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(November 20) Talk on Climate Change and Building Science

Humans spend over 90% of their time indoors, so understanding how climate change is affecting the operations and adaptation of buildings is critical. Join the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in Victoria, along with building scientist Rob Lepage in Victoria on Nov 20 at 3pm to discuss this interesting topic in more detail. 

Register for the event here.

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(November 29) Can’t Face it Alone: Public Dialogue

We cannot face climate change alone. It impacts our communities, our decisions, and emotions, but leveraging our personal connections and relationships can drive solutions and innovation. Join SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue on November 29 at 4:30 to discuss this topic, and learn about how climate change moves beyond the individual. 

To learn more about this event and to register, click here.

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(November 21) Webinar: Living with the Rain: Adapting to Increased Future Rainfall in the Greater Vancouver Area

Climate change is expected to bring an increase in total annual precipitation as well as more intense rainfall events to the Greater Vancouver area. How can this region and others work with climate projections of future precipitation and prepare for these changes?

This webinar will give examples of how two government bodies are leading the way in this work. Andrew Ling, Senior Project Engineer, will present on the cutting-edge work that Metro Vancouver has done on Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves that are based on future rainfall rather than historical rainfall and that will help engineers, planners and policy makers plan with more confidence in a changing climate. Melina Scholefield, Manager of Green Infrastructure Implementation, will speak to the City of Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy. This strategy aims to use rainwater as a resource rather than a waste product and has set a goal of capturing and treating 90% of the rainwater that falls in Vancouver.

The webinar is on November 21, 2019 from 9:30 – 10:45 PST. Register for the webinar here.

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(Now – January 10) Have Your Say. Climate Ready BC: Preparing Together

Have your say on B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy

Climate change is already impacting communities across British Columbia. We’ve seen record wildfires, extreme weather, increased drought and more frequent flooding. That’s why the government’s CleanBC plan commits the Province to develop a Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy to help ensure that communities across B.C. can prepare for a changing climate.

CleanBC is helping to reduce climate pollution and put us on the path to a low-carbon economy that creates opportunities for everyone. While this is a critical part of addressing the climate change challenge, we also need to take steps to prepare and respond to the impacts of climate change that are already underway.

CleanBC wants to hear from you. You or your organization can provide your thoughts on how climate change is affecting you, as well as your visions for how to build a resilient, climate-ready future. This input will help the Province better understand how to develop policies and programs that support communities across B.C.

People can share their thoughts until January 10, 2020, through an online questionnaire, discussion forum and written submissions. Additional opportunities for public input will follow in early 2020, with the release of the final climate preparedness and adaptation strategy later in the year.

Have your say: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/climatereadybc/

Join the conversation on social media by tagging #ClimateReadyBC and #MyClimateStoryBC

To learn about what B.C. is already doing to prepare for climate impacts, visit:www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change/adaptation.

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(November 14) You, Me & CleanBC: A Dialogue for Young Leaders on Climate Action.

Join the SFU Centre for Dialogue on Thursday November 14 for the event You, Me & CleanBC: A Dialogue for Young Leaders on Climate Action.

This event will be a dialogue about the collective climate action needed in BC and an opportunity to learn more about current youth-led and provincial government-led climate initiatives. Attendees can hear directly from young leaders in Metro Vancouver and the Government of British Columbia about what they are doing to take action on climate change. This evening will be an opportunity to connect with peers equally passionate about climate action to share your thoughts, feedback, and ideas about CleanBC, the Province’s climate strategy and to plan future collaborations.

Date: November 14, 2019
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Strategy Room 320-370, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Free event with limited space. To visit the Eventbrite and register, click here. 

 

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(November 20) Vacancy Announcement: Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Pacific Water Research Centre, SFU

The Pacific Water Research Centre in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University is hiring a post-doctoral researcher (PDR). The PDR will play a leading role in a tri-national project on methodologies for costing of flood impacts in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The main objective of this project, approved and funded by the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is to develop a standardized methodology for assessing the cost of extreme floods in North America, to address the great variation that exists in the methods used in each country to estimate the costs of flood damages. The project is implemented through collaboration among government agencies, community representatives, private sector partners, and domain experts. A secondary objective is to extend this methodology to a multi-hazard assessment (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, landslides). Such an approach, applied across the three countries, will enable systematic investments by governmental agencies to enhance resilience to extreme events, reduce future economic impacts, and support real- time monitoring and disaster response.

