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BC’s climate adaptation plan, while a step in the right direction, needs to recognize the magnitude and true costs of climate impacts in BC

Monday, June 20, 2022

VANCOUVER/Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Territories – Lawyers with West Coast Environmental Law welcomed the release of BC’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy today and noted improvements in the transparency and reporting features of the plan. However, the lawyers warned that the plan fails to recognize the magnitude and true costs of climate impacts in BC. 

“The climate crisis requires immediate, urgent and massive action if we are going to minimize the impacts of future heat waves, wildfires, flooding, drought, sea level rise and other climate impacts,” said Staff Lawyer, Andrew Gage. “BC’s new climate plan is a long overdue important step forward, but is still only a fraction of what is needed to keep our communities safe.”

Gage noted that the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that Canada’s local governments should collectively be spending $5.3 billion each year to prepare for the impacts of climate change, while a study commissioned by the Province has estimated that Lower Mainland local governments will need to spend $9.5 billion between now and 2100 just to address rising sea levels (more than $100 million per year). The Province is spending $1.6 billion over four years to rebuild after last year’s climate disasters. By contrast, BC provided local governments with $185 million in 2021/22 to prepare for future climate emergencies and wildfires, and plans to provide $26 million in 2022/23 and $25 million in the years following for climate action (for both reducing emissions and preparing for climate change). 

“The BC government is presumably doing what it considers to be politically feasible – and we acknowledge that the government has strengthened its plan from last year’s draft – but it will not be enough to avoid future climate disasters,” said Gage. “We can keep British Columbians safe, but to do so we need our governments to be open and transparent about the true human and financial costs of the climate crisis and to be willing to take the steps needed to strengthen community and ecosystem resilience in the face of future climate impacts.”

West Coast Environmental Law is the Secretariat for the recently launched Sue Big Oil Campaign, which calls on governments to recover a fair share of climate costs from the global fossil fuel industry.
 

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For more information, please contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
604-601-2506, agage@wcel.org 

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