Integrated approach needed for emissions reduction and adaptation to climate change practices, says SFU report
A new Simon Fraser University report calls for governments to combine emission reduction and climate adaptation strategies and outlines practices that can help reduce extreme climate impacts.
The report, Low Carbon Resilience: Best Practices for Professionals, authored by SFU’s ACT (Adaptation to Climate Change Team), is the first to propose integration of climate mitigation—the reduction of carbon emissions—and climate adaptation—addressing ongoing climate changes—in Canadian professional practices.
The low carbon resilience (LCR) approach would facilitate resource efficiencies and provide transformative solutions throughout a variety of sectors ranging from transportation, urban planning and agricultural operations.
"Typically, emissions reduction and climate adaptation have been addressed separately,” says Deborah Harford, executive director of ACT and the report’s co-author. "By integrating these two streams of action, governments can save time and resources, increase returns on investment, and generate economic, environmental, social and health co-benefits.”
The report’s findings have been endorsed by several leading national Canadian professional associations: the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and are supported by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and ICLEI Canada. The associations have signed a joint statement of agreement endorsing the low carbon resilience approach and others are preparing to sign.
"Canada’s professionals are essential contributors to climate action,” Harford says, "Practitioners across the professions have a key role as change agents in advancing LCR practices in all aspects of society.”
WHY IT MATTERS:
Climate change is already being experienced in Canada with instances of extreme heat, drought, wildfires and flooding. Following the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report assessing climate risk, it is clear that climate extremes are projected to increase, and we must rapidly reduce emissions to prevent runaway climate change.
Climate impacts, and some of the potential adaptation responses to them, can significantly reduce the effectiveness of emissions reduction planning if this is not considered. Likewise, clean energy, renewables infrastructure, and land and water use planning designed to reduce emissions all have potential to contribute to or hinder the success of adaptation actions.
(from The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and ICLEI Canada)
Canadian professionals have both the opportunity and responsibility to respond to this challenge and address both emissions reduction and adaptation. Our national professional associations have a crucial role to play in advancing ethics, awareness, practices and policies that support this integrated LCR approach to action on climate change, due to their prominent roles in many aspects of the development and management of resources, ecosystems and communities.
Read the full statement here:
- Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA)
- Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP)
- Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)
- Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA)
- ICLEI Canada
- About ACT (The Adaptation to Climate Change Team):
One of the only university-based think tanks in North America dedicated to climate change adaptation policy research across the spectrum, ACT studies biodiversity, extreme weather, energy, water, crops & food supply, sea level rise, health risks, population displacement, and low carbon resilience. ACT works with all levels of government, professionals across sectors, NGOs, corporate and philanthropic partners, and research consortia in Canada and around the world. A unique combination of research, education, outreach and policy innovation designed to benefit Canadian decision-makers, practitioners, and communities, ACT is based at SFU’s Faculty of Environment and is affiliated with the School of Public Policy and the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.
ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY:
As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.