PWRC will engage the PDR for a duration of 1 year starting 15 December 2019 to support the CEC project activities in all three countries as an expert in data analysis, providing support for organization of project activities and co- authoring key outputs of the project. The PDR will be based at the School of Resources and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC, Canada) on a full-time basis. Occasional travel to Mexico and the United States, as well as within Canada, may be required.

For a more in depth overview of the responsibilities and qualifications, please click here. Applications close November 20, 2019.

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(October 30) – We’re way past the point of preventing climate change, it’s time to adapt

A recent University Affairs magazine article has a title to make you pause: We’re way past the point of preventing climate change, it’s time to adapt. The article clearly marks the transition from a world in which we thought we could prevent warming above a degree, to a world where we are no longer in position to prevent climate change, and as such,  our new reality is going to be adapting to change.

For example, the article outline that this is the first year the World Bank has funded adaptation on an equal footing with prevention efforts. The article continues to note that a lot of what adaptation research will focus on is changes at the community and regional scale, learning the acute needs and impacts of communities. For example, solutions that are directed at flooding in Toronto can’t address wildfire risk in BC and Alberta.

ACT’s Executive Director Deborah Harford contributed to the conversation, outlining that is not enough to integrate piecemeal adaptation strategies, but that adaptation needs to be strategic. “It’s crucial that we begin to embrace more complex, integrated thinking on climate action if we are to achieve the biggest bang for our buck in both the short and long term,” Harford says. Adaptation strategies can sometime be emissions intensive – think of expanding pipe networks or concretizing coastlines, so finding green solutions, like naturalizing wetlands is key.

To read the full article, click here.

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(October 29) New Report: Ahead of the Storm: Developing Flood-Resilience Guidance for Canada’s Commercial Real Estate

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation announces their latest report entitled: “Ahead of the Storm: Developing Flood-Resilience Guidance for Canada’s Commercial Real Estate.” 

As the commercial real estate industry strives to minimize its exposure to flood risk, this report provides a concise list of flood-resilience measures that can reduce the potential for property damage, business disruptions, as well as the potential for flood-related injury and loss of life stemming from extreme rain events.

The report profiles case studies from across Canada where flood-resilience measures were applied “on the ground” to limit flood risk, and shares examples of innovative technologies for water damage reduction.

To read the full report, click here.

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(October 29) Tapped Out: A Special Report on Water Scarcity and Water Solutions in British Columbia

British Columbia’s climate has changed. 2015 is Year 5 of a new climate reality that is defined by recurring extremes. Floods, drought, forest fires and windstorms – all are happening within the same year, and year after year. Summers are longer and drier; winters are warmer and wetter. As a consequence, the seasonal water balance is out of balance. Change is occurring at a rate much faster than anticipated. This has risk management implications for security of water supply.

As illustrated on the map, almost two-thirds of B.C.’s population (i.e. about 3 million people) live in areas that are deemed to be water-stressed. 

The recently released report Tapped Out: A Special Report on Water Scarcity and Water Solutions in BC highlights the pressing issue of seasonal water scarcity in BC. The takeaway message is that water is a finite resource, even in water-rich British Columbia. With droughts being our new reality, sustainability of water supply dictates that communities would adapt their water use to match the new seasonal pattern. On a practical basis, risk management would oblige communities to have a plan to regulate demand and maintain water supply through a 6-month drought, both for people and fish, from storage (engineered and/or natural).

“There is a myth that B.C. has limitless water supplies,” says lead author Tanis Gower, Project Biologist with the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “However, 2.9 million British Columbians live in areas where water shortages are likely to be a serious problem in the coming years.

Quick Facts from the report:

  • Approximately 63% of B.C.’s population (2.9 million people) live in water-stressed areas, as defined by the Province’s designations used to support water licensing decisions.
  • The areas with the highest levels of water stress cover only 3.7% of the province, but 23% of B.C.’s population lives in these places.
  • B.C.’s population has doubled since the 1970s, and some water-stressed areas have higher-than-average growth rates.

To read the report, click here.

