- Low Carbon Resilience
- Natural Solutions Initiative
Phase 3: Assess
On this Page
- Step 3.1: Analyze Climate Projections and Impacts
- Step 3.2: Prepare Scenario Exercises and Impact Statements for Workshop 2
- Step 3.3: Host Workshop 2 - Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and Response Options
- Step 3.4: Produce Emissions Inventory and Forecast
- Step 3.5: Host Workshop 3 - Emissions Sources and Response Options
- Case study: Streamlining Building Standards - An Easy LCR Solution
Phase 3 is the data collection stage. It is now time to fill the data gaps that were identified in Step 1.3, including regional climate data, a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, and a Corporate and Community Emissions Inventory and Forecast. This phase is critical for building climate change literacy around the rationale for adaptation and mitigation.
A key feature of the LCR process is the co-evaluation of adaptation and mitigation data to reveal key synergies, trade-offs, and strategic opportunities to advance co-benefits (e.g., equity, health, and biodiversity).
This phase aligns with ICLEI Canada’s BARC Framework Milestone 2 and the Partners for Climate Protection's Milestones 1 and 2.
- It is important to collect the best available climate projections and consider all possible scenarios, but pay particular attention to the worst-case scenario. That scenario (RCP 8.5) is best for both preparedness and planning. However, it is important to showcase how reducing emissions to meet provincial, national, and international targets can shift the scenarios significantly by 2050 and 2100, thus minimizing projected climate impacts into the future.
- Perform a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment to identify regional climate impacts (e.g., temperature) and hazards (e.g., extreme heat) as well as to evaluate community vulnerabilities and exposure to these impacts. It may be necessary to hire external support to complete the assessment (see Step 1.4). This information will contextualize projected climate risks for the community's infrastructure, populations, and ecosystems. In Workshop 2, the Climate Action Team will examine and evaluate these risks.
- LCR Tip: Determine a way to ensure that equity is considered in all aspects of the LCR process. In particular, it is important to assess, on a continual and iterative basis, how climate risks will disproportionately impact certain residents, groups, and neighbourhoods (e.g., elderly, marginalized, and low-income populations). On the flipside, the Climate Action Team should also explore the potential ways that climate solutions can advance climate justice and equity.
LCR TERMINOLOGY: CO-EVALUATION
In Phase 3, you will start to co-evaluate risk and vulnerability findings concurrently with emissions data. Co-evaluation can prevent contradictions between actions taken to mitigate risk and those taken to reduce emissions. At the same time, you can identify synergies and trade-offs between these goals as well as advance co-benefits in a coordinated manner.
In particular, you should consider how hazards can drive energy and emissions profiles. For example, the increased use of air conditioning during heat waves can lead to higher emissions from energy use. Similarly, you should also consider the ways that different adaptation strategies can drive or reduce emissions profiles. For instance, expanding hard drainage systems can increase emissions, while enhancing natural assets can reduce them. By capturing these drivers and trade-offs in emissions forecasts, you will be able to explore more realistic opportunities to advance zero carbon goals while ensuring resilience and sustainability over time.
data_check 3.1 Step Check
- Collect the best available projections for climate conditions as well as regional climate impacts and hazards. This information will form the basis of Workshop 2.
- Develop climate impact statements and worksheets to prepare for a risk evaluation and prioritization exercise with the Climate Action Team. An impact statement sets out a climate-related hazard (e.g., extreme weather events or increased frequency and intensity of rainfall that may overwhelm the municipal drainage system) and a consequence or benefit of that hazard (e.g., grid disruption, flooding, or property damage). It should also address, at a minimum, three risk areas: infrastructure, populations, and ecosystems (see the Effective Impact Statements graphic below). Impact statements help staff and stakeholders evaluate existing vulnerabilities, consider the likelihood and consequences of climate hazards, and prioritize risks.
- LCR Tip: Consider how different responses to climate impacts may also influence emissions profiles. Projected climate impacts (e.g., extreme heat or more frequent flooding) -- and our responses to them (e.g., air conditioning or emissions-intensive protective infrastructure) -- are expected to influence future emissions.
- Keep the Momentum: Start considering low carbon adaptation responses that may work in the community. For instance, nature-based solutions, such as protecting and expanding riparian zones and foreshores, can help to retain and absorb excess water, minimize flood risks, sequester carbon, and avoid expanding emissions-intensive drainage systems. With thoughtful planning, these solutions can also contribute to biodiversity and recreation.
data_check 3.2 Step Check
- Develop climate impact statements for Workshop 2.
- In Workshop 2, the LCR Champion should work with consultants to lead the Climate Action Team through a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment. The workshop will begin with sharing the community's projected climate impacts and hazards with the team. Then, using the climate impact statements from Step 3.2, the team should be broken into thematic groups (e.g., infrastructure, parks, health, etc.) to identify existing vulnerabilities and exposures to climate impacts and hazards. For this exercise, keep in mind that increasing exposure, such as allowing development in floodplains or on hillsides, will intensify risks and damages over time. The goal of this workshop is to identify, evaluate, and prioritize key infrastructure, population, and ecosystem risks for the community. See page 64 of the LCR Handbook to learn more about Workshop 2.
