A Changing Climate

NEW NORMAL COWICHAN

The CVRD is currently working on New Normal Cowichan, a multi-phased project to take action on climate adaptation. The CVRD's work on climate mitigation (carbon reduction) is led internally by the Energy Management Group, and at a community level by the Community Planning Division. The Climate Adaption work of this Environmental Services Division involves four phases:

  • Phase 1: Climate Projections and Impacts Analysis
  • Phase 2: Vulnerability and Risk Assessments
  • Phase 3: Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy
  • Phase 4: Implementation of the Strategy

The Phase 1 final report Climate Projections for the Cowichan Valley Regional District is now available.  This report gives detailed projections of how climate change will affect the Cowichan Valley.  Wetter winters, hotter, drier summers, and an increase in extreme weather events are projected for the 2050s and 2080s.

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Though climate change is a global phenomenon, it is felt regionally, and while greenhouse gas emissions are changing the average values of temperature and precipitation, they are also shaping climate extremes. These include things like the number of very warm and very cold days and nights, the maximum values of temperature and precipitation, and growing season length.

The impacts of changing extremes are becoming evident, and challenging all levels of government to develop more resilient communities. Ensuring our region is as resilient as possible in the face of unavoidable  impacts is critical to maintaining community well-being, environmental health and a vibrant local economy over the long term.  Developing Climate Risk and Adaptation Plans are a key corporate priority over the 2014-2018 period to ensure resilient communities, reduce risks, and take advantage of potentially emerging opportunities.
  1. Background
  2.  The Strategy

No matter what happens at a global level we are now locked into increasing carbon levels and a rapidly changing environment, this means we have to take action on a number of levels to continue to reduce our emissions 

In a nutshell, mitigation means changing our behavior to reduce the causes of climate change – such as burning fossil fuels or removal of forests and important natural (green) infrastructure such as wetlands.

Adaptation is about increasing our ability to withstand these impacts. By planning how we as individuals can adapt to wetter winters or how our community infrastructure should be built or upgraded to deal with changes in weather patterns- for example how we deal with increased flooding, or developing drought management plans to ensure critical needs are meet.