Nearly 4.8 million Canadians living within 10 kilometres of the country’s east and west coasts are “likely to be greatly affected” by future flooding brought on by sea level rise, extreme weather, or changing tides, the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation concludes in a new report issued last Thursday.
Though little has been done to date to prepare for those impacts, “we can no longer manage coastal risks by endlessly fighting against natural processes,” the centre’s managing director of climate-resilient infrastructure, Joanna Eyquem, said in a release.
“There are real win-win opportunities to work with nature in the long-term, with multiple benefits for the community and beyond.”
“As this year’s devastating floods in B.C. have shown, we are still not doing enough to defend our communities from the extreme impacts of climate change,” added Standards Council of Canada CEO Chantal Guay. “In this new normal, all adaptation solutions—including those that harness the power of nature—need to be on the table.”
But Canada “does not yet have a strategic planning framework or standard classification of approaches for coastal risk management,” states the report, produced by the Intact Centre, the Standards Council, and the National Research Council. It urges measures to protect communities by combining “grey” infrastructure like sea walls and storm surge barriers with nature-based solutions like dune and wetland restoration.
It also calls on governments to standardize the way the two sets of adaptation options are evaluated, develop national monitoring standards for adaptation efforts, and build capacity for the private sector to participate in nature-based approaches.