Researchers Warn that Metro Vancouver Is Threatened by Rising Sea Levels, Storm Surges and Flash Floods

Leading Climate Change Experts To Gather in Vancouver to Discuss Fate of Cities Facing Rising Sea Levels

 Vancouver, B.C.  – March 6, 2012 – Coastal cities such as Vancouver are in jeopardy due to rising sea levels compounded by severe weather driven by climate change, according to leading policy and engineering experts gathering in Vancouver this week to discuss the growing challenges facing coastal communities.

Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) is bringing together a group of top international experts for a town hall-style meeting this Thursday, giving the public an opportunity to provide input on possible solutions to the impending challenge of rising sea levels on coastal cities.  The Chair of the town hall meeting is internationally renowned scientist Dr. Gordon McBean, author of the ground-breaking 2010 report Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather: Making Canada’s Communities More Resilient to the Impacts of Climate Change for ACT.

If sea levels continue to rise at their current rate, the experts warn, much of Metro Vancouver as we know it today could be under the sea by 2300 – as much as 91 per cent of Richmond could be under water, followed by Delta at 76 per cent, Pitt Meadows at 76 per cent and Port Coquitlam at 51 per cent.

WHAT: Town Hall on The Impact of Rising Sea Level on Coastal Cities
WHEN:   March 8th, 2012, 7-9 pm
WHERE:  Segal Room #1430, SFU Vancouver (515 West Hastings St.)

  • Dr. Gordon McBean Policy Chair, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
  • Dr. Hassan Virji, Director, START, Washington DC
  • Dr. Slobodan Simonovic, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Western Ontario
  • Dr. Jim Davies, Professor of Economics, University of Western Ontario
  • Dr. Rob Lannigan, Professor, Ecosystem and Human Health, University of Western Ontario
  • Dr. Ronald Stewart, Department Head, Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba
  • Tina Neale, Climate Change Adaptation Adviser, BC Ministry of Environment
  • Tamsin Mills, Planner, Engineering Services, City of Vancouver

The town hall meeting will follow a two-day workshop, during which members of the international research group led by Dr. McBean, which is studying the impact of rising sea levels on coastal cities around the world and what society can do to address the issue, will meet with local experts to discuss the issues facing Metro Vancouver.

At the workshop, experts will address key issues that the world’s coastal cities have in common:  aging infrastructure, vulnerable populations, access to resources including finances and data, and health and cultural issues associated with damages and displacement.

Media are invited to attend the town hall, which is free to the public, or interview Dr. McBean, the other panelists or Deborah Harford, ACT’s Executive Director, sponsor of the workshop. Ms. Harford is also the research team member responsible for delivering Vancouver data and moderator of Thursday evening’s panel.

About the Adaptation to Climate Change Team and Coastal Cities at Risk

The Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) brings leading experts from around the world together with industry, community, and government decision-makers to explore the risks posed by top-of-mind climate change issues and identify opportunities for sustainable adaptation. ACT is participating in the 5-year Coastal Cities at Risk project, which is funded by the International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change, an initiative of the federal Tri-Councils and managed by the International Development Research Council


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Martin Livingston:
Paul Sullivan:
BreakThrough Communications Inc.
Vancouver, B.C.