Climate Change: The Cascade Effect
Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand
The impacts of increases in temperature, rainfall, sea levels and extreme events will cascade across all sectors of society. Our assets, communities and social and economic interactions will all be affected.
As the effects of these changes become more frequent through flooding, coastal inundation and drought, we’ll have less time to recover and there will be cumulative consequences. In addition, as different sectors respond to the changes, there is potential for impacts to compound through the economy.
The Deep South Challenge focusses on four major climate-related impacts: extreme weather events, drought, changes in average weather patterns and sea level rise. The flow-on effects of these changes and their interactions raise many interrelated questions for decision makers and planners at all levels of decision making and across all sectors, such as:
- How will sea level rise affect transport links regionally, coastal communities and the infrastructure on which they depend?
- How will changes in seasonal temperatures affect fruit growers, their business, their access to ports and airports, and how will this in turn impact local and national economies?
The interconnected – or cascading – social and economic impacts are the focus of this research, which builds on the Climate Change Impacts and Implications (CCII) work completed in 2016. Working with local government, infrastructure and financial sectors, our researchers will use climate modelling information and socio-economic scenarios, alongside the realities of representative regional communities, to better understand the scale of climate change implications for Aotearoa New Zealand.
By understanding the cascading nature of the impacts of climate change, decision makers will be better able to plan, adapt and manage risks.
Project contact: Judy Lawrence, Victoria University of Wellington
Project budget: $291,800
Project duration: July 2016 – June 2018
This project in the media:
The cascading impacts of climate change, Newsroom
Research and findings:
Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand, Paula Blackett, Deep South Symposium
Latest news and updates
The recent Edgecumbe floods saw raw sewage floating through the streets, making the clean-up extremely challenging. Over 300 homes in the district were damaged and six months later, 240 houses are still unliveable. Flood-proofing the town itself remains a distant goal.
The Deep South Challenge announces new research into who should bear the cost of our changing climate, and when.
All over New Zealand, from Haumoana to Westport, from Edgecumbe to the Kāpiti Coast, from Dunedin to Wellington City, homeowners and businesses are starting to feel the financial effects of climate change.
Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.