Waikato Regional Council has unanimously approved a Climate Action Roadmap to guide internal activities, budget planning and opportunities to work with iwi partners, territorial authorities and other key stakeholders for a climate-resilient Waikato.
Committee Deputy Chair and Thames Coromandel regional councillor Denis Tegg says he is delighted with the significant progress this committee has made with its singular focus on responding to the climate crisis.
“The roadmap will build a common understanding of the challenges and issues in the Waikato”, said Cr Tegg.
“With many parts of Thames Coromandel being at high risk from sea-level rise and coastal flooding, this will be a key priority for the council.”
“Agriculture is responsible for 69% of the region’s emissions so another focus of the Council’s work will be working collaboratively with farmers to get joined-up action to improve freshwater quality, plant more trees and reduce agricultural emissions.”
“We’ll be going out to territorial authorities, iwi partners and other stakeholders to invite feedback on the roadmap and identify areas of potential collaboration.”
Other major initiatives of the Climate Action Committee have been to require all Council decisions to consider climate change and setting a target to reduce the Council’s own emissions by 70 % by 2030.
The pathways focus on areas that represent the biggest challenges and opportunities.
1. Coastal resilience pathway – to work across the region to reduce the risk of climate-exacerbated natural hazards on the coastal environment and communities and manage the impacts of sea-level rise.
2. Agriculture and soils pathway – to work with the agricultural sector to develop integrated approaches to reduce emissions, increase biodiversity and improve water quality.
3. Water is life pathway – to ensure freshwater allocations reflect both changing land use and more frequent drought.
4. Habitat restoration and planting pathway – to proactively identify land and coastal areas, including wetlands and intertidal zones, for protection and restoration to deliver climate-related benefits, provide the best return for freshwater quality, and support community resilience and safety.
5. Future of transport pathway – to reduce the exposure of the sector to the increasing costs of carbon emissions and enable the transition to electrified transport.
6. Sustainable investment pathway – to support WRC investments that are underpinned by sustainability principles and which reduce investment risk from climate change.
7. Biodiversity and biosecurity pathway – to recognise the risks of climate change for biodiversity, apply strategies to improve biodiversity, reduce pest incursion and expansion and support interregional and central government commitment.
8. Drainage and flood protection pathway – to determine the extent to which current infrastructure and flood protection schemes are fit for purpose and respond accordingly.
9. Energy pathway – to facilitate access, development and use of renewable energy sources within the region.
“All pathways are science evidence based and incorporate mātauranga Māori. Some pathways such as transport and agriculture emissions will need to be progressed urgently, and some will take longer than others,” said Cr Tegg.