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General insurers support Zero Carbon Bill

08 May 2019

ICNZ is pleased to see the Government introduce their Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill to parliament today.

ICNZ supports the Bill and is committed to working with government on understanding and adapting to risk to reduce the cost climate change has for communities and New Zealand more broadly. Insurers have a lot of knowledge around the risks climate change poses through increased frequency and severity of storms and changes in flood risk from natural causes and the sorts of costs these changes incur.

“We are especially pleased to see that Bill will place a legal obligation on the government to support adaptation initiatives”, said ICNZ Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “Mitigation is simply not enough on its own; even if all carbon emissions ceased today, we would still be dealing with the effects of a changing climate for years to come.”

Figures presented by UMR at the 2018 ICNZ conference showed a majority of people thought climate change was concerning or very concerning.

“According to preliminary research from NIWA, there are 125,600 buildings and $38 billion of replacement costs within 0-1m of sea level rise and there is near certainty that the sea will rise a further 0.2m to 0.3m in the next 20 years,” said Grafton. “With these sea level rises come increasing risks from storms and coastal inundation, as well as the increased risks of ever higher water tables and sunny day flooding.”

Adaptation actions can include improving infrastructure such as stormwater systems, moving properties away from coastal areas and floodplains and not consenting new properties in these areas, and building new residential and commercial buildings to be more resilient to a changing climate. 

“Failing to adapt will cost us greatly and the longer we delay, the more that cost will increase,” said Grafton.