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(December 2-3) The 4th Annual BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Workshop

Registration is now open for the Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research provincial workshop taking place December 2-3, 2019 in Kelowna, BC. The 4th annual provincial workshop hosted by the BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network including:

  • An afternoon of applied research sessions with BC researchers and producers discussing practices they have been testing in the field to improve soil health, store carbon, reduce the impacts of pests and disease, and adapt to increasingly variable weather. Sessions are geared to tree fruit and wine grape production.
  • Featured keynote speakers bringing expertise from the Washington state tree fruit industry (Dr. Lee Kalcsits) and the California wine industry (Dr. Ann Thrupp) into BC conversations on agricultural adaptation research and strategies
  • A banquet dinner following the keynote presentations to provide more time for networking & getting to know all of the great people interested in agricultural adaptation
  • A full day focused on collaboration between researchers and research partners to provide time to advance collaborative research and discuss solutions to challenges like data sharing and extension strategies

To register for this workshop, or learn more click here.

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(October 27) Low Carbon Resilience Interventions: Case Studies at the Building, Neighbourhood and Community Levels

ACT LCR InterventionsOctober 27 marks the release of ACT’s latest report: Low Carbon Resilience Interventions: Case Studies at the Building, Neighbourhood, and Community Levels. A compilation of comprehensive LCR interventions and associated case studies, this report gives readers a robust understanding of practical LCR application in communities. 

While mitigation and adaptation have often been planned separately, there are major benefits to integrating them, using a lens referred to as low carbon resilience, or LCR. ACT’s Integrated Climate Action for BC Communities Initiative (ICABCCI) is exploring LCR in BC communities, but in order for local governments and professional practitioners to advance and apply LCR, they require examples that illustrate its use in practice while considering barriers and opportunities that may influence uptake of these approaches. This set of case studies, provides examples of LCR interventions that have been applied in Canadian and international communities at the building, neighbour- hood and community levels, with details of the benefits for adaptation and mitigation, as well as co-benefits, funding and financing mechanisms, and key considerations on implementation.

To read the full report, click here.

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(October 26) PICS is Hiring!

PICS is hiring both an Associate Director and a Researcher in Residence, Negative Emissions Technology.

Ged McLean, the Associate Director of PICS for the past two years has been a driving force behind envisioning and implementing the new PICS strategic research agenda. This includes the launch of their new Opportunity Projects and $1M Theme Partnership Program. PICS is now ready for its next chapter of growth and impact – to further deepen and expand the institute’s network of climate solution experts and leaders, who are working collaboratively on this most urgent challenge of our time.

As part of this growth, PICS is hiring for a new position, Researcher in Residence, Negative Emissions Technology, which offers an exceptional opportunity to be at the cutting edge of climate solutions research and engagement on negative emissions technologies. Part of the role will be working with the international team behind PICSs’ newly announced Solid Carbon Theme Partnership project, which plan to turn the greenhouse gas CO2 into rock, by permanently injecting it beneath the Earth’s ocean floor.

PICS has a mission to help Canada and the world drive towards net-negative emissions with adapted and resilient communities and ecosystems. They invite appropriately qualified candidates to consider joining their dedicated team.

PICS is located at the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC. Both applications are due by December 1, 2019.

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(October 28) Event – From NYC to YVR: New York’s Waterfront as a model for Vancouver

Despite being surrounded by water, Vancouver doesn’t have a comprehensive waterfront plan. This November, City Council will vote on a number of motions that impact our water and so it’s the perfect time to hear from Roland Lewis, President of the NYC’s Waterfront Alliance.

New York established a comprehensive planning model for its waterfront to establish a clear vision that includes working, living, ecosystems, transportation and access. He’ll share what he’s learned advocating for, supporting, and now monitoring this plan and how it’s shaped the city.

This event is hosted by the Georgia Strait Alliance, who for the past five years has led the Waterfront Initiative – a stakeholder-led movement to bring this level of thinking and vision to Vancouver’s waterfront.

This event will be held at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue on October 28, from 7-10pm. To register for this event please click here.

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(October 22) Just how many trees should we plant to stay under 1.5 degrees? Two ecologists have an idea.

