Climate Change Impacts
Science links recent climate change to the greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere through human activities over the past century. Based on historic emissions, further changes are unavoidable. Continued emissions will add to the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and are expected to cause substantial additional change within our lifetimes and beyond.
- Average temperature has increased over all of B.C. since 1900. By 2050, B.C. is projected to be at least 1.3º C warmer and may be as much as 2.7º C warmer than in recent history.
- Average precipitation increased over most of southern B.C. (1900–2013). By 2050, average annual rainfall may increase from 2 per cent to 12 per cent, with the potential for increased frequency of drier summers and increases in extreme rain events.
- All glaciers in B.C. retreated from 1985 to 2005. By 2100, B.C. is projected to lose up to 70 per cent of its glaciers.
- Average sea level has risen along most of the B.C. coast over the past 95 years. Sea level will continue to rise at most locations on the B.C. coast.
Avoiding increases to the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a global level will minimize the climate impacts we end up facing in the long run. At home in B.C., we can take action across the economy to reduce our emissions. Continued leadership in climate action along with our partners around the world will drive global emissions reductions.
While some amount of future climate change is unavoidable, we can minimize negative impacts by preparing ahead of time. By ensuring that communities and businesses are more resilient to extreme weather events – for example by creating FireSmart communities – we can reduce the social and economic costs of these events. If we design new buildings and infrastructure with tomorrow’s climate in mind, we will spend less on maintenance and our communities will be safer.