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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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(October 17) ACT Report: Paying for Urban Infrastructure Adaptation in Canada

ACT has released an updated report: Paying for Urban Infrastructure in Canada: An Analysis of Current and Emerging Economic Instruments for Local Governments. 

This report updates and supplements ACT’s 2015 report Paying for Urban Infrastructure Adaptation in Canada: An Analysis of Existing and Potential Economic Instruments for Local Governments. While governments of all levels have made significant progress in adapting to climate change, action across Canada still does not sufficiently address the growing risks that climate change poses.

Since 2015, as the need for adaptation to the current and projected impacts of climate change has become more evident, governments at all levels across Canada have made greater use of various tools to fund and finance infrastructure adaptation. Legislative changes and support from provincial and federal levels of government have led to the emergence of new tools and sources of funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation (emissions reduction). For example, since 2015 several tools have emerged in Canada with the potential to leverage private financing to support infrastructure adaptation.

This report provides descriptions and examples of new and emerging tools, as well as existing tools that have experienced recent uptake in Canadian communities. It also highlights opportunities and examples of tools that have the potential to support the integration of adaptation and mitigation (emissions reduction). It concludes with a set of recommendations for municipal, provincial, federal, and Indigenous governments, suggesting that they reduce legislative and administrative barriers to funding infrastructure adaptation; increase adaptation funding where available; and seize opportunities to create and employ funding and financing tools that support an LCR approach, helping governments realize adaptation and mitigation goals simultaneously.

To read the full report, please click here.

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(November 6) Climate Change and its Effects in our Communities

On November 6, 2019 join the conversation about how climate change will impact communities. The Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) is hosting a full day workshop that will be focused on how professionals have accounted climate change as part of their design. The workshop will be followed by an informal networking event hosted by the Students and Young Professional Group.

The event is hosted at the Mountain Room at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. Lunch + Refreshments/Snacks will be provided at the workshop.

Keynote speakers include Mike Sullivan from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Tina Neale from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. This is in addition to professional experts in Climate Change.

ABOUT CWRA: The Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) is a national registered charity comprised of members from the public, private and academic sectors who are committed to promoting responsible, innovative and effective water resources management.

Formed in 1947 as the Western Canada Reclamation Association, CWRA is the only national organization addressing all water resources issues across all regions of Canada. We offer a range of services and programs focused on professional development, providing expertise and advice, education, and collaboration.

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

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(Apply Now) Climate Adaptation & Resilience Specialist

Climate Adaptation & Resilience Senior Analyst, Sustainable Finance

Location: London or New York preferred

Reporting to: Head of Sustainable Finance Analytics & Research, S&P Global Ratings

Key Roles and Responsibilities

This role is responsible for coordinating and leading our research and application of climate adaptation and resilience analytics in S&P Global Ratings as developed by the Sustainable Finance Team.

  • Support the Head of Analytics & Research to ensure high quality and timely analytics on climate adaptation and resilience, both in credit ratings and new products
  • Set standards for the quality application of adaptation analytical approach in Green Evaluations
  • Advise on the application of climate adaptation and resilience analytics and communicate resulting guidance to all analysts
  • Contribute to excellent customer service and a positive working environment

Success will be measured by:

  • Quality of writing in Green Evaluation Reports related to adaptation as well as input on resilience in ESG Evaluation and credit ratings analysis
  • Orderly production of high quality Evaluations as volumes grow
  • Efficient steering –high quality opinions delivered to meet time expectations of the market
  • Global consistency across regions and practices in Green Evaluations related to adaptation
  • Compliance with relevant policies and procedures

Minimum and Preferred Experience/Skills (Basic Qualifications)

Committed to analytical quality; exceptional analytical and organizational skills; strong knowledge of S&P Global Ratings’ methodologies and analytical approaches, especially related to Sustainable Finance

  • At least five years of relevant analytical experience, with some bias towards science-based qualification as well as finance/economics
  • Comprehensive knowledge of climate change adaptation and resilience, including physical risk scenario analysis and probabilistic modelling
  • Strong communications skills and ability to represent the company at variety of high profile external conferences related to adaptation, physical climate risk, the application of Green Evaluation on adaptation.

To learn more about this job, or to apply please click here.

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(October 16) Webinar: How big data can quantify community social risks – from neighborhood to country levels.

A series of webinars entitled the Local Climate Resilience Webinars Series covers planning, financing, and investment best practices towards climate resilience.

The third webinar in this series: How Big Data can Quantify Community Social and Climate Risks – from neighbourhoods to country levels takes place on October 16th. This webinar will demonstrate how to use big data to calculate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures at the neighbourhood level to quantify investment risks. ESG measures can now be captured at the neighbourhood level and are used to evaluate the stability, resiliency, and economic vitality of a community. The webinar includes Breckinridge Capital Advisors which are using this analysis to assess ESG risk in its municipal level portfolios.

Panelists include:

Suchi Gopal; PhD, professor at Boston University conducting research on spatial analysis and modeling, GIS, data mining and information visualization, and artificial neural networks.

Joshua Pitts; a data scientist and software engineer, with a focus on integration of unique data sets to model complex systems.

Andrew Teras; Senior VP and senior research analyst at Breckinridge. In his role, Andrew performs municipal credit analysis.

Michael Bonanno; VP President, research analyst and the municipal sustainability lead at Breckinridge. Bonanno performs municipal credit analysis and contributes the ongoing development of Breckinridge’s ESG frameworks.

To get caught up, the slides for previous webinars can be found here.

To register for this webinar, please click here. 

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(Apply now) Environmental Innovators Award

The Environmental Managers Association of BC (EMA of BC) has announced that submissions for its Environmental Innovators Award are open. This award is part of the EMA of BC’s annual workshop taking place on March 5th, 2020.

Students of BC post-secondary institutions who are currently enrolled in an environmentally-related technology, undergraduate, graduate or legal program are invited to submit a poster based on their original academic research for consideration of the Environmental Innovator’s Award. A total of $1500 will be awarded to students of the top three posters!

Up to eight (8) posters will be selected for display during the 2020 EMA of BC workshop. Students of the selected posters are asked to attend the workshop to engage with participants. Up to two (2) students per selected poster will be given FREE attendance to the workshop. This is a great opportunity to network with industry professionals and explore your career path.

Judges will determine and announce the top three (3) posters at the workshop. Students of the top posters will be awarded the following:

  • First Place: $750
  • Second Place: $500
  • Third Place: $250

Submission Details: Students must submit a 250 word abstract (2 page maximum), clearly articulating the relevance of the research to BC’s environmental industry, its originality, and its potential significance via email to awards@emaofbc.com.

Dates:

  • Abstract Submissions Deadline: December 31st, 2019
  • Notification of Acceptance: January 7th, 2020
  • Final Poster Submission: February 15th, 2020
  • Workshop at the BCIT Downtown Vancouver Campus – March 5th, 2020
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(February 19-21) Adaptation Canada 2020 Conference: Raising our Game on Resilience

With a rise in global temperatures, we know Canada is already facing critical challenges and more are on the horizon. Together we’ll explore the latest on climate projections, impacts and opportunities for risk reduction.This conference is unique. The conference will feature keynote speakers Per Espen Stoknes and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, and will be an opportunity for those working in adaptation to be a part of a confluence of energy and expertise in climate change adaptation brought by Canadians from different sectors, disciplines, and regions of the country.

Building on the success of the 2016 conference in Ottawa, Adaptation Canada 2020 rolls out February 19-21 for three intensive days, plus ample opportunities for networking and socializing. It all takes place in Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast, on the traditional, ancestral
and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations.
The Adaptation Canada 2020 Conference is at that centre of who’s who and what’s what when it comes to innovation on climate change adaptation. ACT is looking forward to attending and hosting a session on green infrastructure at this unique and energetic conference.
We recently launched early bird pricing, which will be in place until December 2, 2019, and offers the opportunity to save $75 on registration. Click here to visit the website and learn more.
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