Canadian Underwriter

B.C. lacks climate change policies, especially on wildfires and flooding: audit

February 15, 2018   by The Canadian Press (CPSTF)

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VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s auditor general says the provincial government is working to adapt to the risks posed by climate change but it has no clear plan for wildfires and flooding.

A wildfire burns on a mountain in the distance east of Cache Creek behind a house in Boston Flats, B.C., in the early morning hours of Monday July 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Carol Bellringer says there is little monitoring of progress and reporting on performance involving the ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Transportation, Forestry, Housing and Emergency Management BC.

Bellringer says the province may not be able to manage flood risks because roles and responsibilities are spread across many agencies and levels of government that could lack staff or technical capacity.

She has made 17 recommendations in a new report out today, including that the government provide the public with an overview of key risks and priorities, and create a plan with facts on timelines and how First Nations will be involved.

The audit was developed using the province’s February 2010 adaptation strategy, which calls on the government to consider climate change in protecting health and safety, maintaining public infrastructure, managing natural resources and achieving economic sustainability.

Bellringer says two responses are needed – mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation by lowering the potential harms and negative impacts climate change may cause.

But overall, she says it’s unlikely B.C. will meet its 2020 emissions reduction target of 33 per cent below 2007 levels.

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