Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The climate changed

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  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I participated in review of both the first and second drafts of that document – an exercise bound by a confidentiality agreement with the Ministry at the time of its preparation. Hence I can’t say anything specific about my feedback but suffice it to say that were I the government of the day, I wouldn’t have released it either (although that said, I have not read the document that has been publicly released – so am unsure what changes were made arising from the feedback given). In general, suffice it to say that the draft documents failed to provide guidance in accordance with what is prescribed by the NZCPS in terms of the assessment of hazard risk.

    The NZCPS and the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management – Principles and guidelines (the current standard referenced by the NZCPS) both distinguish between risk assessment and risk management but it seems in many of the cases I’ve come across in NZ, this distinction is misunderstood by both the scientific community and the regulators. The two drafts I read would have hindered, as opposed to helped, this distinction.

    The drafts also failed to accept/implement the most important of the PCE’s recommendations with respect to update of the guidance manual – that being:

    "In revising central government direction and guidance on sea level rise, specify that ‘best estimates’ with uncertainty ranges for all parameters be used in technical assessments of coastal hazards."

    And as she also pointed out:

    The standard results of running a coastal hazard model should instead [i.e.,instead of what we’ve been getting to date from the scientific assessments] be probability distributions with most likely values and ranges of potential values expressed with a level of confidence.

    Drafts 1 and 2 failed to provide those probability distributions. But again, it may be that in the released document they did specify these uncertainty ranges/probability distributions – I simply don’t know as I haven’t read it yet.

    Point is, that without knowing those uncertainty ranges as part of the risk assessment, it becomes very difficult for regulators to appropriately manage (i.e., make the right decisions about) the most appropriate way to manage the risks.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Oops, meant to link to the PCE document I quoted from;



    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    remember that hurricane that made it all the way to Ireland this year, unheard of …. except in the southern Pacific we call Hurricanes “Cyclones” … and the southern west cost is further north than Ireland is south … I expect in the future we’ll see more energetic cyclones lasting longer and coming further south … particularly driven if the sea temperature rises like it has local over the past few months

    We in Dunedin are not prepared for that level of rain, the 100 yr old storm drains just don't empty fast enough, nor are we ready for 34C heat .... the tar on our streets was chosen to deal with frosts

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

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