British Columbians will be better protected from the effects of wildfires, floods and extreme heat through measures included in the new Climate Change Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy.
The strategy includes actions across all ministries supported by an investment of $513 million to ensure BC is prepared to deal with near-term climate impacts, while laying the foundation for future action.
“Last year’s extreme weather conditions leave no doubt that British Columbia is directly affected by the effects of the climate crisis,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. . “We are making record investments to recover from last year’s extreme floods and fires and adapt to future climate change, as well as reducing climate pollution through our CleanBC plan. We are committed to the long term. This new strategy takes targeted action now to support food security and resilient local agriculture, create better floodplain risk mapping to improve how we plan our communities, support more cultural and directed burns in partnership with people indigenous peoples, and build more resilient highways and infrastructure so they can withstand future climate impacts.
The strategy outlines a range of government actions to help individuals and communities prepare, including:
- an expanded role for the BC Wildfire Service to improve wildfire prevention and preparedness;
- developing a comprehensive provincial flood strategy and flood resilience plan to ensure communities are better protected from extreme floods;
- an extreme heat preparedness plan to help people and communities stay safe during heat waves and extreme heat emergencies; and
- investments in nature-based solutions that will reduce the impacts of floods and droughts by restoring healthy watersheds.
“Restoring the health of the Kus-kus-sum watershed in K’omoks territory is critically important to living in balance with nature and preparing for the impacts of climate change, such as floods and drought. extremes,” said Hegus Nicole Rempel, K’omoks First. Nation. “K’omoks First Nation is working with local partners to transform a former sawmill site into critical habitat for salmon, herring, migratory birds and other species. By removing cement, re-grading the natural slope and adding plants native to the area, we are healing vital ecosystems and building resilience to climate change.
The strategy also includes investments for First Nations and local governments to increase wildfire protection through community-led FireSmart activities. Last summer, the City of Logan Lake successfully battled the threat of wildfires along its municipal borders, thanks to the work of local firefighters and years of implementing FireSmart practices.
“Climate change has already had significant impacts on communities like Logan Lake due to increased wildfires. As our efforts have shown, investing in FireSmart and preparing in advance for wildfires is extremely valuable and effective in reducing community impacts,” said Robin Smith, Mayor of Logan Lake. “The new provincial adaptation strategy includes increased supports through FireSmart to help more local governments reduce wildfire risk and protect the places we call home.
The province developed the strategy based on a wide range of input, including significant input through two working groups and multiple engagements with Indigenous peoples and organizations. Additional contributions came from the general public, local governments, academics, businesses, non-profit organizations, young people and others.
The Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy is part of CleanBC’s roadmap to 2030. The roadmap is the province’s plan to expand and accelerate climate action by building on natural advantages of British Columbia – abundant, clean electricity, innovative technology and a highly skilled workforce. It paves the way for increased collaboration to build a BC that works for everyone.
Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority; Member, Climate Solutions Council –
“There is no greater challenge or opportunity for the global community than our response to climate change. YVR is now investing to become a net zero airport by 2030 and supporting the decarbonization of BC’s aviation sector. While the transition to reducing emissions is underway, we must make the kind of investments that will protect communities and families, create the right kinds of economic opportunities and strengthen partnerships so that knowledge, action and accountability drives us all forward. This plan sets out a series of government actions to create that positive future and lasting change.
Aaron Sutherland, Vice President, Insurance Bureau of Canada –
“British Columbians have seen firsthand the devastating impact our changing climate can have, whether it’s severe storms, wildfires or floods. With the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, it is clear that much more needs to be done to build our resilience and adapt to the risks we face. We commend the Government of British Columbia for releasing its Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy and for demonstrating continued climate leadership at a time when it is most needed.
Heidi Yang, CEO, Engineers and Geoscientists BC –
“The Climate Change Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy represents an important step in addressing the current impacts of extreme weather events on BC communities and infrastructure and in preparing for future impacts. Effective climate risk assessment and management through collaboration and integration of the latest climate data data into decision-making aligns with the climate adaptation goals of the Climate Change Action Plan Engineers and Geoscientists BC, and will advance our shared goal of creating a stronger and more resilient British Columbia.
- The Climate Change Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy outlines actions to be taken from 2022 to 2025 and is backed by more than $500 million.
- The strategy is part of a broader series of Budget 2022 investments totaling more than $2.1 billion allocated to help people and communities recover from recent disasters and prepare for future climate impacts.
- Budget 2022 committed more than $1.2 billion to support CleanBC’s roadmap to 2030, which builds on $2.3 billion of previous CleanBC investments, to expand and accelerate actions that will reduce climate pollution and build a cleaner, stronger economy.
To read the full climate change preparedness and adaptation strategy, visit: gov.bc.ca/climatepreparedness
To learn more about climate adaptation in British Columbia, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/BC-Adapts
To learn more about CleanBC and the Roadmap to 2030, visit: www.cleanbc.ca
A backgrounder follows.