Forest fire burns through pine beetle-damaged forest at Eutsuk Lake in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, 2014. (Black Press files)

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.

BC legislaturebc wildfiresClimate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Volunteer Robbie McKnight works the screening table at the Coast Mountain College COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)
UPDATE Smithers clinic expands vaccine eligibility to ages 55+

Community members born in 1966 or earlier can now register and will be notified when they can book

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal shipped its first vessel full of liquefied petroleum gas on April 9, just less than three years after breaking ground at the re-purposed pulp mill site on Watson Island.
Pembina ships first vessel of LPG out of Prince Rupert

More than $12 million spent to repurpose Watson Island for the LPG export facility

Styrofoam burning at the Woodmere Tree Nursery in Telka created billowing black smoke over Tyhee Lake and resulted in air quality advisory for Bulkley Valley. (Contributed photo)
VIDEO: Telkwa styrofoam fire air quality advisory lifted

A woodpile fire at Woodmere Tree Nursery spread to styrofoam blocks causing air quality concerns

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Most Read