Climate Risk: Getting to Action | Professionals’ Perspectives on Climate Change Challenges

Climate Risk: Getting to Action | Professionals’ Perspectives on Climate Change Challenges First Summary of Discussions

Click Image to read Climate Risk: Getting to Action

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.


Webinar: Lancet Countdown on Public Health and Climate Change


Thursday, December 22nd
10:15 – 11:45 am PST

The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is an international, multidisciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions and practitioners across the world.

Announced at COP 22, the Lancet Countdown will track progress on health and climate change. It follows on from the work of the 2015 Lancet Commission, which concluded that the response to climate change could be “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century”. Countdown will develop indicators to track the world’s response to climate change, and the health benefits that result.

The Lancet Countdown will actively seek to engage with existing monitoring processes, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and World Health Organization’s climate and health country profiles. The indicators will also evolve over time through ongoing collaboration with experts and a range of stakeholders, and be dependent on the emergence of new evidence and knowledge. This is especially relevant to the public health practitioner and public health research communities, because of the collaborative nature of the initiative.

Join Island Press, the Public Health Institute and the Security and Sustainability Forum for the US introduction of the Lancet Countdown.

Click here to register for this webinar.


Webinar: Costs and Benefits of Climate Change Adaptation in Mining


The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) is offering the following upcoming webinar:

An Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of Climate Change Adaptation in Mining
Thursday, December 15th
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

A changing climate presents physical risks to mine infrastructure as mines are often located in challenging geographies that can experience extreme weather or were not designed for more frequent extreme weather events. Climate challenges have led to a wide range of industry impacts, from direct impacts on mine operations to indirect impacts via supply chains. If these risks are not characterized and addressed, they may have cost implications that affect the return on investment and the profitable operating life of mines or facilities.

A risk based tool has been developed and implemented to characterize and rank the risk to various mine infrastructure under current and future climate conditions. Mine infrastructure components (e.g. tailings dam, holding ponds or water supply) that could be adversely impacted by climate are identified in the tool as a potential climate/infrastructure interaction. The risk for each interaction is then characterized using a combination of the severity of the consequence, and the likelihood that the consequence would occur under both the current and future climate conditions. The tool allows for the analysis of how different climate adaptation measures would impact the risk score for different climate/infrastructure interactions.

This webinar will present results from a case study of the implementation of the tool, as well as the tool development and how uncertainty in climate change projections can be addressed.

Click here to register.


Job Posting: CEO at David Suzuki Foundation

David Suzuki Foundation (CNW Group/David Suzuki Foundation)

David Suzuki Foundation (CNW Group/David Suzuki Foundation)

The David Suzuki Foundation is hiring for a Chief Executive Officer.

Are you a collaborative leader and outstanding relationship-builder, highly motivated to drive positive environmental change and policy in Canada? If so – we are delighted to share with you a unique and important opportunity.

Head-quartered in Vancouver, BC, and founded in 1990, the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) is nationally revered as a leading and iconic environmental organization. DSF’s mission is to protect the diversity of nature and our quality of life, now and for the future; currently, DSF is focused on research and campaigns that relate to environmental rights, climate solutions, and biodiversity.

After 9 years, the current, highly regarded CEO has announced he is stepping down. The Board is now seeking a new CEO to lead the Foundation through the specific opportunities – and challenges – that lie ahead. This is an important time of transition for the Foundation.

The high-level mandate of the CEO will be to drive more systemic environmental change in Canada through the actions of the David Suzuki Foundation. As part of this, the CEO will drive and implement strategy, lead the organization and engage effectively with a diverse and evolving set of stakeholders (including all levels of government; media; other advocacy groups; donors, the private sector; the Canadian public and Indigenous peoples in particular; management, staff, board and family).

To qualify for this role, you will be a leader who, in the words of Dr David Suzuki, truly ‘understands our place in the world’ and is highly motivated to ‘change the conversation’ around this – from the federal government to the people of Canada. Your values will be closely aligned with those of the Foundation: you will thus be committed, collaborative, courageous, solutions-seeking and integrity-driven. You will be deeply concerned about the environmental catastrophe we are currently heading for. You will bring a core understanding of the issues, and a fearless commitment to finding solutions.

The following skills are essential for the new CEO:
Strong leadership, diverse relationship management, high collaboration, public speaking, communications – internal and external, vision, public engagement and influence, literacy in science and nature, political astuteness.

Specific experience in the following areas is also essential:
Strategy development, management of a team or organization, public issues and crisis management, experience in the realm of activism/advocacy/ public policy. Experience in community organizing would also be welcome.

To read more and apply, click here.


Call for Nominations: SFU President’s Awards for Leadership in Sustainability

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The SFU Sustainability Office is accepting nominations for the Annual President’s Awards for Leadership in Sustainability (2017)

 The President’s Awards for Leadership in Sustainability recognize members from Simon Fraser University’s faculty, staff and student community who demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing the cause of sustainability within and/or beyond the University.

