Downtown Vancouver

City commits to financial disclosure to respond to climate change

March 11 2020 –

For the second year in a row, Vancouver is one of only a few cities in North America to include climate-related financial disclosure in its annual financial reporting as part of its efforts to anticipate the financial impacts of climate change.

Since 2017, the City has voluntarily reported on efforts to measure the costs and risks that climate change will have on Vancouver in the years to come, in alignment with the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Climate considerations

Vancouver was the first city in North America to include TCFD-aligned disclosure in its financial statements. This voluntary disclosure defines how the City’s governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets are set up to respond to climate change. Robust climate-related financial disclosure will play a critical role in the City’s goal to better incorporate climate considerations into the City’s financial decision-making processes. 

TCFD disclosure will help create decision-useful information, such as how to allocate capital in the transition to a low-carbon economy, as envisioned in the City’s Climate Emergency Response, unanimously adopted by City Council in 2019 based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendations for an accelerated global response to climate change. 

Climate-related financial risks

This disclosure will also help the City plan for the cost of adapting our infrastructure and taking action to prepare for climate change, while continuing to support immediate and necessary action. Costs for maintaining existing services are rising faster than inflation in a number of areas. This means that there are risks to the City’s five-year financial plan that include: 

  • Costs for unforeseen events, such as public emergencies and issues related to climate change, or unusual weather events. 
  • Costs for higher water consumption during periods of low rainfall, costs for flooding and wind damage, and higher costs for snow and ice removal in periods of high winter storm activity.

As more jurisdictions report this way globally, the City is working with other Canadian cities to promote a consistent, comparable, and efficient way of reporting our climate-related financial risks. At the same time, cities are calling on national and subnational government to send clear signals by stepping up their commitments, centring cities in their climate, housing and economic policy frameworks, and then aligning funding and action accordingly.

Read the TCFD disclosure on pages 29 – 39 of the 2019 statement of financial information (3.5 MB)

The City of Vancouver makes all of its financial reports available to the public, including quarterly financial reports, City Council salaries and expenses, annual financial reports, and statements of financial information.

Background

The City is committed to taking action on climate change through mitigation efforts that are underway to reduce carbon pollution through the Climate Emergency Action Plan, and Greenest City Action Plan. Unless concerted action happens soon, further and more extreme changes may become unavoidable.

As detailed in the City’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan, scientists already project that Vancouver will experience increased annual precipitation and temperatures overall, with seasonal impacts such as warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. More intense and frequent rain and wind storms are anticipated, and sea level rise will pose a significant challenge by mid-century. Proactive climate adaptation measures that reduce associated risks will need to be taken to respond to the impacts of climate change.