Climate change represents the greatest challenge facing the modern world. As the climate warms, increasingly significant impacts are expected to occur as a result of warmer global temperatures, increases in the volume and intensity of precipitation, extreme
weather events (e.g. forest fires, droughts) and sea level rise.
The City has set community-wide greenhouse gas reduction targets and is developing plans and programs to lower GHG emission in the community and adapt to a changing climate.
In April 2019, recognizing the global concern raised by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global warming to 1.5°C, Council declared a Climate Emergency and set new community-wide emission reduction targets be set to between 50% and 58% below 2010 levels by 2030, and between 94% and 107% below 2010 levels by 2050.
Currently the City is reviewing its current Climate action policies and will be making further updates through the Reimagine Nanaimo process.
Community-wide Climate Action (Mitigation)
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a key environmental initiative in the City of Nanaimo. There are many policies, plans and initiatives that the City currently has that contribute to the City's efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Adaptation / Resiliency
The effects of climate change are already being felt with higher temperatures, wetter winters, and drier summers. The following are some City initiatives that address Climate Adaptation.
Sea Level Rise
In January 2018, the Province of BC adopted an amendment to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines that incorporated new building standards for coastal areas that consider relative sea level rise (RSLR) to 1.0 metre by 2100. In response to the province's actions, the City began an initiative to better understand and address the potential impacts of sea level rise on the City.
The City's Sea Level Rise Study (Study) was completed in 2019 and is a high level vulnerability assessment of the City's coastline. The Study includes sea level rise projections for 2050 and 2100, an assessment of potential coastal erosion impacts, and defines a Flood Construction Level (FCL) along the City's shoreline for 2050 and 2100. The Flood Construction Level is defined by summing up the high tide, storm surge, and wind and wave effects for the shoreline. An additional parameter, "freeboard", is added on top of this to provide an extra factor of safety.
Results from the Study show that there are low lying areas along the coastline which are vulnerable to sea level rise. Specifically Departure Bay, Duke Point, Protection Island, and portions of the Downtown. Assessing the extent of risk posed will require further work.This will be done as the City implements the Climate Change Resilience Strategy, which was adopted by Council in June 2020.
The results of the Study will also be used in further work to assess the vulnerability of City infrastructure and in the update to the City's Official Community Plan, through the ReImagine Nanaimo process.
Case Studies in Resiliency
Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP)
The CARIP program is a conditional grant program that provides funding to local governments that have signed the B.C. Climate Action Charter equal to 100 per cent of the carbon taxes they pay directly to support municipal operations. The program encourages investment in climate action.
CARIP Public Reports: