Whanganui District Council is committed to mitigating the impacts of climate change on our district, as well as enabling our community and local economy to become better adapted and resilient in the face of climate change.
The council and climate change
Our response to climate change is guided by the national and international context. Our Climate Change Strategy(PDF, 2MB) plots a course for action to both mitigate and adapt to climate change, and provides a framework for collaboration across the Whanganui District and beyond among tangata whenua, iwi, neighbouring councils, central government, non-government organisations, private industry, education, our communities and people.
A key focus is reducing the council’s own emissions and getting our own ‘house in order’. Steps taken include:
- We’ve completed an organisational carbon footprint to measure our greenhouse gas emissions and we are creating a roadmap towards reducing these.
- We’ve conducted audits of electricity and gas use at council facilities. This assessment of council facilities has highlighted where the biggest changes need to be made, leading to investigations into solar and other new opportunities.
Supporting community action
The Community Climate Action Fund provides funding for not-for-profit climate action projects in the Whanganui district. Our aim is to support the community to develop projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or grow our community’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. So far eight projects have received funding. Projects granted the fund cover a wide variety of climate change-focused community projects from food growing, fixing bikes and tree planting through to home consultations on retrofitting, to working towards a predator-free Whanganui.
Read more about the Community Climate Action Fund
What is climate change?
Earth’s atmosphere is made up of oxygen, a large amount of nitrogen and a small amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. Greenhouse gasses are responsible for maintaining a balanced temperature in the earth's atmosphere. High levels of greenhouse gas result in higher atmospheric temperatures that have a far-reaching impact on the earth's climate.
There has been a dramatic increase in levels of greenhouse gas over the past 200 years causing an unprecedented rise in the earth's temperature.
The worst effects of climate change can be mitigated if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to net zero over the course of this century.
Visit the Ministry for the Environment website for more information
What does climate change mean for the Whanganui District?
Climate change will affect different parts of the world in different ways. Without concerted action it is expected that within the lifetime of children living in our district today:
- temperatures will rise significantly, with consequences for health, the agricultural sector and native plants and wildlife
- rainfall in the north of our district will increase significantly, raising the risk of floods and slips
- storm events will become more frequent and more severe, also increasing flood and slip risks as well as coastal erosion
- sea levels will rise, potentially impacting low-lying areas and increasing coastal erosion
- droughts will occur more frequently, affecting our agricultural sector and potentially restricting the availability of clean water
- the risk of forest fires will increase.
Climate change projections for the Manawatu-Whanganui region