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NZ insurers support zero-carbon move

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The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has backed the Government’s ambitious bid to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050.

It says it was pleased to see legislation introduced to Parliament last Wednesday and it is committed to working with the Government to best understand and adapt to climate change risk.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill requires all greenhouse gases except methane from animals to be reduced to net zero by 2050.

Methane emissions would be reduced by 10% by 2030 and as much as half by 2050.

“Failing to adapt will cost us greatly and the longer we delay, the more that cost will increase,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said. “We are especially pleased to see the bill will place a legal obligation on the Government to support adaptation initiatives.”

Adaptation can include improving infrastructure such as stormwater systems, moving properties away from coastal areas and floodplains, and banning new properties in these areas, plus more resilient new buildings.

Mr Grafton says insurers understand the threat climate change poses through increased frequency and severity of storms, and changes in flood risk.

It cites preliminary research from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research that shows 125,600 buildings at risk under a sea level rise of up to one metre, and says there is near certainty the sea will rise 0.2m to 0.3m in the next 20 years.

“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,” Mr Grafton said.