 Award recipients share SFU’s commitment to engage leadership and serve as inspirations and role models to our students, graduates and the community.

 For the purposes of this award, sustainability is understood as it is defined in SFU’s Sustainability Policy (GP 38): “improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.” It should recognize that economic, social and ecological issues are fundamentally interrelated as they affect sustainability.

 Award recipients contribute to raising awareness of the fundamental interrelationships among these elements through their work, going above and beyond the normal requirements of their profession or studies.

 The Award is intended to recognize actions that significantly improved awareness and understanding of sustainability, as well as actions that promoted and produced improved environmental sustainability.  We encourage you to nominate a deserving candidate by December 15th using the attached nomination form.

 For more information on the Award and Selection Committee please visit the Sustainability Office website.


Carbon Talk: Is the Paris Agreement on Track?


Join in on the next Carbon Talks public dialogue at SFU:

At COP21 last December, the Paris Agreement was unanimously adopted and charted a new course in the global response to climate change. In Marrakech this November, world governments came together for the first time since Paris for COP22 to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Ministers and civil society met against the backdrop of fresh evidence that 2016 will be the warmest on record and with a new administration in Washington that could reverse American support for the Paris Agreement.

So what happened at COP22? What was (and wasn’t) agreed to, and what does that mean for progress on climate change? We hear from two experts who were deeply involved at this year’s COP—Tzeporah Berman and Jennifer Allan.

When: Friday, December 9 from 12:30-1:30pm
Where: Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre at 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
More information: https://carbontalkscop22.eventbrite.ca  

Click here to register.


Workshops on Canada’s Environmental Assessment Review


Canada’s environmental assessment processes are broken. Be part of building a visionary new environmental assessment law that works for the environment and communities.

An Expert Panel appointed by the federal government is coming to British Columbia this December to hear your views on how to reform Canada’s environmental assessment processes.

West Coast Environmental Lew is holding workshops for attendees to learn about what needs to change and how to be involved in this important review.

Vancouver Workshop
Monday, December 5th
2:00 pm
Tyee Hall
False Creek Community Centre
1318 Cartwright St, Vancouver

Nanaimo Workshop
Sunday, December 4th
2:00 pm
Milestone River Room
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
101 Gordon Street, Nanaimo

Space is limited, so please RSVP to eacoordinator@wcel.org to reserve your spot.

For more information, visit www.envirolawsmatter.ca.

To learn more about the Expert Panel or participate in the federal review, visit the Panel’s website at http://eareview-examenee.ca/.


Funding Opportunity: EcoAction Community Funding Program


Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) EcoAction Community Funding Program is now accepting applications for funding for new projects until December 12, 2016.

Funding is available for 2017-18 projects that address the program areas of Climate Change, Clean Air, Clean Water and Nature. This year preference will be given to projects that support ECCC’s climate change program through activities such as energy conservation and efficiency, alternative energy and transportation, waste reduction and diversion, and climate change adaptation. The program invites submission of projects from indigenous organizations and environmental, youth, and other non-profits groups and encourages partnerships with vulnerable communities and small businesses. All proposals must fully meet program requirements and demonstrate that there will be measureable environmental outcomes as a result of the project activities.

Click here for more information on applying.


Event: Dispersed Adaptation to Climate Change

Check out this upcoming event in Victoria, and livePICS Logo webcast for those in other locations:

‘Dispersed Adaptation’ to Climate Change: The Heritage Potato Crop-Climate Project
Wednesday, November 30th
3:30 pm
Room 002, University House 1, University of Victoria, 2489 Sinclair Rd

Climate change threatens Canadian and global food security. Heritage varieties are disappearing at an alarming rate with the result that loss of genetic diversity makes our food supply vulnerable to climatic variability. Dispersed adaptation takes advantage of the power of the “many-eggs-in-many baskets” approach. Growing a diversity of varieties in many ways and places disperses the risk to climate uncertainty and extremes. The dispersed strategy builds resilience and adaptation and lowers the risk of major crop failures. It also encourages forward thinking and innovation by encouraging communities to identify and develop varieties best suited to their local climate.

As part of the project, citizen-scientist growers plant several varieties and observe development and yield of promising heritage potatoes while recording key weather variables directly in their fields. Trials are distributed across highly different climates in Canada where varieties are observed for several years. Using standard and accepted methods, the performance of heritage and selected standard potatoes is compared. The initiative has identified several highly adaptive and productive varieties, uncovered an uniquely British Columbian variety, recorded adaptive cultural techniques and distributed thousands of heritage tubers to the public.

