Media release

Report highlights impacts of changing climate

Friday 16 October 2020

The Ministry of Environment’s Our atmosphere and climate 2020 report, released yesterday, highlights the impact that climate change is already having on New Zealand, including on temperatures and weather events, biodiversity, and natural hazard risks.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) Chair Andrew Noone said the report was a sobering reminder that climate change is no longer a distant threat.

“The evidence is clear: we are already feeling the impacts of climate change from greenhouse gases, and many of these impacts are likely to worsen in the decades ahead.”

The effects of climate change are considered in nearly all the areas of ORC’s work, Cr Noone said.

“For example, our biodiversity strategy recognises the threat of climate change for indigenous biodiversity, while improvements to our bus services in Queenstown and Dunedin are giving people more options for how they travel.”

Climate change is one of ORC’s top priorities, and the council’s work on understanding and responding to climate change impacts has been fast-tracked in recent years.

“The Climate Change Risk Assessment for Otago is currently near completion. This is a wide-ranging assessment which is helping us to understand potential changes to the climate and related risks for the region. Using that knowledge, we’ll work with councils, communities, iwi, experts and appropriate government agencies to plan for climate change,” Cr Noone said.

“ORC also manages flood protection and drainage infrastructure for the region, which has gotten some good use during recent high flow events. We’re undertaking a range of works to repair and upgrade this infrastructure, and to assess the likely effects of climate change on its performance. These works include four projects which secured $5m of shovel-ready funding from the government earlier this year,” Cr Noone said.

To read the Our atmosphere and climate 2020 report, visit

For more information about ORC’s work on climate change adaptation, visit our website: