Adaptation

Planning for adaptation now will help us respond to the impacts of climate change.

Building resilience to our changing climate will mean we can better protect our communities, homes, and livelihoods.

Aotearoa is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. The planet has already warmed by 1°C since 1900. We have seen sea levels rise by 20cm, and we are already seeing more extreme weather events.

Climate mitigation and climate adaptation are two sides of the same coin. Some level of climate change is already baked in due to historic global emissions. We'll need to adapt to that. The slower the world is at reducing emissions, the greater the adaptation burden becomes.

We’ll reduce that adaptation burden if we work hard to reduce global emissions. Working together in our communities, we can prepare and adapt before we experience the worst. Delaying decisions will leave us with fewer choices for how we adapt across Aotearoa.

Our role

The Commission is responsible for delivering the next National Climate Change Risk Assessment, and for monitoring how the Government's National Adaptation Plan is implemented. The National Climate Change Risk Assessment gives a national picture of the risks Aotearoa faces from climate change. The National Adaptation Plan sets out how the Government will respond to these risks, and overall objectives for climate change adaptation in Aotearoa.

National Climate Change Risk Assessment

The first National Climate Change Risk Assessment was delivered by the Ministry for the Environment in 2020. From 2026, we will be responsible for delivering the National Climate Change Risk Assessment to Government every six years.

The National Climate Change Risk Assessment provides a national picture of how New Zealand may be affected by climate change-related hazards. It:

  • identifies the most significant risks and opportunities for New Zealand
  • highlights gaps in the information and data needed to properly assess and manage the risks and opportunities.

You can read the first national climate change risk assessment on the Ministry for the Environment website.

Monitoring progress of the National Adaptation Plan

The Government will deliver its first National Adaptation Plan in 2022. It will set out how the Government will respond to climate risks identified in the first National Climate Change Risk Assessment, and overall objectives for climate adaptation in Aotearoa.

Our role is to monitor how the Government puts the National Adaptation Plan into effect. The Commission must report on this every two years. The first report is due in 2024.

The Commission will report on:

  • progress in implementing the adaptation plan
  • the degree to which the objectives of the plan have been achieved
  • how well the plan responds to climate risks
  • barriers to further implementation and effectiveness of the plan.

What we're doing now

We are currently scoping our adaptation work programme. Although our first piece of adaptation work – our progress report on the Government’s National Adaption Plan – is not due until 2024, we need to start work early to build relationships and our evidence base.

We are looking at how we will monitor the Government’s progress on adaptation, including what our monitoring framework and criteria will look like. We are looking at how others in Aotearoa and internationally have approached the same tasks we have so that we can learn from their experiences. We are talking to people involved in the first National Climate Change Risk Assessment and to councils that have completed or are carrying out regional risk assessments.