Climate Adaptation Strategy
The release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is causing the global climate to change. The resulting impacts have consequences for our economies, our ecosystems and our social well-being. The City is taking many steps to reduce GHG emissions and help do our part to limit the impacts of global climate change.
However, the persistence of GHGs in the atmosphere means that some impacts from climate change are certain, and we must prepare for these changes over the coming decades.
Climate changes projected for Surrey
Climate change is global. But, the local impacts in different regions of the world vary widely. Climate changes projected for Surrey over the long term include:
- Sea level rise and associated erosion, flooding and disturbance of natural and built environments;
- Hotter, drier summers with more high temperature events and droughts impacting human health, ecosystems, water security and agriculture;
- Increased frequency and intensity of rain and wind events causing flooding and disturbance of natural and built environments;
- Increased risk of forest fire, adversely impacting local air quality, human safety and the built environment; and
- Local implications from disruptions in other parts of the world such as rising prices and periodic constraints in agricultural production.
Check out the detailed report on climate projections for Metro Vancouver.
Adapting to Climate Change in Surrey
Surrey has taken many steps to create a more resilient community in the face of climate change. Some highlights include:
- Undertaking extensive research to model the timing and extent of changing flood hazard in our coastal areas;
- This research is informing the Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy, a three year project to engage residents and stakeholders in determining the best solutions for adapting to sea level rise and flood risk in Surrey's coastal floodplain area.
- The Shade Tree Management Plan outlines how our urban forest will remain resilient by increasing species diversity, choosing species and planting stock for future climates, and providing more favourable growth conditions.
Find details on the implementation of Surrey's Climate Adaptation Strategy in the following Corporate Reports:
- Corporate Report R042 (February 22, 2016): Update on Implementation of Community Climate Action Strategy
- Corporate Report R008 (February 2, 2015): Update on the Implementation of Community Climate Action Strategy
Tips for Making Your Home and Community More Resilient
There are lots of ways you can make your home and your community more resilient to climate change:
- Reduce the risk of flooding by cleaning your foundation drains, gutters and catch basins, and disconnecting downspouts so they flow away from your house;
- Organize a neighbourhood street party: research shows knowing your neighbours increases community resilience!;
- Join the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program and develop an action plan for extreme weather events;
- Grow your own food at home or in a community garden to reduce the impact of fluctuating prices and availability from global markets; and
- Provide sufficient space, water and nutrients for your trees to minimize the stress they experience.
Surrey's Climate Adaptation Strategy
Surrey's Climate Adaptation Strategy guides our actions to ensure our long-term resilience and prepare for climate change impacts.
The Adaptation Strategy builds on existing policies and initiatives and will help the City anticipate and respond to changes in the following areas:
- Flood management and drainage;
- Ecosystems and natural areas;
- Urban trees and landscaping;
- Human health and safety; and,
- Agriculture and food security.
The Climate Adaptation Strategy is part of Surrey's Community Climate Action Strategy (CCAS). The CCAS is comprised of 2 complementary plans:
- the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) provides a guide to reduce community energy spending and greenhouse gas emissions, and
- the Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS) identifies how the City may be vulnerable to climate change impacts and proposes actions to mitigate risk and cost.
Together, these 2 plans reinforce the City’s broader efforts toward establishing Surrey as a prosperous and resilient 21st century urban centre.
Full documents and sections can be found here:
- Community Climate Action Strategy (1.3MB, full document)
- Climate Adaptation Strategy (2.0 MB, full document)
The City of Surrey is a global leader on climate action, and has joined the Compact of Mayors, the world's largest coalition of city leaders addressing climate change by pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, tracking their progress and preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Strategy Development Process
Milestone 1, Initiate: Surrey kicked of the planning process with a report to Council and the development of a staff Advisory Team.
Milestone 2, Research: Research was undertaken to better understand how changing temperatures, rainfall and sea level rise would affect Surrey, and a risk assessment was completed.
Milestone 3, Plan: Staff from across the City were involved in developing actions to increase resilience, and stakeholders from key sectors were engaged for feedback. The final strategy was approved by Council in November, 2013.
Milestone 4 + 5, Implement and Monitor: The City will prioritize the "immediate implementation" actions and provide regular progress reports.