UN Climate Change Report: New Zealand's 'Adaption Deficit' Makes It Vulnerable to Rising Sea Levels

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By Reissa Su | March 31, 2014 2:42 PM EST

New Zealand is not ready for the effects of climate change especially when sea levels rise by half a metre. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said that the island nation has a significant "adaptation deficit" against a man-made global warming by 2100.

REUTERS/ Christine Brooks
Dust rises from rocks were falling from a cliff in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner moments after an earthquake struck December 23, 2011.

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The climate change report said the human-influenced global warming will have an increase of temperature between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius. The sea level rise in New Zealand might turn a once-in-a-hundred year flood to a yearly event based on the IPCC report.

The United Nations organisation's analysis has pointed out that New Zealand is already experiencing the effects of climate change based on recent extreme weather events. The country can expect future storms to be more intense and frequent which will result in damage to low-lying ecosystems and coastal infrastructure.

According to New Zealand scientists, the IPCC report was a "wake-up call" as the government welcomed the IPCC's analysis. The New Zealand government has pledged to place new emphasis on efforts to reduce the effects of climate change.

The bad weather in New Zealand's Christchurch on March 5 had caused floods and massive power outages as the city council called it a "once-in-a-century" event. Roads and schools were ordered closed due to flooding brought by the storm. The city council said more than 4000 homes and businesses are still without electricity.

The "irreversible" damage due to climate change will cause economic shocks and severe poverty may lead to mass migration. The risk of violence may increase from protests triggered by international or civil conflicts.

Prof. Lesley Hughes from Macquarie University and the report's lead author had declined to comment on the details but noted scientists believe that climate was shifting since the system was "very different" from what it was 30 or 40 years ago.

In 2013, the IPCC was commissioned by UN to make scientific assessments on climate change risks. The group released a report stating that oceans rose in temperature from 1971 to 2010. The UN panel observed the recent warming trends and observed the result of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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(Photo: REUTERS/ Christine Brooks / )
Dust rises from rocks were falling from a cliff in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner moments after an earthquake struck December 23, 2011.
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