Climate Change Adaptation Plan
The impacts of climate change are being felt across Canada.
Increases in temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and a rise in the frequency and severity of storm events are already impacting the most vulnerable people and places.
To ensure that critical infrastructure and services continue, municipalities need to proactively manage the challenges of a changing climate.
In December 2020, Norfolk County Council unanimously approved the Norfolk County Climate Change Adaptation Plan to address the local climate risks and vulnerabilities.
What is Climate Change?
Climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators. Climate change can involve both changes in average conditions and changes in variability, including extreme events.
Climate Change Impacts
- From 2004 to 2015 insured losses from catastrophic weather disasters in Canada have risen sharply from $375 million/year to $1.2 billion a year (IBC, 2016).
- In 2012 a heatwave in Southern Ontario caused fruit trees to blossom 5 weeks earlier, right before an April frost destroyed, destroying 80% of the blossoms and costing $100 million dollars (IBC, 2016).
- In 2019 multiple Lake Erie flood events caused significant damage to Norfolk County homes, businesses, and public areas.
- Climate-related events have already begun to incur a steep cost onto Canadians far and wide, and that number is only predicted to rise.
- In 2011, the National Round Table on the Economy and the Environment calculated that the costs of climate change in Canada could grow to be between $21-$43 billion by the year 2050, almost 1% of the estimated total GDP- a cost that will have to be partially shouldered by local communities and regions.
- A recent study completed by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) shows that investments in climate-resilient infrastructure have a return on investment of $6 in avoided future losses for every $1 spent proactively.
What is an Adaptation Plan?
A climate change adaptation plan is a long-term strategy that helps communities deal with the impacts, risks, and opportunities that come with a changing climate. An effective adaptation plan will help reduce those costs and impacts for Norfolk County and help create a more sustainable and resilient community.
What is the difference between Mitigation and Adaptation?
Climate change mitigation refers to actions that address the root cause of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While mitigation efforts aim to reduce the long-term effects of global warming, adaptation measures are needed to minimize impacts of a changing climate.
Climate change adaptation refers to any action that seeks to reduce the harmful effects of the changing climate while taking advantage of benefits.
Adaptation is a proactive way to protect Norfolk County from expected impacts and the avoid high costs of remediating damages.
In early 2019, Norfolk County was awarded a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) grant to develop a climate change adaptation plan. The Norfolk County Climate Change Adaptation Plan was developed exercising a three-phase approach.
Phase One: Scope and Planning:
Climate change risks to Norfolk County were identified and prioritized through public and stakeholder engagement. During this phase, residents, businesses, stakeholders and County staff were invited to share their experiences related to climate change to assist with the identification of the climate change risks and potential solutions. The risks were then prioritized by the Norfolk County Climate Change Adaptation Committee utilizing a high level feasibility analysis completed by WSP Canada Group with input from Norfolk County staff.
Phase Two: Vulnerability Assessment and Actions
Potential adaptation actions and strategies were identified and prioritized by the Committee, utilizing both local expertise and best practices across Canada.
Phase Three: Plan Development
In the final phase, developing the plan, the formal adaptation plan was prepared, reviewed by the Committee and County service area representatives and then released to the general public for comment and feedback.
Following the Summer 2020 general public review period, the Plan was further refined and was approved by the Climate Change Adaptation Committee on September 11, 2020.
Our project process and milestones are illustrated below.
Learn more about climate change and how it affects Norfolk County below:
- Climate Atlas of Canada https://climateatlas.ca/
- Norfolk County Funding Announcement https://www.norfolkcounty.ca/news/new-funding-to-help-norfolk-county-adapt-to-climate-change/
If you have any additional questions please contact one of the following study representatives:
Michael Simoes, P. Eng., CEM