Richard Hebda has a PhD in Botany from the University of British Columbia and has been a Curator of Botany and Earth History at the Royal British Columbia Museum for more than 36 years and an adjunct faculty member in Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria for more than 31 years. He was the first faculty coordinator of the Restoration of Natural Systems Program at UVic and the Province of BC’s expert advisor on Burns Bog, purchased as a globally unique ecosystem. He studies vegetation and climate history of British Columbia, Ethnobotany of BC First Nations, climate change and its impacts, restoration of natural systems and processes, ecology and origins of Garry oak and alpine ecosystems and botany of grasses. Richard Hebda, with his graduate students, is an author of over 120 scientific papers; over 250 popular articles mainly on bulbs and native plants, climate change; co-author of five books and major reports, co-editor of three books. He serves as the Province of BC’s science advisor in Paleontology and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013 for his service in paleontology and the Canada-wide Bruce Naylor Award for curatorship in natural history.

Click here for the webcast.


Review of our Columbia River Treaty Book


BC Studies has released a review of our book, “The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer”, as well as Eileen Delehanty Pearkes’ book which is also about the Columbia River Treaty. ACT senior advisers Bob Sandford and Jon O’Riordan co-authored this book along with ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford.

Our primer explores the initial intent of the Treaty and its success to date, its costs to Columbia Basin residents and ecosystems, and new influences the signatories must now consider. Shifts in social norms related to the environment, equity and social justice, new views on the relevance of Indigenous traditional and local knowledge, and the economic and physical effects of a changing climate—are all considered as factors in future Treaty governance. The primer concludes with a summary of the perspectives that currently exist between and within each country with respect to Treaty benefits and outlines the next steps that will take place in the negotiation process.

From the review:

“Sandford et al. make their most convincing case when they turn to environmental issues. Any revised treaty, they argue, must draw upon indigenous knowledge for ecological restoration as well as include greater flexibility to respond to climate change. Yet the authors rightly note that US and Canadian priorities will be far apart on this score. Concerned with irrigation and expanding the Columbia’s salmon runs, US officials will push for larger water releases from BC reservoirs during spring and summer, while their Canadian counterparts will want to maintain water levels to restore the riparian environment.”

Read more of the review here.


Event: Comparing Household GHG Emissions Across Canadian Cities


Photo credit: Ross Strachan. Source: flickr.com

Thursday November 23rd
12:00 – 1:00 pm
BC Hydro Theatre, CIRS Building, 2260 West Mall, UBC

How does the City of Vancouver’s household greenhouse gas emissions compare to those in other cities across Canada? Does our greenest city out-perform other metropolitan areas, or not? What accounts for differences amongst cities’ household emission? Which cities perform the best, and why? Join us to hear answers to these questions and more from UBC’s Dr. Sumeet Gulati, Associate Professor, Environmental and Resource Economics and researcher Juan Fercovic, Master of Food and Resource Economics. Together, Sumeet and Juan will offer a presentation on their research comparing average household greenhouse gas emissions across Canadian cities, including past emissions trends alongside strategies cities can take to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions through the future.

Sumeet Gulati is an Associate Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of British Columbia, studying the economics of urban transportation. He holds a BA in Economics from University of Mumbai, an MA from the Delhi School of Economics and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland. His research interests lie in the economics of urban transportation, the effectiveness of carbon taxes, the effectiveness of environmental policy, the political economy of environmental and trade policy, international trade and its effect on the environment. Sumeet recently co-published the study “Comparing household greenhouse gas emissions across Canadian cities,” in the Journal of Regional Science and Urban Economics with Juan Fercovic. He also previously studied the cost-effectiveness of programs designed to improve energy efficiency. More about Sumeet at http://sumeetgulati.landfood.ubc.ca/?login

Juan Fercovic is currently a staff member of the Master of Food and Resource Economics (MFRE) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) playing a role in academic coordination and research. He has a degree in Agriculture Engineering as well as an MSc in Agriculture Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and an MSc in Agricultural Economics from the UBC MFRE program. His research interests lie in environmental economics particularly in water resources, GHG emissions and the economics of Climate change. Juan recently co-authored the study “Comparing household greenhouse gas emissions across Canadian cities,” which utilized census data spanning 12 years to rank cities carbon dioxide emissions per average income Canadian households. His research revealed average household CO2 emissions fell almost two tonnes from 1997 to 2009 and Montreal, Quebec has the lowest CO2 levels across Canada.

Click here to register.


Communications & Engagement Job Opportunities


Check out these two job opportunities from SFU Public Square and Langara College:

Volunteer Coordinator
SFU Public Square
Full time, 35 hours/week
Deadline: November 23rd

As the Volunteer Coordinator, you will be a key supportive member and will work closely with others on the SFU Public Square team to deliver SFU Public Square activities and events, including the 2017 Community Summit focused on the theme of Canada and the World. You will report to the Executive Director and Community Summit Project Manager. The Volunteer Coordinator will drive volunteer recruitment and volunteer management while providing ongoing support to volunteers before, during, and after the Community Summit.

