$43 billion could be needed for climate change fight, UBCO report shows | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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$43 billion could be needed for climate change fight, UBCO report shows

A plume of smoke can be seen rising above the Joe Rich neighbourhood in Kelowna during the 2017 wildfire season in this submitted photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/UBCO/Troy McMillan

OKANAGAN - A recent study spearheaded by a UBC Okanagan professor said the fight against environmental change needs to begin on the local level, but that doesn't mean victory will come cheap.

Over the last year, the University of British Columbia and the University of Waterloo worked with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to conduct a survey analyzing municipal adaptation planning across the country. They released their findings this week.

Adapation planning is the process of determing what measures to take in response to certain situations, such as floods and fires. In the report, Kevin Hanna, director of the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research at UBC Okanagan and a leader in the survey, said climate changes are impacting how municipalities create adaptation plans.

“More than half of local governments surveyed have initiated formal adaptation planning discussions in their community within the last four years," he said.

The report highlighted above-average rainfall and snowfall, along with severe storms, as the most frequent weather events visited upon local governments in the last 10 years.

Mark Seasons, professor of planning at Waterloo, noted that Canadian municipalities account for half of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

“All levels of government, industry and the public must work together to reduce emissions and respond to climate impacts," he said in the report.

The report noted battling climate change could cost Canadian communities $5 billion by 2020 and $43 billion by 2050.

The report noted that adaptation planning typically gets started on an as-needed basis instead of a wider strategy. Few municipalities have full-time staff dedicated to adaptation planning. The report stated local governments struggle to take action against climate change-related problems due to financial limitations and a lack of human resources.

The full report can be found here.

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