T3 to host Aus­tralian climate change sci­en­tist in meet­ing

Hauraki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Re­silience group T3-Tran­si­tionTownThames is host­ing one of Aus­trala­sia’s lead­ing climate change sci­en­tists on Oc­to­ber 4.

Mac­quarie Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Les­ley Hughes will join the Tran­si­tion Cafe via vide­olink from Syd­ney at 7pm at the Brew, Pollen St, Thames.

T3 spokesper­son Mark Skeld­ing said Hughes would be join­ing a dis­cus­sion to help fo­cus lo­cal think­ing prior to up­com­ing Thames Coro­man­del District Coun­cil con­sul­ta­tion work­shops about coastal pro­tec­tion and sea-level rise strate­gies.

Hughes’ work on climate change is­sues had earned her a No­bel Prize, he said.

Hughes is also pro-vicechan­cel­lor of re­search and de­vel­op­ment, and has been a lead au­thor on IPCC re­ports. Re­cently she has been the coau­thor of a re­port Track­ing Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Progress on Climate Change, an ex­am­i­na­tion of how lo­cal gov­ern­ment in Aus­tralia is re­spond­ing to this chal­lenge.

Skeld­ing said the low ly­ing na­ture of many of the Coro­man­del Penin­sula’s res­i­den­tial ar­eas, plus the high value of coastal prop­erty, meant the topic of climate change and sea level rise gen­er­ated in­ter­est, con­cern and con­tention. The link be­tween car­bon emis­sions and climate change was at least as strong as that be­tween smok­ing and can­cer, he said.

‘‘Whilst no-one can say that a par­tic­u­lar cig­a­rette caused a can­cer, sci­en­tists are not­ing that in­creas­ingly in­tense or fre­quent climate events around the world fol­low a pat­tern that sug­gests climate change is un­der­way.’’

Skeld­ing said Hughes pointed out that each IPCC re­port was con­ser­va­tive and al­ready out-of-date.

‘‘Pro­fes­sor Hughes knows that to get 140 na­tions to agree on an as­sess­ment re­port is as po­lit­i­cal as it is sci­en­tific - each full stop is ar­gued over 15 times. The longer we pussy-foot about the topic, the more peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties will miss out, and the more costs will mount up.’’

Skeld­ing said there were many ques­tions and is­sues to raise with each other and with the lo­cal au­thor­ity, and that the Tran­si­tion Cafe would give food for thought.

Coun­cil is cur­rently de­vel­op­ing a district-wide coastal man­age­ment strat­egy, cov­er­ing top­ics such as coastal haz­ards, Maori val­ues, recre­ation, and com­mu­nity as­sets and in­fra­struc­ture.

Work­shops will be held from Oc­to­ber 10-18. See P8 for de­tails.

SUPPLIED

Mac­quarie Univer­sity Pro­fes­sor of Bi­ol­ogy Les­ley Hughes.

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