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British Columbia Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Created: 12/17/2010 - Updated: 5/08/2019

Photo attributed to McKay Savage. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Summary

The British Columbia Government released a Climate Action Plan in 2008. As part of the effort to address climate change, the government is building a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to address climate change impacts as it continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province.

Background

The British Columbia Climate Change Adaptation Strategy provides policy guidance for the government to address the effects of global climate change. This strategy is necessary for the government to employ as it seeks to protect public health and safety, manage natural resources, and sustain the economy of the province in order to make it more resilient to climate change.

The primary approaches of the strategy are to:

  1. Build a base of tools and knowledge to prepare the public and private sectors for global climate change
  2. Integrate adaptation into the government’s planning and decision-making activities
  3. Assess risk and implement adaptation strategies for the province’s most vulnerable sectors

Implementation

The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy seeks to achieve three goals: build an information base to support decision-making, incorporate adaptation into internal government activities, and assess risk and implement strategies.

Approach 1: Build a base of tools and knowledge to prepare the public and private sectors for global climate change.

This approach includes developing adaptation tools (e.g., guides, assessment methods) and supporting outreach. Examples include spending over $90 million to create the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and ongoing support to the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium to develop climate change science that can be used by decision makers.

Approach 2: Integrate adaptation into the government’s planning and decision-making activities.

The government is working to incorporate climate change into its programs, policies, and regulations despite the large amount of uncertainty surrounding its potential effects. Current government program examples include: Living Water Smart, Future Forest Ecosystems Initiative, Conservation Framework, and the Mountain Beetle Action Plan.

Living Water Smart is a water and flood management program. The government is developing a drought response plan, participating in the Western Water Stewardship Council with the other western Canadian provinces and territories, and crafting new water management approaches through the Regional Adaptation Collaborative led by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia and the Fraser Basin Council. The collaborative is working on a new initiative, Preparing for Climate Change: Securing B.C.’s Water Future, with partners from local governments, First Nations, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.

The Future Forest Ecosystems Initiative is a response to projected impacts on forest and range lands in British Columbia. Its purpose is to amend the province’s forest management framework, legislation, and regulations to include global climate change. This effort is being led by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.

The Conservation Framework, developed by the BC Ministry of Environment and partners, provides tools and actions for biodiversity conservation in the province. The primary goals of the Framework are to:

  • Contribute to conservation efforts for both species and their habitats
  • Prevent species and habitats from becoming at risk
  • Maintain native diversity of species and habitats

The Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan provides guidelines to support the coordinated efforts to mitigate the pine beetle infestation in British Columbia. This infestation is causing the widespread mortality of lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine, affecting both forest health and the commercial viability of the province’s forestry industry. These kinds of infestations are projected to be more commonplace with the onset of climate change.

Approach 3: Assess risk and implement adaptation strategies for the most vulnerable sectors.

This includes conducting vulnerability assessments with leadership from Sector Working Groups supported by experts from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The British Columbia government is in the process of building its adaptation foundation. Using the three approaches mentioned above, the government hopes to make the province’s environment and economy resilient to the effects of climate change.

Status

Information gathered from publications. Last updated December 2010.

Citation

Gregg, R. M. (2010). British Columbia Climate Change Adaptation Strategy [Case study on a project of the British Columbia Ministry of Environment]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/british-columbia-climate-change-adapta... (Last updated December 2010)

Project Contacts

The BC Ministry of Environment is tasked to foster and enhance a clean, healthy and naturally diverse environment. In 2009, the Environmental Stewardship and Parks and Protected Areas Divisions of the BC Ministry of Environment distributed Common Statements of Understanding and Working Principles related to climate change adaptation. These principles should be taken into consideration in all future projects and planning. The Ministry recognizes that it must prepare for and adapt to the unavoidable impacts rising greenhouse gas concentrations will cause throughout the Province.

Keywords

Scale of Project: 
State / Provincial
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Fisheries
Forestry
Land Use Planning
Public Health
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Wildlife
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Culture / communities
Economics
Erosion
Flooding
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Ocean acidification
Precipitation
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Range shifts
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Water temperature
Climate Type: 
Temperate
Timeframe: 
Ongoing
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Increase organizational capacity
Coordinate planning and management
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Effort Stage: 
In progress

Related Resources

Sector Addressed: 
Agriculture
Development (socioeconomic)
Energy
Forestry
Land Use Planning
Policy
Public Health
Transportation / Infrastructure

Preparing for Climate Change: British Columbia's Adaptation Strategy

Photo attributed to Roleypolinde. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement implied. 

Document
Sector Addressed: 
Policy
Sector Addressed: 
Forestry
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Wildlife