The overall goal of climate change adaptation is to reduce vulnerability and risk associated with climate change and its impacts. Adaptation to climate change can be either proactive or reactive. Reactive management includes responses to changes that have already happened, and proactive management prepares for changes before they occur. While acting earlier (more proactively) will generally increase management flexibility, there are also financial costs to implementing adaptation actions . Finding the balance of adaptive and reactive actions to climate impacts and associated risk may be different for different sectors. Adaptation actions can include policy changes, improvements or changes in technology, behavioral or management responses, or adjustments to regulations that affect local and regional decision making: successful adaptation requires a flexible, adaptive management system. Adaptive capacity can be further enhanced or reduced by the governance and decision-making policies at play .
In BC, recent efforts to increase community involvement at both local (municipal) and regional scales has resulted in better incorporation of local interests and values in long term planning [25,85,112,121,124]. Local community-based planning has been a key mechanism for community members and stakeholders to evaluate and incorporate climate change effects in order to improve adaptive capacity. However, there are few examples of decision making processes, policies, or institutions that explicitly incorporate or consider climate change impacts within BC [25,125].
Climate change adaptation is a growing focus for the province of BC. Municipal governments have been particularly focused on issues of sea level rise and associated coastal flooding issues. Much of this work is ongoing in southern BC, outside of the MaPP region. Sea level rise and coastal inundation threatens much of low lying Metro Vancouver, where projects including extensive dike systems and sea level adaptation plans are either in place or in process . These projects can serve as examples of potential future work for the communities of the MaPP region, especially as results of implementation become more apparent.
Adaptation to climate change can be either to respond to negative impacts or to generate positive benefits, for example:
- Adapting to sea level rise by increasing shoreline protection;
- Adapting to more intense coastal storms by developing emergency response plans.
Negative or positive:
- Adapting to shifting fisheries species availability by changing fisheries regulations and management plans;
- Adapting to longer and warmer growing seasons by supporting local agriculture and developing water conservation planning.