About 100 Hawke's Bay residents attended the Zero Carbon Bill consultation, held at the Napier Conference Centre on Tuesday evening.
People travelled from as far as Takapau to attend the event, with a number of key speakers explaining the significance of the bill and the impacts it was likely to have on the region.
Janine Smith, from the Ministry for the Environment Climate Change Directorate, said due to burning fossil fuels, global temperatures have risen about 1 degree since the 1900s.
"If we continue this way the temperatures will keep rising and so will the impacts."
Smith said the Zero Carbon Bill was important, as it was science-based, with a number of experts explaining to the government that temperatures would need to be lowered by 2 degrees in coming years.
She said a number of factors were affecting the atmospheric conditions.
"Carbon and Nitric Oxide are long-living gases, this means they stay in the atmosphere for a longer period of time, centuries rather than decades.
"Our main short-lived gas is methane, it stays in the atmosphere for a lot shorter period of time, decades rather than centuries, but it has a powerful effect while it's there."
Hawke's Bay Regional Council chief executive James Palmer also attended the consultation, and spoke about the climate challenges that the region would face.
"In terms of measurable change that's been observed in the region - there's a couple of things, we've seen a reduction in frequency of frosts through the winter, there's been a steady decline," he said.
"There's also been measurable sea level rises in the last 100 years or so, which has been measured at the port and the coastline - and they are definitive changes that have occurred.
"We've also seen some severe weather events, we've seen an increase in the intensity of heavy rainfall, particularly of a tropical nature."
Palmer said the regional council was working through a number of strategic processes to help the region prepare for climate change.
"We as a council last year produced a new regional plan to be carbon-neutral by 2040 and the reason for that is because there's a such a significant line of interest of how we prepare as a region for a change of climate."
The Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, was unable to attend the consultation.
However, he said that Hawke's Bay was one of a number of regions around New Zealand where climate change issues are becoming more of a stark reality.
"As a beautiful coastal area, and a local economy with large agricultural and horticultural components to it, the people of Hawke's Bay and their council are acutely aware of the need to plan and adapt to climate change issues like sea level rise, erosion and drought.
"I commend the work the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's doing with its long-term planning on climate resilience for the region.
"What places like Hawke's Bay are facing makes the work of the HBRC, together with the work this Government is doing to establish a net zero emissions target by 2050 through the establishment of a Zero Carbon Act, vitally important," he said.