Local Governments Adapting to Climate Change
The impacts of a changing climate will affect local governments in various B.C. regions differently, from coastal flooding and extreme rainfall events in some areas to heatwaves, drought and increased risk of wildfire in others. Small communities face additional challenges of planning for and managing climate change as they have less staff capacity and capital resources. However, B.C. local governments of all sizes have been innovative champions in strengthening their climate change resilience and you can read stories of their successes here.
Preparing for and adapting to a changing climate for local governments involves understanding the climate-related risks and then taking action to plan and prepare across many areas. These include land use planning, transportation systems, infrastructure, emergency response planning and delivery, community services, corporate services and management, financial planning as well as grey, green and natural asset management.
Adaptation and low carbon resilience strategies can also offer multiple co-benefits for communities. For example, increasing green spaces in our cities not only helps with managing stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect, but they can also restore wildlife habitat to the built environment and create recreational opportunities. For local governments who are working with tight budgets, making investments that integrate many benefits is crucial.
There are many existing tools and opportunities for local governments to help develop an understanding of local or regional climate-related risks and to implement climate change adaptation strategies. Some local governments have developed regional climate projections reports to better understand their future climate and what impacts it would have on their region. These include:
- Climate Projections for Metro Vancouver.
- Climate Projections for the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
- Climate Projections for the Capital Region.
- Climate Projections for the Northeast Region.
- Climate Projections for the Okanagan Region.
The BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative (BC RAC) has offered introductory workshops on climate change adaptation and collaborated with local governments on regional climate preparedness workshops. The introductory workshops offer adaptation training particularly for staff in small communities of less than 10,000 people. These workshops are held annually, and more information can be found by emailing us or signing up for our newsletter to be the first to know about workshop openings. You can also check out our Past Events page to see summary reports and resources from the BC RAC events we have held.
Key resources for Local Governments include:
- Preparing for Climate Change: An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in British Columbia.
- Pacific Climate Impact Consortium Analysis Tools.
- Province of B.C. Local Government Climate Change Adaptation website.
- BC Adapts Video Series.
- A Guide to Green Choices: Ideas & Practical Advice for Land Use Decisions in British Columbia Communities.
- ICLEI Adaptation Resources.
- Municipal Natural Assets Initiative.
- Investing in Canada’s Future: The Cost of Climate Adaptation at the Local Level.
- Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Tool.