The disruption caused by climate change threatens our prosperity, our way of life and the wildlife and landscapes that make New Zealand unique.
Although the worst impacts may not be felt for decades, we need to act now if we are to save what is most precious to us.
By the time the effects of climate disruption are becoming more obvious, it will be too late to avoid dramatic or even catastrophic damage to our world.
Climate disruption is a global problem that needs everyone to play their part. Impacts will be felt in our communities, in our individual lives and in your local environment.
We all must take action if we are to prevent the worst climate change outcomes and to adapt to the inevitable changes that are coming.
The threat to nature
Our animals and plants have evolved over millions of years and New Zealand’s physical isolation means we have one of the world’s highest ratio of species that are found nowhere else. Not only are they unique to New Zealand but a large number are already at risk of extinction.
Our native plants and animals are vulnerable to rising temperatures and to more extreme weather events. We don’t know what all the damaging impacts of climate disruption will be yet, but some species and ecosystems will be especially vulnerable.
Fragile alpine ecosystems will be squeezed by higher temperatures and are likely to face invasion by weeds and wilding pines.
Populations of rare species may become more fragmented and dispersed, creating inbreeding problems.
Changing temperatures disrupt breeding for some species. Tuatara, for example, produce only female eggs when temperatures are higher.
Bigger and more frequent spring floods could destroy the nests of rare river birds in braided rivers.
Coastal birds and ecosystems will also be harmed by more extreme weather and rising seas could squeeze habitats between the sea and development on land.
Changes in sea temperature would disrupt food chains, causing some predator species such as seabirds, penguins and seals to starve or move away.