ICNZ calls for “stronger push” to NZ’s climate change adaptation

ICNZ calls for “stronger push” to NZ’s climate change adaptation | Insurance Business

ICNZ calls for “stronger push” to NZ’s climate change adaptation
The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) said an environment watchdog fell short in dealing with how NZ should adapt to climate change in its latest report, as it stressed the importance of climate change adaptation in keeping insurance affordable and accessible.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report follows the United Kingdom’s approach in addressing climate change mitigation, proposing greenhouse gas targets and requiring that these be met through five year carbon targets.

ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton said that while Commissioner Dr Jan Wright proposed a legislation similar to the UK for reducing NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions, she “pulled up short in making a recommendation to legislate such long-term planning for how New Zealand adapts to climate change.”

“It was not long ago that the commissioner’s report on sea level rise concluded that no matter what was done about mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rise was inevitable,” Grafton said.

“This means no matter what New Zealand does about greenhouse gas emissions, it faces inevitable challenges in adapting to climate change and sea-level rise.

“Adaptation means reducing and managing the risk of losses which will be essential to keep insurance available and affordable if losses become unsustainable.

“Given this certainty, it is puzzling why Dr Wright did not also recommend that legislating, as the UK does, for five-yearly adaptation assessments by an independent expert group. Instead, she has taken the weaker stance of recommending that officials who report to Ministers carry out the work and that the current Minister’s Adaptation Working group examines what the UK does.”

“This offers no long-term, bipartisan approach to the problem. It leaves matters solely in the hands of the current Minister and her working group,” he added.

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