Section 7 of the RMA requires that particular regard shall be given to matters related to climate change. These matters include the efficiency of the end use of energy, the effects of climate change, and the benefits to be derived from the use and development of renewable energy.
The aim of this Guidance Note is to:
- Promote understanding about the effects of climate change; and
- Provide best practice information on how to assess the significance of, and respond where necessary to, the effects of climate change. A particular focus is how this can be done within local authorities' existing risk assessment, policy-making and decision-making processes.
The Guidance Note covers:
- An overview of how particular regard may be given to the effects of climate change.
- Information on expected climate change effects in New Zealand.
- Advice on methods for considering and addressing climate change effects under the RMA.
Section 7 of the RMA requires that particular regard shall be had to:
"(ba) - The efficiency of the end use of energy;…
(i) - The effects of climate change; and
(j) - The benefits to be derived from the use and development of renewable energy".
In the context of the RMA, there are two ways in which particular regard may be given to the effects of climate change:
1. As an integral part of making decisions on resource consent applications and notices of requirement under the RMA for which the effects of climate change may be significant; and
2. In proactively assessing RMA policy statements and plans, as they come up for review or other changes are proposed, to identify whether more explicit and/or up-to-date policies are needed to address the effects of climate change than are currently provided.
The second point directly relates to councils’ broader strategic planning initiatives. The effects of climate change can be integrated into local authorities' longer term planning under the Local Government Act, as part of their mandate to meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost effective for households and businesses.