Today, community, public and private sector champions have seen the benefits of taking action on climate change through both reducing the greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and preparing for climate change impacts that are already unavoidable (adaptation). These two sides of climate action need to be integrated and considered simultaneously. We need to change how we have historically addressed these two concerns, which have typically been planned separately. “Low carbon resilience” (LCR) is a lens that brings together mitigation and adaptation strategies in planning, policy and implementation processes.

Low carbon resilience is a meaningful lens for climate change adaptation because it serves to reduce the carbon footprint of adaptation practices, at a time when emissions reduction is critically needed from a wide range of human activities. LCR looks towards win-win solutions that make the most efficient use of our time and resources. LCR strategies can also have multiple co-benefits for public health, equity, biodiversity and quality of life.

Examples of LCR already exist in our communities. For instance, green roofs reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and they also absorb stormwater from high precipitation events and help cool our cities to reduce the urban heat island effect. Ecosystem-based and natural approaches to coastal adaptation can sequester carbon while strengthening resilience to higher temperatures, drought and flooding.

To dive more deeply into LCR and check out examples of best practices, you can visit SFU ACT’s Low Carbon Resilience project website.

Photo credit: Municipal Natural Assets Initiative

Image Credit: Government of British Columbia