Recent events signal need to prepare for climate change

This year’s Tasman fires and last year’s Cyclone Gita are giving the New Zealand public a taste of what could be coming as our climate changes, says Dr Judy Lawrence, Senior Research Fellow at the Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington.  This is part of the message she will be delivering to The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference 2019, to be held in Palmerston North on April 8-9.

New Zealand’s most important agricultural conference on climate change for two years will bring together scientists, government policy advisors, farmers and industry leaders to discuss the theme of meeting the challenges of climate change with respect to farming.

Dr Lawrence was the co-chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working group that reported to Government in December 2017 and May 2018 with a stock-take of adaptation action and recommendations on adapting to climate change.

She says events like the Tasman fires and Cyclone Gita are a possible indication of things to come.

“Before that in 2017 the south of New Zealand experienced a very heavy rainfall event that stretched our resources. Coastal properties in low-lying roads have been flooded in Hawkes Bay, Wellington and the West Coast.

“In Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel, estuary margins are increasingly being flooded. These events will become more intense and, as the seas keep rising, flooding will be permanent in some areas and occur also on sunny days.”

Dr Lawrence says these ‘events’ underline the urgency of getting organised to deal with the changing climate risk profile that confronts this country.  

She will outline several actions that can be taken to adapt to the challenges ahead, on the second day of the conference.  

The conference, organised by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, will be held at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre, 354 Main Street.

Presentations will be given by New Zealand science, industry and policy leaders.

The programme will draw on published scientific work and the research projects being conducted by the Agricultural Gas Research Centre, the Pastoral Green Gas Research Consortium and by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme.  

Attendance is free but registration is required. For more information or to register please go to   



Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

Leave a Reply