Climate preparedness and adaptation

Our changing climate is already impacting people across British Columbia – from record-breaking wildfires and heat waves to more frequent flooding and longer growing seasons. Preparing for climate change is about understanding these changes and developing appropriate measures so we’re ready for climate impacts now and in the future.

Why prepare?

A changing climate is one of the key factors shaping our society including our homes, health, economy and natural environment.

B.C. is doing critical work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit future climate change. But that's only part of the story  greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will continue to cause changes over the coming decades.

By planning and taking action now, we can help ensure that people have the support they need to be ready for changing conditions. Integrating effective responses into how we do business, build our communities and protect our environment will help keep us safe while reducing the costs of climate change in the long run.

Actions underway

The Province is developing a climate preparedness and adaptation strategy, scheduled for release in 2020. The strategy will take a phased approach to implementation, and will build on climate adaptation work already underway in B.C.

To better understand climate-related risks in B.C., the Province completed a Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment, that examined 15 climate risks and their potential consequences in 2050. This assessment, along with other scientific evidence and engagement, will help inform the climate preparedness and adaptation strategy so that our level of preparedness is right for the level of risk.

The Province currently has a number of programs and resources in place to help prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Transportation

  • Considering climate change impacts in designing and maintaining highways, and applying adaptation practice guidelines for a resilient transportation system

Communities and the built environment

  • Providing guidance to local governments and professionals on sea dike design and coastal development to protect people, buildings, and infrastructure from sea-level rise (PDF, 3.3 MB)
  • Providing guidance to planners through the Green Choices Guide (PDF, 1.5 MB) on opportunities for integrating adaptation into Official Community Plans

Natural resources 

  • Climate change strategy for forests lands and natural resources, helping respond to and mitigate climate impacts
  • Tree Species Selection Tool and the Climate-Based Seed Transfer Project

Agriculture

  • Farm Adaptation Innovator Program (FAIP) to encourage effective farm practices
  • Multi-partner regional adaptation strategies in key agricultural areas of the province, together with pilots and demonstrations for adaptation practices on B.C. farms and ranches

Protected areas

  • Monitoring species and ecosystem changes on protected lands as useful benchmarks

  • Investing in projects that promote connectivity, restore ecological function and support parks infrastructure in the face of climate change impacts (e.g., severe storms, fire)

  • Conducting research on climate change in partnership with academic institutions through the Living Lab Program

Climate monitoring and assessment

  • Providing projections of future climate conditions for British Columbia through collaboration with organizations like the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, a regional climate service provider
  • Operating and improving hydrological monitoring (climate, snow, surface water, and groundwater) to support decision-making for drought, flood, infrastructure planning, and ecological modelling

Disaster mitigation programs

  • Incorporating climate change considerations into B.C.’s emergency planning for such things as wildfires, droughts and floods