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Turning the climate change page

Sometimes the most trivial of books, often by-products of the entertainment industry, get saturation coverage.

By the same token, important books such as James Renwick’s recently published Under the Weather barely make a ripple.

Renwick, a Victoria University climate lecturer and involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] for 20 years, sits on the NZ Climate Change Commission.

It is of great concern that a disturbingly large percentage of the population ignores or disbelieves the irrefutable evidence of climate change setting a cascading series of weather events in train – simple ignorance, heads-in-the-sand unwillingness to face reality or that all too common human instinct to go right on partying while we can.

As Renwick says: ‘Right now, the climate is changing. It’s changed in the past, but this time is different. This time it’s not an asteroid or an ice age or a volcano causing the change. This time, it’s us. The science has been very, very clear for over three decades: human emissions of greenhouse gases are warming our climate in increments that might not seem a lot, but are …. enough to change everything about the world as we know it.”

Renwick’s book about the need to achieve a carbon-zero future should be required reading by senior secondary school students as well as concerned adults.

He sets out simply and clearly the facts about the rising temperatures, increasingly severe droughts and a growing number of wildfires. There is no respite from extreme weather conditions with much more flooding as well. As Renwick writes: “The winter of 2022 was both our warmest and our wettest on record, with many extreme rainfall events from June to August causing flooding and slips, and damaging roads and homes in much of the North Island and the top of the South.”

Subsequently, ex-Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle remains a vivid memory for most of us and a continuing nightmare for the many thousands affected.

Another massive concern is rising sea levels pushing high-tide marks further inland, with storm-driven waves increasingly inundating coastal regions.

The need to move thousands of homes inland or to higher ground involves emotional trauma and mind-boggling costs with no clear picture about how much homeowners, local and central government will be responsible for them.

Nevertheless, Renwick’s book ends hopefully: “We need to set aside the distractions, and we need to fight for that golden carbon-zero future.

“It is possible.”


  1. Mr Parker:

    Excellent article. Thank you for writing on this crucially important matter.

    Best regards,

    Patrick Lechtenberger

Comments are closed.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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