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.

Just Posted

Salmon Arm shows support for Paralympic skier Natalie Wilkie

Community provides encouragement ahead of upcoming Pyoengchang Paralympics

Snow impacting flights at Kelowna airport

Tough conditions have delayed several flights and cancelled others at the regional airport

Region takes a leading role in film

Okanagan Film Commission shines in 2017

Feature Friday: Life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Okanagan wineries back to business as usual

“It’s business as usual,” said Jeff Harder, owner of the Lake Country winery, Friday morning.

What’s happening

Check out what is happening this weekend in the Okanagan-Shuswap.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Familiar faces head up library board

The executive of the Okanagan Regional Library board remains the same

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Most Read