Climate Change Adaptation 101

On October 17, 2013 the City of North Vancouver hosted a public dialogue on the effects of climate change, what is being done across Canada and around the world to respond, and what the City is doing to adapt. The three panelists addressed climate change adaptation from an increasingly local perspective, moving from global issues and actions, to a provincial and regional viewpoint, and ending with what the City is doing to adapt and how we all can get involved.

Global Climate Disruption - The Need for "Smart" Adaptation
Deborah Harford, Executive Director, SFU Adaptation to Climate Change Team

Deborah set the stage for the evening by explaining the causes of climate change, why it will be an ongoing problem, and the impacts it is having around the world. Some of her examples included sea level rise threatening the very existence of the Maldives and other islands, severe flooding from major storms in Canada, the United States, Russia, and China, and widespread drought in Africa. Deborah also introduced the concept of adaptation - preparing for the long and short term effects of climate change by reducing vulnerability and enhancing resilience - and how this is different from mitigation - limiting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Adaptation Solutions for BC and Metro Vancouver
Dr. Stephen Sheppard, Professor and Director of UBC's Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP)

Stephen presented powerful visualizations of what climate change impacts and adaptation will look like in British Columbia and Metro Vancouver, as well as examples of local adaptation actions that are already occurring. In particular, how we choose to respond to sea level rise, whether we Hold the Line, Manage Retreat, or Build Up, presents many challenges and will change the look and feel of our communities. Stephen also showed what Lo-CAR (Low-Carbon, Attractive and Resilient) neighbourhoods would look like here on the North Shore by incorporating active transportation, high efficiency buildings, and nearby jobs and shopping.

Climate Change Adaptation in the City of North Vancouver
Ben Cross, City of North Vancouver

Ben closed the evening by presenting a detailed overview of local climate change projections, how these changes will impact the City of North Vancouver, and how the City is going to adapt. With higher temperatures, more intense storms, and higher sea levels the City expects to see more flooding and natural hazards, a range of health and safety effects, and transportation disruptions, among a host of other impacts and potential benefits of climate change. To ensure we are prepared for these changes the City is developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan to incorporate climate change considerations into all City operations and to encourage everyone to become involved to make our community more resilient.

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