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Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance: Briefing Paper for Decision Makers

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011-10-04
Abstract: 

Since there is less confusion and debate in Canada about the importance of water than many other resources, the affirmation of a new “water ethic” could be a means of ultimately achieving greater adaptive capacity to climate change, while generating a great many other lasting social, economic and environmental benefits along the way. This, however, will require new governance structures that break down existing jurisdictional fragmentation and institutional territoriality. The breaking down and reformation of governance related to the management of water will, in itself, require a high degree of committed and effective collaboration among jurisdictions.

 

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Designing Adaptation Policy: Background Report

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009-09-09
Abstract: 

Extreme weather events like the 2006 B.C. windstorms periodically illustrate the susceptibility of Canadian communities to climate-related stress. All regions of Canada experience extreme weather events of one type or another, and it is likely that they will increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change. The risk these hazards pose demands a purposive course of action to reduce the vulnerability of communities and to strengthen their capacity to cope with weather-related impacts. Public policies designed to achieve these goals can be aggregated under the rubric of climate adaptation. In this report, we seek to contribute to the development of Canadian climate adaptation policies targeted at extreme weather events. Our specific objective is to map out a course of action to address climate change and extreme weather at the community level, and to assess how the federal and provincial governments can facilitate and support these local actions. The report begins by examining climate change and its relationship with extreme weather in Canada. It then develops a policy framework, which identifies goals, principles and instruments associated with effective climate adaptation policy. Finally, the report analyzes two sectors that are particularly sensitive to extreme weather events—emergency management and infrastructure—and identifies specific adaptation actions in these areas. Throughout the report, recommendations are offered to support the design and implementation of climate adaptation policy.

 

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather: Summary Report

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009-09-09
Abstract: 

Extreme weather events such as severe thunderstorms, ice storms, blizzards, windstorms, tornadoes and hail are part of life in Canada, but these hazards are becoming increasingly frequent and intense as a result of climate change. Both the current impacts and future risks associated with extreme weather events demand climate adaptation policies, courses of action designed to reduce the vulnerability of communities and strengthen their capacity to cope with weather-related impacts. At the end of this report, we outline major recommendations to support the development of Canadian climate adaptation policies at the community level, and identify ways in which the federal and provincial governments can facilitate and support these local actions. A central focus is disaster risk reduction, meaning reduction and, where possible, prevention of loss associated with extreme events. Specific attention is devoted to two policy fields—emergency management and infrastructure planning—that are particularly sensitive to extreme weather events. The recommendations outlined here are drawn from a more comprehensive companion report, entitled Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Designing Adaptation Policy, which is available from Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT).

 

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Valuing Ecosystem Goods and Services in the Columbia River Basin

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-09-15
Abstract: 

The values presented in this report apply to the Columbia River Basin (CRB) in the US as a whole. While further work will be needed to estimate the values directly associated with the Columbia River Treaty (CRT), our analysis clearly demonstrates the need for acknowledgment of non-market, ecosystembased values connected to Treaty operations as the sovereign parties consider options for renegotiation, or modification, of the CRT. We acknowledge that many cultural and spiritual ecosystem values transcend economic values. We present this work as a comment on the fact that the contribution of ecosystems is currently valued at zero in the CRT. We organize the report in three sections, each of which aligns with one of the report’s objectives:

Section 1 outlines the past, present, and future contexts of the Treaty. We also discuss the nexus of natural resources in the Basin – food, water, energy, and biodiversity – in the context of the Treaty.

In Section 2, we detail the methods we used to arrive at our estimates of the economic benefits of ecosystem goods and services (EGS) in the CRB. We introduce the concept of natural capital valuation and describe some of the techniques researchers use to assign monetary values to nature. We also use a case study of the Arrow Lake Reservoir to discuss some of the opportunity costs BC is incurring due to the coordinated management of the river under the Treaty.

In Section 3, we explore the effects that a changing climate may have on the values of EGS and the nexus in the future. We summarize projected changes in hydrology and human development in the CRB, and identify the importance of considering these changes in a renegotiated or modified Treaty.

We conclude by making the case for including the value of ecological goods and services in any discussion of an adjusted Canadian Entitlement.

 

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Paying for Urban Infrastructure Adaptation in Canada: An Analysis of Existing and Potential Economic Instruments for Local Governments

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-06
Abstract: 

As is the case in many other countries in the Western hemisphere, local governments in Canada have a significant role to play in minimizing the impacts of climate change on their population, economy, and fiscal budgets. Simultaneously, local governments typically experience limited capacity, expertise, and limited financial resources.

This report examines a number of instruments that local governments in Canada may use to generate revenues in support of adaptation in general, and in support of the development of climate resilient infrastructure in particular. The report also examines instruments aimed at incentivizing behavioural changes at local levels that may reduce the need for public investments in adaptation, and could thereby reduce the need to generate revenues in support of such investments. The most effective combination of incentives and investments is likely to vary across local governments.

For local governments, it is recommended that they: include adaptation in long-term strategic planning using downscaled climate change projections; reduce incremental costs associated with climate change by incorporating adaptation actions into existing municipal processes (e.g., into infrastructure maintenance and replacement programs, or in updates of community plans); act strategically and be creative with the current tools available.

 

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Taking Action on Green Resilience: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Synergies

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-20
Abstract: 

Climate change impacts are already causing environmental, social, health, and economic problems for Canadian communities, and these are projected to increase. There is widespread recognition that we must plan responses to these impacts (climate change adaptation), and that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (climate change mitigation) is a crucial priority if we are to minimize them. Communities can maximize the effectiveness of actions and increase funding opportunities by advancing these approaches through integrated “Green Resilience” (GR) strategies.

This report draws together content and conclusions from a workshop entitled “Taking Action on Green Resilience” hosted by ACT, SFU and the consulting firm Green Resilience Strategies (GRS) at the 2017 ICLEI Canada Livable Cities Forum in Victoria, BC. The workshop brought together 40 public and private sector climate change practitioners from across Canada with expertise in urban planning, municipal policy, energy systems, buildings, engineering and communication. This report provides examples of GR measures, summarizes key benefits, provides insights on how to identify, fund and implement GR opportunities, and recommends new or updated research, analysis, technical assistance, incentives and regulations identified by participants as necessary to advancing GR practices.

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Low Carbon Resilience: Transformative Climate Change Planning for Canada

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-06-27
Abstract: 

Low carbon resilience (LCR) refers to climate change strategies that integrate and achieve co-benefits between greenhouse gas emissions reduction (mitigation) and planning designed to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts (adaptation). To date, most strategies focus on one or the other of these two goals. This paper demonstrates the potential value of their integration, explores examples of low carbon resilience strategies, and considers options for their implementation in Canada.

Document type: 
Report
File(s):