air quality
Wildfire smoke over Chesterman Beach Photo via Instagram @tbeardmre

It looks like BC is on the road to missing its 2020 emissions reduction target.

According to the province’s Auditor General, Carol Bellringer, BC needs to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce the potential harms that could arise from climate change.

Assessing the risks

An independent audit on climate change risks shows that he province is not equipped to deal with natural disasters arising from climate change – particularly flood, wildfire, and drought.

As evidenced by the BC wildfires last summer, the province is already feeling the effects of climate change, as BC’s average temperature continues to increase faster than the global average since 1900.

“During the summer of 2017, the area burned by wildfires in B.C. was equal to that of the past seven years. And in the spring of 2017, a combination of heavy rains and snowmelt caused major flooding in the Okanagan,” reads the press release.

Recommendations

The Office of the Auditor General has been working with other ministries to come up with special initiatives in order to reduce the risks posed by climate change, as the Provincial government does not currently have the staffing and technical capacity to deal with ensuing natural disasters.

So far, Bellringer and her team have put forth 17 recommendations to help improve the government’s response to climate change.

This includes a seed transfer project plan that will help forests genetically adapt to climate change and aid in reforestation.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world is facing,” says Bellringer. “The B.C. government has a lot of work underway to adapt, but it hasn’t comprehensively assessed the risks the province faces, and doesn’t have a plan to move forward.”

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