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Sea level rise in Vancouver related to climate change

Vancouver takes next steps to prepare for climate change

"We're focusing on ensuring that new infrastructure, parks and buildings are designed with future climate as the baseline, and improving community preparedness for summer heat, air quality and a changing coastline."

December 6 2018 –

City Council approved the forward looking recommendations made in the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Update yesterday, to focus on how Vancouver can continue to prepare for changing climate and the associated impacts.

This update to the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is based on new climate change projections to 2050, which predict Vancouver will experience increased intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall, warmer winters and hotter, drier summers. By mid-century more intense climate-related events are anticipated and sea level rise will pose a significant challenge.

These changes will result in:

  • Overland and coastal flooding
  • Damage from storms
  • Increasing stress on managed and natural systems
  • Health impacts for vulnerable populations such as overheating during increasing summer high temperatures

"Vancouver is already a recognized global leader for its efforts to lessen climate change through the Greenest City Action Plan and Renewable City Strategy," said Mayor Stewart. "As we saw with the UN's recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, more is needed to address this critical area and our approach to future adaptation will be a big part of that."

"Accelerating Vancouver's climate resilience means making sure the necessary programs and infrastructure are put in place to maintain the health and well-being of our community," said Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. "This updated strategy incorporates the latest science, the City's current actions and best practice from around the world to determine an action plan for the coming decades."

Other initiatives

The strategy also places importance on coordinating efforts with other initiatives, including the City's climate mitigation work and focusing on equity, as we know that some residents are more vulnerable to climate shocks and stresses. As an example, City staff are currently carrying out a project with Evergreen, a local NGO, to interview seniors and non-market housing staff and tenants about how they experience heat stress and how the City can best support these groups during heat waves.

"We're focusing on ensuring that new infrastructure, parks and buildings are designed with future climate as the baseline, and improving community preparedness for summer heat, air quality and a changing coastline," said Tamsin Mills, Senior Sustainability Specialist.

Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

The original Climate Change Adaptation Strategy was approved in 2012, and since then nearly 75 percent of the recommended actions have been implemented. This early work resulted in the development of major initiatives in the City, such as robust mapping of the coastline to understand Vancouver's vulnerability to sea level rise and potential future flood prone areas. As well as important actions to ensure the health of our urban forest in the face of climate change, and water and utility planning. Actions that came out of the first adaptation strategy have helped move the dial toward a more climate-resilient city.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report 

The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights the need for a massive scale-up of climate action efforts if we wish to protect our planet now and into the future. The City has reviewed the IPCC report and is taking its recommendations seriously.

The City's Renewable City Strategy sets aggressive carbon pollution reduction goals for the City, with the aim of transitioning fully to renewable energy supplies before 2050.The actions in the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy refresh, alongside reducing carbon pollution, support our climate preparedness and increase our resilience to anticipated impacts from changing climate.

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