Scientists predict a 30cm sea level rise by 2050, with a 50cm rise by 2075 and 1m by 2115 if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.

New Zealand is already experiencing the first impacts of climate change, with an increase in the frequency and intensity of storm events and droughts, and more areas exposed to coastal flooding and erosion.

For the low-lying, coastal city of Christchurch, this means around 25,000 properties will be exposed to coastal flooding, and around 1,000 properties will be at risk of coastal erosion over the next 100 years.

We’re following the Ministry for the Environment’s coastal hazards and climate change guidance for local government(external link) which sets out a ten-step process for how we can adapt to the actual and expected changes from climate change.

It’s a process that puts community engagement at the centre of decision-making. It takes into consideration everything from our natural and ‘built’ environment to our cultural values, and community aspirations and expectations.

It also gives us a way to progress things and make decisions, even when there is uncertainty about the rate and effects of climate change.

We have identified our coastal and low-lying communities most at risk from coastal hazards.

At the end of this process, we’ll have community-led adaptation plans for these coastal and low-lying communities that provide us with a way of managing the risk of sea-level rise for at least the next 100 years.

These plans will identify pathways for how different communities could adapt. The pathways will have options and triggers (the local signals and observations) for when these pre-agreed options will need to be implemented.