Preparing for climate change: An implementation guide for local governments in British Columbia

Climate Adaptation, Local Governments
Deborah Carlson

Our climate is changing, and we need to plan for a “new normal”. Just a few examples include rising sea levels in coastal areas, more extreme weather events, increased risk of flooding and forest fires, and the possibility of seasonal water shortages.

Local governments have a lead role to play in ensuring our communities will be resilient and sustainable in light of these challenges. Preparing for Climate Change: An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in BC is a resource developed by West Coast Environmental Law that looks at the tools available, and highlights useful experiences and good practices from around the province and elsewhere in Canada.

Some key findings from our work:

  • Local governments already plan for change, and can mainstream climate change adaptation strategies into official community plans, financial and infrastructure planning, emergency response, community development and the protection of the natural environment;
  • Greener communities are often more resilient communities, and measures like green infrastructure and smart planning offer significant benefits from a climate change perspective; and
  • Regional collaboration and cooperation is important to address challenges around capacity—e.g. applying climate models--and being able to respond at the necessary scale to be effective.


This publication received a 2013 Gold Award for Excellence in Planning from the Planning Institute of British Columbia. It was a project of the British Columbia Regional Adaptation Initiative, with funding from NRCAN, the BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and the Fraser Basin Council.

West Coast Environmental Law also acknowledges the generous support of the following organizations:

Vancity EnviroFund


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