CLIMATE CHANGE: West Coast contemplates the calm before the storm


Infrastructure alterations needed as global warming makes mark on planet

“Superstorm Sandy killed 80 people on the U.S. East Coast while entire neighbourhoods, including Lower Manhattan, were flooded. Power failures affected 4.6 million homes and there was an estimated $50 billion in damage. While B.C. is not prone to hurricanes, climate change experts say the province will likely see similar violent weather, including more frequent, more intense storms as the planet gets warmer.” wrote Tracy Sherlock in the first in a three-part series on what sea level rise means for cities and future development in the Lower Mainland.

Tracy Sherlock quoted Stephen Sheppard in reporting that there are three strategies that communities can use to defend themselves against rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms. Stephen Sheppard is a professor in landscape architecture and forest resources management at the University of B.C. .

“The strategies are raising the dikes to accommodate higher sea levels, raising key infrastructure and homes, or practising managed retreat, which means moving entire communities to higher ground,” wrote Tracy Sherlock.

“All of the coastal cities are well aware of the new guidelines and the risk. They all have plans and programs to monitor and try to manage the risk,” Sheppard said, but added that councils have to juggle development and financial concerns. “The best way to approach this is not to wait for individual projects, but to get out ahead of it in official community plans.”


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To read the complete story as published in the Vancouver Sun in December 2012, click on West Coast contemplates the calm before the storm: Infrastructure alterations needed as global warming makes mark on planet