Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment

The Province has completed a Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for B.C. This is the first phase of an initiative to better understand climate-related risks in B.C. and help government develop appropriate measures to address those risks.

Our changing climate is impacting people and communities across the province. With improved understanding of these risks in B.C., we can be better prepared for the changes ahead.

The climate risk assessment evaluates the likelihood of 15 climate risk events that could occur in B.C. along with their health, social, economic and environmental consequences. It is the first report of its kind in Canada to examine provincial-scale climate risks.

The assessment will be used to inform public engagement on the development of a provincial climate preparedness strategy, which will help protect people, communities and businesses from the impacts of climate change and will be released in 2020. This work will build on provincial initiatives already underway, including those that support local government planning, improve transportation infrastructure, help agricultural producers prepare, and promote productive forests with seedlings matched to the future climate.

The risk assessment is not intended to be used as a prediction of future events. Instead, it is a tool to evaluate the likelihood and potential consequences of each event happening in the future to understand the degree of risk each poses for the province to help government prepare.

Key Findings

  • The greatest risks to B.C. are severe wildfire season, seasonal water shortage, heat wave, ocean acidification, glacier loss, and long-term water shortage.
  • Other risks that have the potential to result in significant consequences include severe river flooding and severe coastal storm surge, although these events are less likely to occur.
  • Nearly all risk event scenarios (except moderate flooding and extreme precipitation and landslide) would have major province-wide consequences in at least one category.

Going forward, the risk assessment method will be customized and piloted to support provincial ministries and regional governments to better understand and respond to emerging climate risks.

The Province continues to rise to the challenge of climate change by reducing carbon pollution and putting B.C on the path to a cleaner, stronger future.