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Climate change could have significant impacts on our economy, environment and society – the effects of a warming planet and changing climate patterns are already becoming evident.
Glaciers are receding worldwide and seasonal snow and ice cover has reduced in upper parts of the northern hemisphere. If these processes continue, sea levels will rise and inundate many low-lying regions of the world, including Florida, Bangladesh and the Pacific Islands. This could have a devastating flow-on effect to all parts of the world.
Meteorologists are also seeing an increase in the severity of storms, rainfall, droughts and floods around the world.
In New Zealand, more extreme weather events are also expected to happen in the future, including more droughts in already drought-prone areas and more floods in regions already vulnerable to flooding. Average temperatures are projected to increase about 1°C by around 2040 and about 2.1°C by around 2090.
For more information about the impacts on New Zealand you can read another booklet in this series: Understanding climate change. Get a grasp of the facts.
By having a shower rather than a bath you use less hot water and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced through making electricity.
Cut back on waste
The production of packaging emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
A little for a lot
Cutting back on greenhouse gases doesn’t mean that we have to give up all the luxuries we are used to. It just means being smarter about their use.
For example, ‘Joe’ loves his V8 but makes choices about how to minimise its impact on the environment. He bikes to work during the week (getting fit at the same time!), and uses the car only in the weekends.
What can you do in your life to offset the emissions you can’t reduce? Reducing emissions offers many positive and long-lasting effects on our lives:
Cut back on energy use = slash the power bill
Use your legs, not the car = get into shape
Less pollution = breathe easier
Essentially, reducing our impact on the environment means we can make our country more sustainable. And that’s got to be a good thing. Your actions combined with those of the government, councils and businesses will enable New Zealand to cut emissions and reduce our impact on the environment.