As climate change begins to have measurable effects, members of many professions are encountering challenges to established standards of practice and disruption of decision-making processes that are based on historical norms. Elevated risk of damages is also causing concern around topics such as liability and investment, as well as exposure to short- and long-term impacts and the complex issues they raise for urban development and other sectoral planning approaches.
Professionals within key practice areas responding to climate change through new approaches have the collective potential to achieve widespread transformation and improve climate resilience throughout multiple sectors. Further, policy- and decision-makers could benefit from consultation with professionals during the development of climate change-related policy and regulation to ensure the practicality and applicability of new approaches, given professionals’ in-depth expertise and implementation experience.
ACT formed the ACT Professional Advisory Committee (ACTPAC) in 2014 in order to develop a better understanding of the climate challenges for different professions through engaging with senior representatives of major sectors in BC on the challenges they face and solutions they are considering. Designed to be a conversation starter rather than an exhaustive analysis of the issues, this report summarizes key ideas on examples of climate change challenges and solutions for selected professions synthesized from discussions conducted with the ACTPAC over the past two years, as well as insights gained during an ACT workshop with BC thought leaders held in Vancouver on September 9th, 2016, entitled Climate Risk: Getting to Action.
It is clear from the results that many professionals are already embarking on new approaches to climate change challenges; however, if they are to respond effectively to the substantive changes anticipated in a world that seems increasingly likely to experience over 2°C of warming by the end of the century, continuous improvement in training, communication, codes and standards, sustainability principles and best practices will be needed.