Climate Change and the Planning Process in Salluit

Salluit is located in Nunavik, Québec’s most northern region. This community of approximately 1,100 people sits in a narrow, steeply-sloped valley with homes, infrastructure and community buildings built on permafrost. The population is projected to increase, driving a need for more housing, infrastructure, community amenities and more land area to accommodate growth. Yet land available for expansion near the existing village is limited. Much of the permafrost is rich in ice and vulnerable to degradation and failure that accompanies a warming climate. 

Climate models predict that northern regions of the planet will undergo accelerated warming in the 21st century. Canadian communities already know this is happening. Salluit experienced a 2.6°C temperature increase between 1990 and 2003, and has witnessed the problems that such increases can inflict – damaged buildings, roads and embankments, and the relocation of 20 new homes from unstable land.

The study examined permafrost conditions and future patterns of warming and stability, and provided knowledge about permafrost instability to local government in Salluit to support future land-use decisions.

Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

This report provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change, the vulnerability of natural and human environments, and the potential for response through adaptation. The report:

  • evaluates evidence that recent observed changes in climate have already affected a variety of physical and biological systems and concludes that these effects can be attributed to global warming;
  • makes a detailed assessment of the impacts of future climate change and sea-level rise on ecosystems, water resources, agriculture and food security, human health, coastal and low-lying regions and industry and settlements;
  • provides a complete new assessment of the impacts of climate change on major regions of the world (Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, North America, polar regions and small islands);
  • considers responses through adaptation;
  • explores the synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation;
  • evaluates the key vulnerabilities to climate change, and assesses aggregate damage levels and the role of multiple stresses.

Urban Planning for Climate Change

Scientific opinion is now unanimous that global temperatures are likely to continue to rise with concomitant extreme weather patterns and events. There is a protean body of scientific literature available on global warming and climate change, which is affecting urban living in every respect from ‘heat islands’, continuous light and sea level changes as well as severe droughts and floods paralysing urban areas. Urban planning implications are reflected in buildings, street and community design for more environmentally sustainable cities. The urban science related to climate change and its implications for human settlement is in its early stages. Nonetheless, climate change is already becoming a concern of insurance and actuarial industries as they begin to assess risk to human settlement, construction and other risks associated with atmospheric conditions. These cannot be anticipated and need to be examined with  a new paradigm for urban problem solving which is outlined in this paper.

Creating a More Resilient Yellowknife: Climate Change Impacts & Municipal Decision Making

Canada’s municipalities are increasingly facing the realities of climate change impacts, none more so than northern communities. Early understanding of local climate change impacts and a pro-active approach to reducing the community’s vulnerabilities to them is essential to build a more resilient community.

The municipal decision making process has many components: staff reports; the work of standing committees and ad-hoc task forces; recommendations from external agencies; issues brought directly to the municipalities attention by committee members, community or Councilors; and ultimately Council decisions that set the course for the future of the community and its residents. Many of these decisions have a durable impact many years into the future. This future has significant uncertainties with regard to climate change impacts and how they might affect the longer-term outcome of those council decisions. Understanding these climate change scenarios, their degree of uncertainty and how they might affect major capital investment decisions is essential to ensuring efficient use of tax dollars.

The intent of this project is to set Yellowknife on a path to prudent risk management of climate change vulnerabilities. It will result in improvements to decision-making that gives appropriate significance to climate change impacts, and enables the municipality to adequately consider community safety, security and livability in every decision. The overall objective is to develop the tools, capacity, and decision-making processes necessary for the City of Yellowknife to systematically address any community climate change impact as it emerges.

PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York

PlaNYC is New York City's climate change strategy. All of PlaNYC's strategies - from reducing the number of cars to building cleaner, more efficient power plants to addressing inefficiencies in buildings - will contribute to their long term emissions reductions target. In addition, it outlines a plan to embark on a long term planning effort to develop a climate change adaptation strategy, to prepare New York City for the climate shifts that are already unavoidable.

New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan 2007-2012

The Climate Change Action Plan includes a series of actions to reduce as well as prevent greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to climate-change impacts, and to use partnerships and communication to engage our communities to be instruments of change. By following through on each of these actions, and with the contribution of federal initiatives, New Brunswick can expect to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions to 1990 levels in 2012.

City of Sydney Environmental Management Plan 2007

The City of Sydney Environmental Management Plan establishes the City’s environmental vision, goals, targets and actions for the next ten years and beyond. It addresses the themes of energy and emissions, water, waste, plants and animals. Prioritised actions have been developed to improve the health and function of our environment, and reduce environmental impacts of Council and our community. Actions will be delivered through demonstration, advocacy and partnerships to position the City as a leading environmental city. The key stakeholders are residents, community groups, businesses, government agencies and environmental organisations. Environmental objectives of the City’s Strategic Plan 2006-2009 and Corporate Plan 2007-2010 are included within this plan. It is also designed to set a framework forenvironmental outcomes of the Sydney 2030 vision1. The plan has been developed with assistance from the Institute for Sustainable Futures. Workshops and consultation were held with environmental organisations, community groups, Councillors and staff. Targets and actions comply with relevant legislation, and leading programs, reports and policies. The City will coordinate overall implementation of the plan, and outcomes will be reported in the annual State of Environment Report.

Climate Change Action Plan

On February 2, 2005, Governor Janet Napolitano signed Executive Order 2005-02 establishing the Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG). Appointed by the Governor, the 35-member CCAG comprised a diverse group of stakeholders who brought broad perspective and expertise to the topic of climate change in Arizona. The Governor’s Executive Order directed the CCAG, under the coordination of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), to: 1) prepare an inventory and forecast of Arizona greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and 2) develop a Climate Change Action Plan with recommendations for reducing GHG emissions in Arizona. The Executive Order emphasized that “Arizona and other Western States have particular concerns about the impacts of climate change and climate variability on the environment, including the potential for prolonged drought, severe forest fires, warmer temperatures, increased snowmelt, reduced snow pack and other effects.” The Executive Order also recognized that “actions to reduce GHG emissions, including increasing energy efficiency, conserving natural resources and developing renewable energy sources, may have multiple benefits including economic development, job creation, cost savings, and improved air quality.”

Halifax Regional Municipal Planning Strategy

The Regional Municipality Planning Strategy (this Plan) is a guide for the future development of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). It represents a significant step forward in integrated land use planning and long-term coordination. It is a framework that outlines how future sustainable growth should take place in the HRM, in a way that preserves the environment while at the same time maintaining a strong economy. The overarching goal of this Plan is to achieve a shared vision of the future of HRM, a vision of healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities, without taking away from the character that makes HRM a distinct and attractive place to live.