Forest fire burns through pine beetle-damaged forest at Eutsuk Lake in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, 2014. (Black Press files)

Climate adaptation needed, B.C. auditor general says

Flooding, wildfire risks need local, provincial action

B.C.’s adaptation plans to deal with climate change haven’t been updated since 2010, and support for local government efforts to prepare for wildfire and flooding need more attention, B.C.’s auditor general says.

Auditor General Carol Bellringer’s report, released Thursday, agrees with previous government estimates that B.C. will not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. It also questions whether the more ambitious 2050 target to reduce emissions can be met.

Bellringer emphasizes the need for adaptation to a world-wide change that B.C. has only a small role, with only nine per cent of Canada’s human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Last year’s B.C. wildfire season burned the largest area on record, and new research highlighted the decades of forest fire suppression that eliminated frequent small fires that removed wood debris from the forest floor. Local governments have sought provincial and federal help to reduce forest fuel loads, and to build up dike networks to protect communities from flooding.

RELATED: B.C. Interior fires used to be much more common

“Key climate-driven risk areas, like flooding and wildfires, require additional attention,” Bellringer wrote. “We found that government may not be able to manage flood risks, given that roles and responsibilities are spread across many agencies and levels of government, and these organizations may not have adequate staffing or technical capacity.”

B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman acknowledged that B.C.’s target of reducing its emissions to two thirds of the 2007 level by 2020 isn’t likely to be met. The NDP government has set a new target of 40 per cent reduction by 2030.

“We are also increasing B.C.’s carbon tax by $5 per tonne per year, beginning April 1, 2018,” Heyman said. “The higher price on carbon will help put us on a path to meet both the new 2030 target and the 2050 target of 80 per cent below 2007 levels.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturebc wildfiresClimate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford Triathlon Club staying fit in COVID-19 era

ATC members using virtual reality training, social media and solo races to keep in shape

New crosswalk lights could be coming to McDonald Road

Action based on data collected from district in summer

Snowfall warning in effect for Coquihalla Highway

Total accumulations of up to 25 cm can be expected by this evening

District of Kent prepares for urban beekeeping

Permits soon available for a number of residential zones

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

Fraser Valley sex offender charged again less than two months after prison release

Taylor Dueck, who was living in Mission, has history of sex assaults in Abbotsford

’The energy sector is destroyed beyond repair’: expert on COVID-19’s impact on economy

‘That’s never been heard of before; no one sells oil for $4 a barrel.’ – Dan McTeague

Most Read