Cat­a­lyst NZ gets cli­mate talks started

Group says is­sue is cru­cial for re­gion

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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.

Su­san Krumdieck

Hamish McCrostie

Ian Owens

James Ren­wick

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