A Changing Climate
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When we think of climate change, we might first think of changes to the global average temperature or precipitation over several decades. However, though climate change is a global phenomenon, it is felt regionally, and while human greenhouse gas emissions are changing the average values of temperature and precipitation over long periods of time, they are also shaping climate extremes. These include things like the number of very warm and very cold days and nights, the maximum values of temperature and precipitation, and growing season length. Changes to climate extremes have potential impacts on our region; from water availability, public safety, infrastructure, to tourism, agriculture and critical ecosystem services.
The impacts of changing extremes are becoming evident, and challenging all levels of government to develop more resilient communities. Ensuring our region is as resilient as possible in the face of unavoidable impacts is critical to maintaining community well-being, environmental health and a vibrant local economy over the long term. Developing Climate Risk and Adaptation Plans are a key corporate priority over the 2014-2018 period to ensure resilient communities, reduce risks, and take advantage of potentially emerging opportunities.
As part of our ongoing work, the CVRD is partnering with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) to use high-resolution projections to shed light on potential future changes to climate extremes in the region. This means that our regional adaptation strategies will be informed by the best available information. PCIC has developed a technical report on Georgia Basin climate projections, but this will updated, refined and produced as a more publicly accessible document during late 2016 as part of the regional planning process.
No matter what happens at a global level we are now locked into increasing carbon levels and a rapidly changing environment, this means we have to take action on a number of levels to continue to reduce our emissions
In a nutshell, mitigation means changing our behavior to reduce the causes of climate change – such as burning fossil fuels or removal of forests and important natural (green) infrastructure such as wetlands.
Adaptation is about increasing our ability to withstand these impacts. By planning how we as individuals can adapt to wetter winters or how our community infrastructure should be built or upgraded to deal with changes in weather patterns- for example how we deal with increased flooding, or developing drought management plans to ensure critical needs are meet.
- Flood Management and Drainage
- Servicing Infrastructure (Water, Sewer)
- Communities and the Built Environment
- Green Infrastructure including Ecosystems and Natural Areas
- Human Health and Safety
- Agriculture and Food Security
- Undertaking vulnerability and risk assessment in order to prioritize impact responses - using a standardized engineering methodology
- Developing appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures to prepare for, or respond to, impacts