Advanced Search | Help
In Step 2 you collected information on how you are affected by the climate and weather. In Step 3 you will collect information about how climate change might affect you in the future. You will identify your climate change risks, compare other risks affecting you and identify your priority climate responses. The results will be shaped by your own experiences and knowledge.
For a number of reasons:
Over the coming century expect:
As well as changes in average climate, changes in weather extremes are also expected. Some weather extremes (such as very hot days and more intense rainfall) may become more common. Others, such as snowfall, may become less common. Extreme events are by definition rare, but they often have the most significant impacts. Additionally, climate extremes such as sustained drought may become more common. Unfortunately, extreme events are also difficult to predict, so information on future weather and climate extremes is less certain than average conditions.
The effects of climate change will be specific to your area but you can get an idea of the impacts from a variety of places. Before starting, check whether any assessments have already been done by industry associations, professional bodies, local or central government. This may give you a head start and help your assessment. MAF has produced a set of
fact sheets and case studies by sector and by topic on climate change that outlines key impacts in regions and sectors.
Working with others in your business or local area could help build a good picture of what the impacts might mean for your business. Adapting to climate change means reducing future problems and taking advantage of any opportunities.
Climate change could mean:
If no relevant work has been done for your area or sector, or you need more specific information, you should carry out a simple assessment to identify potential climate impacts. This section will help you to do this with your own experience and knowledge. If this initial assessment shows that climate change could have significant impacts, you might want to undertake a more thorough scoping assessment.
Indirect effects also need to be considered For example:
List key climate change factors that affect your business, including timing, and enter these into the first column of your table. Use the table in Step 2 to make sure you have all the climate variables that affect you, as well as those that might change in future. The climate variables here can help identify those relevant to you.
Find out how climate variables are likely to change in future. Note that different levels of certainty can be placed on different projections. More certainty can be placed in temperature projections, for instance, than rainfall. Projections of average changes are more certain than extremes.
For initial or ‘back of the envelope’ assessments, look at the headline changes only, namely:
Identify what in your business could be affected; consider the location, extent and timing. Think about the
length of time or season. Some actions, such as investing in forestry, have a long lifetime (decades or more) and are more likely to be affected by climate change. For shorter term decisions (a few years or less), use recent climate records or past extreme weather events to understand the impacts. Bear in mind the specific location, production cycle and season.
Will climate change make things better or worse? Identify positive and negative impacts from changes in climate and weather that might lead to
likely future problems and opportunities. If possible, identify any costs, savings or income.
Consider if any critical thresholds like temperatures for bud break are crossed more or less often, or if the thresholds themselves change.
Once you have identified the likely positive and negative impacts on your business, you need to understand the risk of those impacts. This involves assessing: (i) the probability, or likelihood, of the impact occurring and (ii) the magnitude, or consequence, of the impact should it occur.
risk = the probability of an impact x the consequence of the impact.
Impacts that are highly likely to occur and have serious consequences are high risk, whereas an impact that is unlikely to happen and doesn’t have serious consequence is a low risk. Most often risks are already managed and it may be a case of just reviewing your management. For instance, heavy rain trapping pregnant stock in back country areas could be a high risk in some areas but can be managed by listening to weather forecasts, keeping pregnant stock in paddocks with better access, and moving stock before heavy rainfall is expected.
This section shows you how to do a simplified risk assessment. Understanding the risk will help you make decisions on how to manage climate change. Consider the timescales that impacts will occur - some impacts might become smaller over time, while others might increase.
There are several ways to assess risk, ranging from using a simple table to more complex risk methodologies. How you assess risk will depend on what is at stake, for instance, a major investment could require more in-depth analysis, including cost benefit work. Assess your risk without any current management actions but note them down.
A risk table allows you to categorise, or rate, the risk by the likelihood and consequences (results). The risk table
below shows that for a rare event with trivial consequences, the risk is low. On the other hand, an event that is almost certain and severe is rated as an extreme risk.
The matrix ranks the relative consequences for the different elements in table 3.2 from trivial to severe. You will need to describe the magnitude of effect, eg what would be a minor versus a major financial impact on your organisation?
For instance, a trivial effect on water could be an insignificant change in
water availability whereas a severe effect could be no water.
Climate change is only one risk and it is worth considering how that risk compares with other risks, such as financial, reputational or market. The relative importance of risks will change over time. For example,
Also consider existing trends that might affect your operations, e.g. in the product or labour market, or changing technologies. The relative importance of the risks may need to be regularly assessed.
Having completed Steps 3.1 - 3.5, you can now identify your priority climate risks by considering:
You can do this by listing and ranking the most significant problems and opportunities, or by highlighting the high and low priority risks in different colours.
When identifying priority risks, think about your attitude to risk (refer to Step 2.1), available resources, how you already manage the risk, and the time horizon of the climate risks.
After working through this Step you will have:
Task 3.1: Find out about the expected changes in New Zealand’s climate over the 21st century.
Task 3.2: Look at how climate and the weather has affected you in the past (Task 2.2) and see how this might change in future, including how the frequency or intensity of the weather might change.
Task 3.3: Identify potential climate impacts using Table 3.2 and steps 3.3.1-3.3.5 below
Task 3.3.1 List key climate change factors
Task 3.3.2: Find out how climate variables are likely to change
Task 3.3.3: Identify what in your business could be affected
Task 3.3.4: Identify positive and negative impacts
Task 3.3.5: Consider critical thresholds
Task 3.4: Assess the risk (likelihood and consequence) of each climate change effect listed in Table 3.2.
Task 3.5: Draw up a list, or table, of other risks affecting your business.
Task 3.6: Identify the most significant risks from the table developed in Step 3.4 and 3.5 to help you prioritise.
Expected changes in New Zealand's climate
Expected changes in sectors