In the latest IPCC Report, the panel recommends adding 1 billion hectares of forest to limit global warming by 1.5°C by 2050. Ecologists Jean Francois Bastin and Tom Crowther and their co-authors wanted to figure out whether today’s earth could support that many extra trees – and where they might go. The ecologists are researchers at the Crowther Lab based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and have determined that around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide are suitable for reforestation, with Canada ranked #3 on the reforestation list. These 0.9 billion hectares would be equivalent in size to the US and would translate to 1-1.5 trillion trees capable of capturing two-thirds of human made carbon emissions.

A Benchmark for Global Action: “The restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation,” states Dr. Jean Francois Bastin, lead author for the study.

The researchers mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests.

Their findings highlight global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date. However, climate change will alter this potential tree coverage. We estimate that if we cannot deviate from the current trajectory, the global potential canopy cover may shrink by ~223 million hectares by 2050, with the vast majority of losses occurring in the tropics.

“Our study provides a benchmark for a global action plan, showing where new forests can be restored around the globe.. Action is urgent, and governments must now factor this into their national strategies to tackle climate change,” concludes Dr. Bastin.

Canada is #3 for Reforestation Potential: The study also shows which parts of the world are most suited to forest restoration. The greatest potential can be found in just six countries: Russia (151 million hectares); the US (103 million hectares); Canada (78.4 million hectares); Australia (58 million hectares); Brazil (49.7 million hectares); and China (40.2 million hectares).

Many current climate models are wrong in expecting climate change to increase global tree cover, the study warns. It finds that there is likely to be an increase in the area of northern boreal forests in regions such as Siberia, but tree cover there averages only 30 to 40 percent. These gains would be outweighed by the losses suffered in dense tropical forests, which typically have 90 to 100 percent tree cover.

To learn more about author Thomas Crowther, click here.

To learn more about the global tree cover, click here.

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(November 8) Lecture: Mobilizing Finance for Climate-Resilient Greener Growth through Water Sector Interventions

On November 8th, Laila Kasuri, a development practitioner and engineer will provide a comprehensive overview of climate-resilient growth and discuss the role that water plays in the green economy. In particular, Laila will discuss some of the limits of a mitigation-based approach to achieving sustainability and highlight the importance of adaptation in achieving climate-resilient growth through interventions in the water sector. Three areas of support are discussed including policy development; investment planning; and mobilizing innovative finance – with a discussion of supporting case studies. This discussion can help to address two questions, namely how can climate change adaptation –in particular, adaptation to water variability – help the achievement of sustainable green growth. And how can climate-resilient growth contribute to reducing the impacts of water variability? Answering these questions can help water practitioners in better contributing to and mobilizing finance for climate-resilient, greener growth while also developing solutions for sustainable water management.

Laila Kasuri has more than nine years of experience in the water and green growth space, working on projects in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Jordan. She has played a key role in providing advisory support to national and municipal governments on green policy and strategy development; developing sectoral plans and investment pipelines; conducting technical assessments, spatial analysis and feasibility studies; project design, appraisal and management; and stakeholder engagement. Currently, she is working as a Water Investment and Policy Solutions Analyst with the Global Green Growth Institute, where she is involved in strategy and business development for low-carbon, bankable investments in the water sector.

This talk will take place at SFU Burnaby, TASC 2, Room 8570 at 10:30 am. Seating is limited, to guarantee your spot RSVP to Dr. Nastaran Arianpoo; Research Associate at PWRC, REM, at nastaran_a@sfu.ca.

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(October 31) Webinar: The Benefits of Salmon Safe Development

Salmon-Safe B.C. is one of Canada’s first and only certification programs linking land management practices with the protection of urban watersheds. By adopting Salmon-Safe standards, developers, landowners, and property managers can help protect salmon habitat and water quality.

This webinar is the second in a three-part Introduction to Salmon-Safe Certification for Urban Development webinar series. The Benefits of Salmon-Safe Certification for Urban Development is taking place on October 31 from 12-1:15 pm, and will include multiple perspectives on the benefits of Salmon-Safe, including presentations from Mountain Equipment Co-op (a Salmon-Safe certified site) and DIALOG. The webinar will be an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Salmon-Safe certification and how it can benefit the urban environment. The webinar is open to all those involved in sustainable land and water management practices, including development, design, and building professionals, government agencies, and property owners and managers.

To register, click here.

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