- Use Workshop 2 to achieve the following outcomes:
- Share climate projections and potential impacts with the Climate Action Team.
- Use climate impact statements to brainstorm key exposures and vulnerabilities in relevant thematic areas.
- Evaluate the likelihood and consequences of climate impacts, and prioritize risks (use the standard risk matrix on page 64 for this step).
- Brainstorm adaptation responses that could reduce risks in key areas.
- LCR Tip: It is important to remind participants that the goal is to explore LCR synergies and trade-offs. Encourage them to brainstorm low carbon adaptation solutions.
- Keep the Momentum: After Workshop 2, compile and share the data/results from the workshop exercises with the Climate Action Team.
data_check 3.3 Step Check
- Complete Workshop 2, and compile a list of preliminary adaptation responses across thematic areas.
Step 3.4: Produce an Emissions Inventory and Forecast
- It is essential to produce (or update) a Corporate and Community Energy and Emissions Inventory and Forecast in order to identify opportunities for reducing emissions. It may be necessary to hire external support to complete the assessment (see Step 1.4). By determining the current sources of emissions in the community and forecasting future energy demand/supply and emissions profiles using diverse scenarios, the team will be able to explore strategic mitigation opportunities. It is also important to consider how the responses to climate impacts (e.g., using air conditioners during heat waves) and adaptation responses (e.g., expanding drainage systems) that were identified in Workshop 2 are projected to influence emissions profiles over time. This information will be used in Workshop 3 to set aspirational targets for emissions reduction and to brainstorm mitigation strategies to achieve those targets.
- LCR Tip: Encourage LCR thinking in emissions forecasting by asking these questions:
- How will projected climate impacts influence emissions over time? For example, how will the increased frequency and intensity of heat waves increase energy demands for air conditioning?
- Based on the priority risks identified in Step 3.3, how will current or projected adaptation actions influence emissions over time? For example, what are the emissions implications of building higher and more carbon intensive infrastructure like dikes, drainage systems, and sea walls to protect against flooding?
- Keep the Momentum: The data gathered in this step will be shared with the Climate Action Team in Workshop 3. To prepare for the workshop, organize both the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment as well as the emissions inventory and reduction work into common focus areas, such as governance, land use, transportation, buildings, waste, etc.
data_check 3.4 Step Check
- Collect corporate and community emissions data for Workshop 3.
- Workshop 3 will be used to bring the Climate Action Team up to speed on the Corporate and Community Emissions Inventory and Forecast. In this workshop, the team will brainstorm mitigation solutions and identify key opportunities for emissions reduction. Throughout this exercise, the team should consider how climate hazards and adaptation strategies will influence emissions as well as ways to advance equity and other co-benefits. See page 72 of the LCR Handbook to learn more about Workshop 3.
- Use Workshop 3 to achieve the following outcomes:
- Present the Corporate and Community Emissions Inventory and Forecast.
- Develop a list of opportunities to reduce emissions in key sectors (e.g., buildings, transportation, energy, waste, land use, etc.).
- Discuss how climate impacts and adaptation strategies will impact emissions over time, and identify ways to advance equity and other co-benefits.
- LCR Tip: Promote Nature-based Solutions as a flagship LCR strategy. These solutions include protecting natural assets and implementing green infrastructure. They have multiple uses and benefits, including absorbing excess rainfall (which reduces flood risks), moderating urban temperatures (which reduces heat risks), sequestering carbon, and avoiding emissions-intensive adaptation responses. With thoughtful planning, these strategies can also advance biodiversity, recreation, health and well-being, and overall livability in the community.
- Keep the Momentum: After the workshop, consolidate all of the information that has been collected to date: priority climate risks and vulnerabilities, key emissions sources, and potential response strategies. This information will lay the groundwork for Workshop 4, at which the team will co-evaluate priority options for moving forward over different timeframes. To prepare for the workshop, identify common themes from both the adaptation and mitigation options, and organize the options based on those themes.
data_check 3.5 Step Check
- Complete Workshop 3, and compile a preliminary list of integrated actions.
Streamlining Building Standards: An Easy LCR Solution
Buildings are, in general, the second largest source of emissions in Canadian communities (after transportation). The buildings that are being constructed today will need to endure extreme weather events, higher temperatures, and more precipitation over their approximately 80-year life spans than the ones that were constructed in the previous century. Performance standards, such as B.C.'s 'Energy Step Code', aim to reduce emissions from buildings. However, this issue is often considered separately from ensuring the resilience of new buildings. For an example of the latter topic, BC Housing has developed the 'Mobilizing Building Adaptation and Resilience Project' to explore green design standards that will provide a longer-term return on investment.
Governments can send strong signals to the development community by streamlining permit requirements and/or building standards to advance resilience, decarbonization, and energy efficiency at the same time. Using the LCR approach, the City of Port Moody has issued two Request for Proposals (RFPs) for building and facilities audits which highlighted the need for consultants that can perform both emissions and risk evaluations. Similarly, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is currently considering ways to incorporate resilience, energy, emissions, and cultural design standards into the Nation's new building laws.
For a practical primer on why and how to apply LCR framing in building standards, please see the Climate Change and Resilience for Buildings Primer by RDH Building Science and the BC Housing Research Centre.