004
Source File: http://hamilton.co.nz/file/fileid/2500
WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE?
Climate change or global warming refers to the progressive gradual rise of the earth’s average surface temperature. Global warming is thought to be caused in part by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chloro-fluoro carbons in the atmosphere, which trap some of the heat the earth radiates back into space. This trapping of heat is necessary for our survival as it ensures that our night time temperatures are regulated. However the more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped and the hotter the planet becomes.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of these gases, most notably carbon dioxide, has been increasing rapidly. The clearing of vast areas of vegetation has reduced nature’s ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil and as biomass.
The average global surface temperature is projected to increase by a further 1.4 – 5.8°C relative to 1990, by 2100. This rate of warming is greater than earlier projections, is much greater than observed changes during the 20th century, and is very likely without precedent during the last 10,000 years.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT US?
We are already seeing the effects of climate change with more frequent and severe storms, flooding and erosion, damage to coastal ecosystems and infrastructure, and the spread of tropical insect pests, weeds and mosquitoborne diseases. These events often lead to additional costs for water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems, flood mitigation and building construction.
New Zealand’s target is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to the level they were in 1990 and take responsibility for excess emissions. Achieving this target requires a substantial improvement in current performance given that New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions have increased by 37% since 1990. We will only reach this target if local governments, the commercial and industrial sector and individuals start to take action to reduce greenhouse gases.
In October 2004 Hamilton City Council joined the Communities for Climate Protection-New Zealand Programme (CCP-NZ), an international campaign to assist councils worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The programme aims to reduce emissions by each council taking action, as well as councils influencing reductions in their wider communities. To assist councils and their communities address climate change, the programme consists of five key milestones. Each milestone has a council (corporate) component and a community component. Milestone 1 - Conduct an inventory and forecast for greenhouse gas emissions
Milestone 2 - Establish emission reduction goals
Milestone 3 - Develop and adopt a local action plan
Milestone 4 - Implement the local action plan
Milestone 5 - Monitor and report on achievements