Climate change is already having significant and often devastating impacts on communities across the Province. Understanding the full scope of climate risks will help governments, communities, businesses, Indigenous peoples, and individuals work together to prepare for these impacts.
Below are examples of five significant areas of climate impacts for B.C. – and how communities are already responding.
Helping people and communities prepare
|• Increasing costs of fire suppression and damage|
• More smoke-related health impacts such as asthma
• Damage to infrastructure and buildings
• Impacts on quality of drinking water
- The Province has invested $235 million in the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. for wildfire risk reduction, reforestation, forest rehabilitation and other efforts.
- The province’s $60-million Community Resiliency Investment program helps local governments and Indigenous communities reduce wildfire threats around their communities.
- Organizations are taking action. The British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association, with $500,000 in financial support from the Province, is using livestock grazing to help manage fine fuels (such as grasses) in areas susceptible to wildfire.
- FireSmart principles, such as clearing away plants within 10 metres of a structure and ensuring that no trees overhang the roof, can help protect your home and community from wildfire damage.
- A heat pump can cool your home and filter out air pollution particles, like smoke. You can also use a portable HEPA filter to breathe easy during wildfire season.
Floods and Rising Sea Levels
|• Health and safety risks |
• Damage to infrastructure and property
• Repair costs, economic losses and insurance payouts
• Negative impacts to drinking water
• Flooding of agricultural lands
• Impacts on fish and wildlife habitat
- Land-use planning can minimize flood risk and may include community decisions to limit development and infrastructure in floodplain areas.
- The Province supports communities with resources for flood management and sea-level rise planning.
- Surrey’s Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy is a community-driven plan to manage wide-spread flooding and keep the community safe.
- Simple actions like installing and maintaining backflow valves and clearing storm drains can help reduce flood risk in homes and businesses.
Heat waves and warmer average temperatures
|• More risk of heat-related illnesses and impacts to mental health|
• Shifts in diseases and pests
• Change in the location of ecosystems and species
- Kamloops has a plan to protect and expand the urban forest cover to create more shade and help neighborhoods stay cool when the summer heats up.
- With warmer average temperatures, cherry growers are beginning to expand orchards northward.
- HealthLinkBC has tips for staying safe in summer heat - like keeping hydrated, avoiding strenuous activity or visiting an air-conditioned community center or library.
|• Less water in reservoirs leading to water restrictions |
• Lower water levels and higher
temperatures in rivers affecting fish health
• Water shortages affecting agricultural crops and animals
- In the Okanagan, farmers are using new techniques and technology to reduce the amount of water used in orchards and prepare for droughts in the future.
- B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act contains new tools that can be used to manage water through water shortages and plan for future changes in water resources.
- Choosing the right plants and hard landscaping materials can help protect your property from drought, fire, and flood while also reducing water, energy and landscaping costs.
Loss of forest resources
|• Changes in tree species distribution|
• Job loss, economic impacts
• Changes in variety of recreational and cultural values provided
- B.C.’s seed transfer project helps forests adapt to climate change by moving seedlings to locations where they will be well-adapted to the future climate.
- Maximizing tree diversity when replanting forests is helping to build resilience in our forests.
- The First Nation Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative is designing new strategies to support Indigenous communities in affected areas.
- Provincial Forest Stewardship Plans are working to foster resilient forests and maintain future options and benefits in a changing climate.
To learn more, visit the B.C. Climate Preparedness and Adaptation website.