The successful applicant must be an SFU student or recent alumni.

Click here for the full job description.

Communications Officer

Langara College
Temporary full time (3 year appointment)
Deadline: November 25th

Reporting to the Manager, Communications and Marketing, this position provides communications and marketing support for Langara College’s fundraising and alumni engagement team. The Communications Officer (CO) works closely with staff in Langara’s Advancement Office, members of the Langara College Foundation Board, and the Alumni Advisory committee, to research, plan and implement marketing strategies and materials in support of the College’s fundraising and alumni engagement goals. This role will assist with the planning and execution of a campus-wide campaign and celebration. The position also collaborates and liaises with colleagues in Communications & Marketing Services (C&M) and other areas of the College to develop a variety of projects. The position works with both internal and external audiences to achieve communications goals according to work performance standards set by the College.

Click here for the full job description.


Workshop: Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate


Save the date:

Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate
Thursday, February 9th
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Prince George

The Fraser Basin Council and Engineers Canada are hosting a workshop on infrastructure adaptation to climate change. This introductory workshop will address the future climate trends for the Upper Fraser region and how these trends will impact infrastructure. The workshop will provide an overview of new practice guidelines for highway infrastructure adaptation, and also explore case studies of assessing climate risk for road transportation and wastewater infrastructure.

The afternoon session will offer participants with information about, and practice with, the PIEVC Protocol. The Protocol is a practical tool and process that uses standard risk assessment science to assess and document the vulnerability of infrastructure to the impacts of current and future climate.

Register now for this workshop here.


Webinar: Bringing Together Communities, Businesses and Governments to Tackle Flood Risk


The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) is pleased to announce the following webinar:

FloodSmartCanada – Bringing Together Communities, Businesses and Governments to Tackle Flood Risk
Tuesday, November 29th
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Presenter: Shawna Peddle (Director, Partners for Action, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo)

Flooding is the most common and most expensive cause of property damage in Canada, with an estimated 1.7 million Canadian households at very high risk of flood damage. Our recent survey of Canadian homeowners revealed a lack of public understanding of flood risk and responsibilities for protection and recovery, but also highlighted public desire to understand risk and contribute to personal flood protection. To improve our odds towards reducing flood risk, we need better communication from governments and the insurance industry, as well as education on personal actions that will reduce dependence on federal and provincial disaster assistance programs.

Partners for Action (P4A), an applied research network advancing flood resiliency in Canada, collaboratively engages a diverse set of stakeholders to create and share knowledge, address information needs, and drive action. We are working through our FloodSmartCanada project to inform Canadians about their risk, opportunities to reduce this risk, and methods of risk transfer, to inspire disaster resilience in the face of a changing climate and extreme weather. This presentation will highlight results from our public survey and how these results are guiding both website content (www.floodsmartcanada.ca) and community-level projects towards understanding and tackling flood risk.

Click here to register.


E-Dialogue: Changing the Conversation- Local Climate Action


Monday November 28th
10:00 am – 11:30 am PST

Data Collection and Analysis Update

This conversation brings together the MC3 2.0 research team to discuss the second phase of the project. The first phase, MC3: Meeting the Climate Change Challenge, studied 11 local government climate innovators in British Columbia. As part of the second phase, the team re-interviewed a sub sample of the original first phase interviewees in order to track if any changes had occurred in their development paths. At this event, the team will discuss the revised coding framework, decomposition analysis, and indicator framework that are helping to guide the analysis. They will also share their ongoing process of visualizing the data and how text mining is informing their approach.

Check out the first from a series of data visualizations illustrating their findings. This is the fun part: asking questions of the data. What is the number one topic across all the local governments? Which local governments are most closely linked in their vocabulary? What are the topics hardly anyone is talking about? How do the topics change from year to year?

Click here to join the conversation.


Article: Adaptation, the Neglected Child of Climate Change


The latest issue of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC)’s magazine, Public Sector Management, includes a thought-provoking article on how governments manage and implement adaptation.

John Godfrey, former Minister of Infrastructure under Prime Minister Paul Martin and current Special Advisor on Climate Change to the Government of Ontario, pens this article discussing the various governments – and various federal government ministries – all tasked with tackling pieces of the climate change puzzle. Adaptation tends to be an afterthought when it is included, and this fragmentation, argues Godfrey, is a problem for climate change action.

“Given the range of departments at the federal and provincial level affected by extreme weather events, and given the importance of there being an integrated and coherent adaptation and resilience strategy of all three orders of government, including municipalities, who are often the front-line responders, both federal and provincial governments need a different approach in co-ordinating their efforts.”

How should governments work together to respond to climate change- including adaptation as a vital piece of a comprehensive response?

Read more from the article here.

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