addressing climate change adaptation in eastern ontario april 15 2013
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Addressing Climate Change Adaptation in Eastern Ontario april 15, 2013. IPCC Definition. UNFCCC definition.

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Presentation Transcript
what is climate change
IPCC Definition

UNFCCC definition

Climate change in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) usage refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. It refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.

This usage differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

(IPCC 2007)

What is Climate change?
projected changes in climate in eastern ontario by the end of the century temperature
Projected Changes in climate in eastern Ontario by the end of the century - temperature

Annual Mean Temperatures in Eastern Ontario are projected to increase

3-4 degrees Celsius by 2100

projected changes in climate in eastern ontario by the end of the century precipitation
Projected Changes in climate in eastern Ontario by the end of the century - precipitation

Difference in Precipitation by 2100 (%)

60 to 70

50 to 60

40 to 50

30 to 40

20 to 30

10 to 20

0 to 10

0 to -10

-10 to -20

-20 to -30

-30 to -40

Source: MNR

Precipitation amounts and patterns will change

  • 0-10% less annual precipitation
  • More precipitation falling as rain, less snowfall
  • Higher risk of
  • “events”
key issues associated with climate change
Gradual increase in average annual temperatures
      • Greater changes seen in seasonal and monthly averages
      • Minimum temperatures increasing
  • Changes in average precipitation amounts and patterns
  • Increase in frequency and severely of ‘extreme events’
  • Increased weather variability
Key issues associated with climate change
climate adaptation and mitigation
Adaptation and mitigation should go hand-in-hand, both are equally important!

Adaptation: Managing what we cannot avoid

Takes place through adjustments to reduce vulnerability or to enhance resilience in response to observed or expected changes in climate and associated extreme weather events.

Mitigation: Avoiding what we cannot manage

Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through;

  • use of energy efficient vehicles and buildings
  • well-planned communities
  • public transit systems
  • reduction in industrial emissions
Climate Adaptation and mitigation
being proactive in adapting to climate change
Being proactive in adapting to climate change

Developing a proactive, planned response to climate change impacts, which includes developing the capacity to respond to unexpected impacts and extremes, makes good sense for the community.

Source: MNR

who should adapt
Adaptation is needed at all levels
  • Government agencies (federal, provincial, municipal, etc.)
  • Conservation Authorities (watershed scale)
  • Your community – industry, business, local organizations such as lake associations
    • On-shore (riparian and terrestrial systems)
    • In waterways
  • You
    • Take measures on your property and in your community
Who should Adapt?
local champions
It is important in every community to have local “champions” who;
    • understand the importance of taking adaptive measures, and
    • are willing to work with the community to bring about necessary changes
Local Champions

Local champions are usually a small group of individuals from government, industry, and the public who understand the importance of a cooperative approach to working towards adaptation

lake simcoe protection plan
Largest inland lake in Ontario
    • Population of 350,000 in watershed
    • 47% of land area is agricultural
    • 65 rare species
  • Watershed plan
  • Difference from most watershed plans is level of protection through legislation – Lake Simcoe Protection Act (2008)
lake simcoe protection plan
lake simcoe protection plan cont d
4 guiding principles
  • Short and long term priorities identified
  • Includes targets, indicators, and policies
  • 4 policy categories
      • ‘Designated’ policies
      • ‘Have regard to’ policies
      • ‘Monitoring’ policies
      • Strategic actions (no legal effect)
  • Builds on other provincial policies, plans, and acts (e.g. PPS, Clean Water Act)
Lake simcoe protection plan (cont’d)
lake simcoe protection plan cont d1
Plan organized by priorities
    • Aquatic life
    • Water quality
    • Shorelines and natural heritage
    • Impacts – invasive species, climate change, recreational activities
  • The Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (LSEMS) ‘informs’ the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan
Lake simcoe protection plan (cont’d)
lake simcoe protection plan climate change adaptation
Objective to “Protect natural resilience of the entire Lake Simcoe ecosystem”
  • List of potential impacts of climate change on other areas of the plan
  • Identification of need for development of adaptation strategy
    • Risk assessment
    • Further research of impacts on specific sectors
    • Integrated monitoring program
    • Development of sector specific, integrated adaptation plans
Lake Simcoe Protection Plan Climate change adaptation
draft lake simcoe adaptation strategy
Draft Lake Simcoe Adaptation Strategy

