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.
A research report from ACT (Adaptation to Climate Change Team), based at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of the Environment.This set of findings is partly based on information gathered during ACT’s three conferences – Municipalities Adapting to Climate Change held June 2-3, 2008, Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change held October 17, 2008, and Climate Impacts and Public Safety held November 21, 2008 – as part of the six-month session on Extreme Weather Events and adaptation to climate change.
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