Catalyst NZ gets climate talks started
Group says issue is crucial for region
While Queenstowners hear from climate change experts and consider the future of the tourism industry, NZSki is happy to sit on the sidelines.
The Winter Festival forum has been put together by new Queenstown group Catalyst NZ. The group’s website says it is about providing the spark needed to bring great ideas, compelling speakers, innovative and often provocative thinking and creativity to the Wakatipu basin.
‘‘It’s about upping the ante on stuff that matters.’’
Spokeswoman Peta Carey said climate change was being tackled because it could have an uncertain effect on Queenstown’s future.
‘‘It’s about snow and tourism, the town’s economy, power generation and precipitation and water.
‘‘You look at our tourism operations here. How much is dependent on relatively calm air or river flows?
‘‘It’s the one subject at the moment that every academic in the country is standing up and saying to the Government and policy makers: ‘Can we please look at this subject now?’. It’s of vital importance for the future.’’
NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson said he was likely to attend the event but the company had elected not to be directly involved.
‘‘We’re just focused on getting the season up and running so it’s not a good thing for us right now.’’
The only scientific information the company had on climate change and its affect locally was produced about five years ago and indicated the temperature was likely to get colder in the Wakatipu Basin and the company would react on a year-byyear basis, he said.
The company’s investment in in substantial snow making at the Remarkables and Coronet Peak provided insurance against warmer climates.
‘‘Last year with a relatively warm winter we only had two closed days at Coronet Peak so we feel like we’re very well placed.’’
NZSki was comfortable with where it was for the next 50 years.
‘‘We will continue to keep tracking our snow and temperatures. But at the moment we feel we can still keep offering a great product,’’ he said.
‘‘It will be an interesting discussion. it will be interesting to see how much fact there is and how much opinion and conjecture.’’
Carey said the speakers would give alternative view points.
Speakers include Ian Owens, a climatologist from the University of Canterbury who sits on the executive committee of the Mountain Safety Council; James Renwick, associate professor of geography, environment and earth sciences at Victoria University and a member of the New Zealand Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Susan Krumdieck, a Canterbury University professor of mechanical engineering who specialises in energy conservation and Hamish McCrostie, who has 32 years working in the local snow industry and 25 years in the Mountain Safety Council.