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Thursday, April 26, 2018

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Adapting to climate change

Posted at 9:15am Thursday 29 Jun, 2017

A team of researchers from the University of Waikato have won a $270,000 research grant to engage with New Zealanders about how we can all better prepare for the future impacts of climate change.

The two year research project will also explore how cultural values shape and influence adaptation strategies to the new realities of climate change.

“Climate change is happening whether we like it or not,” says co-lead investigator Professor Debashish Munshi of Waikato Management School, an expert on public engagement and issues of social justice.

“People need reliable, up-to-date information to be able to make important decisions about their future. Yet many vulnerable businesses and communities in New Zealand are struggling to understand how they should respond to the significant threats that climate change poses to our economy, our social fabric, our cultural traditions and way of life,” says Debashish.

The Waikato-based project team also includes co-lead investigator Professor Priya Kurian, a political scientist (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences); Associate Professor Sandy Morrison, an expert on indigenous development issues (Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies); and Dr Lyn Kathlene, a US-based expert on public engagement methodologies (Spark Policy Institute).

The team’s extensive research will include a series of ‘citizen panels’ with a variety of business and community groups across New Zealand – such as farmers, small-to-medium business owners, tourism operators, Maori iwi and hapu, and residents living in coastal or low-lying areas – to find out what people already know about climate change, and work on a range of future scenarios to deal with climate change events such as extreme weather, flooding rivers and rising sea levels.

“Successful public engagement in science is not only about communicating information, but also understanding what the public already know, what they need to know, and their different cultural values and attitudes towards climate change,” says Priya.

“For example, we’re conscious of the strong interest that Māori have in debates about climate action and looking at environmental issues, as well as the impact on traditional cultural practices such as weaving and food gathering,” says Sandy.

The research team will help each group to develop proactive strategies and a practical action plan for addressing the specific impacts of climate change they face.

“For some people, climate change is an immediate reality that requires urgent action,” says Debashish.

In 2019, the research team will prepare a report outlining their recommendations for local councils and government, which they hope will contribute to better informed decision-making around climate change adaptation.

The University of Waikato-based project is one of four new climate change adaptation projects announced by the Deep South National Science Challenge this month, totalling more than $1 million in funding. The mission of the challenge is to enable New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk, and thrive in a changing climate.

Debashish and Priya are currently writing a book on ‘Climate Futures’ with academics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This leads on from an international symposium on ‘Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice’ they organised in Italy in 2015, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.

For more details about the National Science Challenge project, visit



Posted on 02-07-2017 19:38 | By Papamoaner

What has me a bit worried is the worldwide trend towards more frequent and more intense storm events. We’ve been on the horizontal plane for decades, so haven’t really noticed the gradual changes, but as we approach the bend in the curve, we begin to notice changes in storms, sea temps etc. The problem is that from here on it gets vertical, which means WATCH OUT ! I hope not, but it’s looking a bit like it from where I’m standing. It seems we no longer have enough forestation to absorb all the CO2 we are producing. By WE, I mean planet+people.

Posted on 02-07-2017 10:09 | By Papamoaner

Yes, we will always have anomolies in the various arguments put forward, but I disagree with the view that climate change is nonsense. Yes, we have had climate cycles before, but the people involved in tree ring research, and drill-coring analysis in Antarctica and other places are rightly worried now because all indications are that these present trends are a new phenomenon. So what else is new on the same time scale? The answer is internal combustion engines covering almost every bit of land on the planet, forests being felled at an alarming rate, the industrial revolution, smoke and CO2 galore, and insufficient forest left to absorb those huge amounts. Add to all that, continuing exponential population explosion. And to think the minions are not at all concerned! Lambs to the slaughter! Coral bleaching is merely one of many warning signs.
Adapting to climate change

Posted on 01-07-2017 07:59 | By astex

A very strange statement from those that rely on unreliable computer models for their argument. Remember Al Gore in the early days stating as fact that New York would be 14 feet underwater by 2014? Some "actual facts" were published in Sun Live a few weeks ago by John Maunder and these showed a much more interesting "fact". A fraction of a degree in temperature increase and a very small increase in sea level over the last 100 years or so. And we pay 1billion dollars per year to take part in this nonsense.
sea rising?

Posted on 30-06-2017 17:47 | By phoenix

Hi rawprawn, You must understand,If sea levels are indeed rising, to rise evenly around the globe,not just in a certain area of the pacific and affect some islands there, The sea would have to be a Liquid.
@Raw prawn

Posted on 30-06-2017 15:05 | By Papamoaner

The answer to your question lies in ocean currents

Posted on 30-06-2017 08:13 | By RawPrawn

Here’s the thing that gets me. It is claimed that rising sea levels have already impacted small Pacific Island Nations to the extent that inundation is occurring, yet there is no evidence of that along our coastline (Moturiki Datum in the Bay of Plenty). According to the most basic of Archimedes’ principles any rise in water level should be universal, so why isn’t it affecting NZ? Could it be that those smaller islands are sinking?
rising sea levels?

Posted on 29-06-2017 20:42 | By phoenix

According to archimedes volume displacement = body weight.Question; If we encourage whaler eating countries to remove thousands of whales from the sea,should’nt sea levels actually fall. ] As good a theory as any,and cost nothing[
More than a little skeptical.....

Posted on 29-06-2017 20:39 | By groutby I after reading that a climate change "expert" says (quote) "Climate change is happening whether we like it or not" NOT exactly mind tingling innovative information. Of course it is!!..and always has been and will be !! who can have held out their hand and got funding for such forward thinking "experts" to come up with this?....ahh..just read the link at the bottom of the post....none other than NIWA...!!..of course..includes all sorts of nimby stuff including "Adaptation strategies to address climate change impacts on coastal Mori communities"..what?..and "Emergent exposure of flood inundation hazards under future climate change in New Zealand"..what the hell is that?...what I can’t find is who is funding these twits (in my opinion)...sure hope it isn’t me...please....spare us....

Posted on 29-06-2017 14:30 | By geo

Here we go again, mind numbing stupidity. After a quarter of a million of tax payers dollars down the toilet . In the end what will we have to show for it ? A useless wad of paper full of PC waffle.I guess the real clowns are the anonymous bureaucrats that approved this grant in the first place and us for putting up with this sort of idiocy.There are so many worthwhile causes out there desperate for money and we do this sort of thing.Makes me want to weep.
More of the same

Posted on 29-06-2017 12:18 | By rastus

How these people sleep at night is a complete mystery - Thank goodness that Trump if he does nothing else good has at least signaled the USA out of this complete farce. Here again we have idiots - yes idiots spending other peoples money chasing moonbeams - how on earth do we stop this madness. After Y2K I really thought we had got all the stupids but no! there are still those out there that want to waste their academic learning so blatantly - come on people please object to this continued madness!
What's this Nonsense

Posted on 29-06-2017 11:15 | By kellbell

Show us the proof that there is an issue caused by people then spend the money.
Funding misapprehensions

Posted on 29-06-2017 09:50 | By ROCCO

This group give me no confidence whatsoever- Waikato University, cultural values political PC interference and the like garbage so how about looking at proper scientific assessments and the real world for a change!!

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