Will include suggestions for Adaptive Actions

Source: MNR

learning from best practices
Look at studies and work done in other areas and identify similarities with local situation
    • More efficient than duplicating effort
  • Identify;
    • applicable recommendations and actions
    • differences, modifications need to adjust to local impacts
    • Local data and information gaps
Learning from ‘best practices’
what can we draw from the lake simcoe protection plan
4 guiding principles
    • Ecosystem approach
      • Consider interactions and effects of all elements within the system
    • Subwatershedapproach
      • Policies and management actions are scaled appropriately, either specific to a subwatershed, across a number of subwatersheds, or across a watershed
    • Precautionary approach
      • “Caution will be exercised to protect the environment when there is uncertainty about environmental risks”
    • Adaptive management approach
      • Continuously monitor outcomes of all actions and modify approaches where needed in a timely fashion
What can we draw from the lake simcoe protection plan?
what can we draw from the lake simcoe protection plan cont d
Set priorities, first by developing strategic plans to protect resilience of natural systems and functions (green infrastructure).

Include consideration of climate change impactsin policies and management plans.

Identify changing risks and vulnerabilities to ‘traditional’ land use practices and ‘gray’ infrastructure.

Develop and implement monitoring programs to identify and address local knowledge gaps and measure progress.

Identify collaborative opportunities.

What can we draw from the lake simcoe protection plan? (cont’d)
local work to date on climate change adaptation examples
Fish, Fisheries, and Water Resources: Adapting to Ontario’s Changing Climate- MVC
    • integrated watershed hydrologic and hydraulic modelling of the Mississippi River watershed
    • the changing composition of the local fish community
    • public workshops held over two days
  • Agency information workshops for Mississippi watershed and area in 2007/2008, 2012 – MVC
  • Organizational review of climate change impacts – RVCA
Local Work-to-Date on Climate Change Adaptation - examples
mississippi rideau climate change adaptation vulnerability studies1
Focus within the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region boundaries
    • Mississippi Valley and Rideau Valley watersheds
  • Collection of sector specific studies (themes) of changing vulnerabilities in the region – green infrastructure
  • Geographical scale of each study will be unique
  • Building on completed studies, available data, and knowledge gap identification
Mississippi-Rideau Climate Change Adaptation Vulnerability Studies
practioner s guide to climate change in ontario s ecosystems
Practioner’s guide to climate change in ontario’s ecosystems
  • Released in by MNR in 2011
  • Developed to provide guidance to MNR staff and other resource practitioners on how to mainstream climate change adaptation into daily business
  • Will be used as a guide in upcoming local vulnerability studies
Estimating Future Vulnerabilities and risks
  • Risk assessment is used in many fields to think about future issues.
    • A complimentary approach called ‘vulnerability assessment’ may provide valuable insights, particularly from an ecosystem perspective.
  • “Vulnerability to climate change is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes.”

IPCC, 2007. Fourth Assessment Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

Source: MNR

proposed themes within mr region for vulnerability studies
Water management (quantity) in the Mississippi River
    • Surface water levels
    • Surface water intakes
    • Waterpower
  • Water quality in the region
    • Nutrient loading
    • Algal blooms
  • Provincially significant wetlands
  • Species at Risk remediation
  • Terrestrial ecosystem management
  • Agricultural water needs
Proposed Themes within MR Region for Vulnerability Studies
next steps in local adaptation work
Identify climate change impacts locally and potential adaptation options
      • Changes in risk and vulnerability
      • Use this (and other) information to help prioritize adaptation plans and actions
  • Develop collaborative partnerships
      • Eastern Ontario climate change adaptation working group
        • –multi-sector
      • Potential for smaller local groups to identify local scale impacts and carry out adaptation projects
Next steps in local adaptation work
“Climate change is likely to become one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss by the end of the century”

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005

final thoughts on sustainability and climate change
During preliminary climate change adaptation study done in 2007-2008 MVC staff came to realization that a healthy, functioning ecosystem is more resilient to changes and variations in climate
    • This is reflected in much of the literature from around the world on adaptation strategies
  • Healthy ecosystems support diversity and vs. versa
    • Natural corridors and linkages important as climate changes
Final thoughts on sustainability and climate change
protecting and enhancing our green infrastructure
Economic benefits to protecting natural functions and systems are becoming more apparent over time
  • Worth considering how to do things in a more sustainable fashion
    • Water conservation
    • Protection of water quality
    • Wise land use choices
Protecting and enhancing our ‘green infrastructure’
sustainability makes good sense
Many people cite ‘quality of life’ as important which includes access to clean water and air, natural systems such as forests
    • Should include retention/protection of quality of life factors in land use design

Sustainable options can be considered ‘no regret’ actions as beginning steps in adaptation