June 2021’s “heat dome” sent temperatures in many parts of British Columbia into the mid-40s, contributing to the deaths of just under 600 people. Wildfires that consumed the town of Lytton followed. Then in November the “atmospheric river,” with its intense rainfall, created massive flooding that destroyed sections of crucial road and rail infrastructure, cutting off the most populous part of BC from the rest of Canada and forcing the evacuation of communities in the Fraser Valley’s Sumas Prairie, the town of Merritt and several First Nations.
With $9 billion and counting in infrastructure damage, loss of life, livelihoods and livestock, BC has joined the legions of other jurisdictions that have been significantly affected by our changing climate.
While BC has one of Canada’s most ambitious policy packages to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions with “CleanBC’s Roadmap to Net Zero,” climate adaptation policy is playing catchup.
New initiatives and funding have been promised by federal and provincial governments, but is there a robust policy agenda that incorporates best practices gleaned from adaptation research, local knowledge and experience that will reduce the risk of catastrophic losses to communities and the environment?
Our panel of climate adaptation experts discussed the policies and practices that will be needed to build climate resilience.
This talk is part of the IRPP’s 50th anniversary event series, What should be on Canada’s policy radar? Held throughout the spring and fall of 2022, these panel discussions will help us to identify the challenges that our decision-makers will face in the coming years, and examine ways in which Canada can promptly address these issues.