Scientists tell us that greenhouse gas emissions are major drivers of climate change. Substantive changes in public policy have been rare or non-existent and British Columbia will continue paying a high price for inaction.
A 2019 study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography — “Precipitation regime change in Western North America: The role of Atmospheric Rivers” — warned:
Atmospheric rivers along the West Coast can produce in excess of 50% of total annual precipitation and are historically associated with extreme precipitation and flooding. They can also penetrate far inland along preferred topographic corridors. Consequently, the majority of western floods are orchestrated by ARs land-falling upon the West Coast and so are flood insurance claims.
Thermodynamic enhancement of vertically integrated horizontal water vapor transport (IVT) in a warmer future will lead to wetter, wider and longer ARs globally, exacerbating their impacts. For the West Coast, evidence of increasing IVT as well as of AR landfalling activity associated with observed long-term Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) warming has been reported with impacts on precipitation over the West…
CBC program The Fifth Estate lifted its usual focus from eastern Canada and did an excellent report that revealed long-term flood management failures by British Columbia’s provincial government:
While this might have seemed to be the result of an unforeseen weather event, it was, in fact, a scenario engineers have repeatedly warned was likely to happen one day.
“There’s that pit in your stomach where you’re thinking, ‘Is this the moment where I get to say I told you so?’ ” said Tamsin Lyle, an engineer and one of several experts who had warned of flood risks in the Lower Mainland.
In fact, a report commissioned by the B.C. government in 2015 found that the Sumas River dike, which protects the Sumas Prairie from floodwaters, was “substandard,” “too low” and “need[ed] to be updated.”
The same report also found that none of the 74 dikes examined in the Lower Mainland fully met the province’s standards.
Jason Lum, chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District, said the flooding has been “catastrophic” for his hometown of Chilliwack and other communities.
He said he’s warned for years about the need to update infrastructure and the financial challenges municipalities face in trying to maintain dikes.
“It was preventable and I think it was predictable,” Lum told The Fifth Estate…
Despite massive disruption to the entire province, John Horgan’s government has made no change to its policies of promoting fossil fuels with lax regulation and multi-billion dollar industry supports. It continues to employ climate change deniers in senior positions. British Columbia remains North America’s leading coal exporter.
The BC NDP has admitted no failures in its current strategies. Instead of substantive policy changes to protect the ecosystem. It seems to believe the only actions needed are saturation advertising campaigns that play fast and loose with the truth.
One example: government tells people it is protecting ancient timber but the Wilderness Committee revealed that old growth destruction is ongoing.
Little will change in Victoria until citizens mobilize and demand new priorities. Maybe Fraser Valley farmers should deliver the carcases of dead animals to the Legislature’s main entry.