Minister Wilkinson Addresses Canada in a Changing Climate Report, Supporting British Columbia’s Climate Resiliency
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- Natural Resources Canada
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May 18, 2022 Ottawa, Ontario Natural Resources Canada
The effects of climate change are being felt throughout British Columbia. Extreme weather events such as flooding, drought and wildfires have a significant impact on the province’s economy and on the health and well-being of its population. Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted by climate change and have seen impacts on their traditional foods, medicines and ways of living. Now is the time to work together and build climate change responses that address current and future problems.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced the release of the British Columbia chapter of the Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report to help support adaptation to climate change and strengthen resilience in British Columbia.
This new chapter highlights that British Columbia’s water resources will see significant changes as the climate warms, with flooding causing some of the most damaging and costly impacts. It also underlines that climate change is profoundly affecting British Columbia’s forests and the communities and infrastructure located in forested regions. The risk of disturbance from fire and pests is increasing due to climate change, affecting forest productivity, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Climate change is also already impacting food production in British Columbia.
On the other hand, climate change adaptation activities are present across most sectors and settings in B.C. This work continues to mature, supported by improved access to climate data, decision-support tools, funding, supportive institutions and collaboration. The Province has also been working with the Government of Canada and other partners on the development of the country’s first National Adaptation Strategy, a whole-of-society blueprint for coordinated action across the country, to ensure communities and Canadians are prepared for the impacts of climate change. The Strategy is open for public consultation at letstalkadaptation.ca until July 15.
Furthermore, Indigenous Peoples are uniquely impacted by climate change and also uniquely resilient as a result of Indigenous knowledge systems. Successful climate change adaptation is more likely when co-created with Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous-led adaptation efforts are emerging across many traditional territories in what is today known as British Columbia, and these efforts often consider climate change adaptation alongside strengthening Indigenous governance and environmental stewardship.
The report is a part of Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, Canada’s National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing, the impacts of these changes and how we are adapting. The assessment reports raise awareness and understanding of the key issues facing our country and provide information to support sound adaptation decisions and actions.
By ensuring British Columbians have access to credible, evidence-based information, this resource will enable them to make more informed decisions to prepare for and respond and adapt to climate change impacts.
“British Columbia faces significant climate challenges related to all regions and multiple sectors of the province, and longer-term risks to hydrology, forestry, agriculture and communities. Our government’s National Adaptation Strategy will bring together decision-makers to help protect people and improve resiliency while building a clean and prosperous net-zero future.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources
“2021 was a devastating year for British Columbia, which suffered from drought, floods, wildfires and strong winds. We know that more needs to be done so that B.C. and the rest of Canada are better prepared for and can adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change. We are working to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and advance Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy — preparing Canadians and our communities for today’s climate and for the climate of the future.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Last year’s extreme weather events have shown that British Columbia is on the front lines of the climate crisis. It’s why we’re investing record amounts to recover from these events and prepare for the climate impacts of the future. Our Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy will be released shortly, and we look forward to continued collaboration and support through the federal government’s own upcoming strategy. Knowledge, data and collaboration are key pillars to successful climate adaptation to support people and communities, and this new report is a welcome addition.”
The Honourable George Heyman, British Columbia Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Natural Resources Canada
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Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change