Evaluation of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Introduction

This report provides the findings of the evaluation of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity, over the period of 2005-06 to 2009-10, covering $49.3 million.  The objective of this Program is to assist “Canadians in understanding, preparing for, and adapting to the effects of a changing climate on their communities, infrastructure and way of life” through “studies that assess the sensitivity and response of Canada’s landmass and coastal areas, and through the incorporation of new knowledge in planning and resource management”.Footnote 1

Through its Earth Sciences Sector (ESS), NRCan has been involved in climate change initiatives for over 20 years.  In recent years, the Government of Canada has explicitly identified the need for greater focus on the impacts of climate change and adaptation.  This is evident from the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, the implementation of the Clean Air Agenda in 2008, as well as priorities identified in speeches from the Throne and federal budgets in recent years (i.e., 2005 to 2009).

In the period covered by this evaluation (2005-06 to 2009-10), NRCan delivered two Geoscience and two Adaptation programs, as illustrated below.

Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Programs, 2005-06 to 2009-10
  2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Climate Change Geoscience Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change  
  Enhancing Resilience to a Changing Climate / Climate Change Geoscience*

Climate Change Adaptation

Impacts and Adaptation – Phase 1 Initiatives Impacts and Adaptation – Phase 2 Initiatives
Action Plan 2000 Climate Change Interim Strategy Clean Air Agenda
Canadian Climate Change Impacts and
Adaptation Research Network**
   
Enhanced Research Program
Capacity Building For Impacts and Adaptation Research
  Tools for  Adaptation
  Regional Adaptation Collaboratives

Notes:
* In fiscal year 2009-10, the Enhancing Resilience to a Changing Climate Program name changed to Climate Change Geoscience.  This change was in name alone; it is the same program.
** C-CIARN ended June 30, 2007

As illustrated above, between 2005-06 and 2009-10, the Climate Change Geoscience portion of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity included:

  • the Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Program (2005-06), with the objective of lessening the “vulnerability of Canadians, their infrastructure and communities to climate change via research”;Footnote 2 and
  • Climate Change GeoscienceFootnote 3 (2006-07 to 2009-10), which built on the previous program, with the objective of applying “geoscience and geomatic expertise to assist Canadians in understanding, preparing for and adapting to the effects of climate change on their communities, infrastructure and way of life.”Footnote 4

Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, NRCan’s Impacts and Adaptation Program made up the Climate Change Adaptation portion of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity.  During this timeframe, this program had two iterations – under Action Plan 2000 (and extended through the Climate Change Interim Strategy), and most recently under the Clean Air Agenda.  For the purposes of this evaluation, these have been organized into two phases, with the focus being on the initiatives undertaken (as the program name did not change):

  • Phase 1 (2005-06 to 2007-08): under Action Plan 2000 (2005-06) the Impacts and Adaptation Program included the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN), Enhanced Research Program, and Capacity Building for Impacts and Adaptation Research.  The Climate Change Interim Strategy (2006-07 to 2007-08) extended this program and transitioned it into the current program. 

    Under this phase of programming, the objective of the Impacts and Adaptation Program was to provide knowledge of Canada’s vulnerability to climate change for the purposes of assisting decision makers in making appropriate decisions on adaptation, and to better assess the risk posed by climate change,Footnote 5 although the Interim Strategy did place an added emphasis on strengthening capacity to use scientific and socio-economic information in decision making, and contribute to the development of a national adaptation strategy and implementation plan as part of Canada’s approach to climate change.Footnote 6
  • Phase 2 (2008-09 to 2009-10): under the Clean Air Agenda (2008-09 to 2009-10), the Program includes Tools for Adaptation and Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs).  The objectives of the Impacts and Adaptation Program under the Clean Air Agenda were to: generate and effectively deliver knowledge and information needed to understand the range of risks and opportunities from a changing climate; and effectively inform and engage decision-makers across a range of social and economic sectors with responsibilities to adapt.Footnote 7

Evaluation Issues, Methodologies, and Limitations

The evaluation assessed the overall relevance and performance of the four programs encompassed in the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity.  In particular, the evaluation assessed the extent to which the programs:

  • address a continuing need for the program, align with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives, and alignment with federal roles and responsibilities (relevance); and
  • have achieved their expected outcomes (i.e., effectiveness) and demonstrate efficiency and economy (which together comprises performance).

To the extent possible, the evaluation of these programs was undertaken using an outcome-based evaluation approach in that the relevance and performance of the programs were assessed primarily within the context of the outcomes of the programs intended to achieve through their inputs, activities and outputs.  Given the long-term nature of many of the outcomes of both programs and the later start of the Clean Air Agenda funding for the Impacts and Adaptation Program, a formative/program improvement evaluation issue was added as outcomes could not reasonably be assessed beyond the immediate level.

This evaluation used multiple lines of evidence, including:

  • document and literature reviews;
  • stakeholder interviews (51); and
  • case studies (11).

Limitations to this study should be considered when reviewing the results, including:

  • Given the limited time and resources available for this evaluation:
    • Interviews were only conducted with beneficiaries/partners from the current Geoscience and Adaptation programs.  Information related to the previous programs was gathered through a document review and case studies.
    • A limited number of interviews were conducted per program.  Although interviews are meant to provide an in-depth understanding of the programs, rather than a representative view, it was at times difficult to synthesize the interview data into common themes.  To mitigate this, interview data was triangulated with other lines of evidence in order to identify key findings/evidence.
  • Stakeholder interviews by their nature introduce an element of respondent bias as each interviewee brings with them their own values, beliefs and opinions.  While this is also what enables interviews to be enlightening in the context of an evaluation, every attempt to minimize respondent bias is made through the careful (non-leading) wording of interview questions and prompts, sampling from a variety of stakeholder groups, and triangulating all sources of data from all lines of evidence when identifying findings.
  • Performance measurement data reviewed as part of this evaluation in program documentation (e.g., mid-year reports, year-end reports, etc.) was limited in terms of addressing outcome achievement and tracking of resources (particularly in-kind resourcesFootnote 8) relative to outcome achievement.  Attempts were made to attain performance data through interview data to provide an indication as to the extent to which program inputs, activities, and outputs were effective, efficient, and economic.
  • The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program was originally a three-year program from 2008-09 to 2010-11; however, the Clean Air Agenda (CAA) Adaptation Theme departments only received approval in the second  year of the CAA (i.e., 2009-10), thus delaying funding.  As a result, the Minister of Natural Resources approved a change to the program end date from March 2011 to March 2013.  In addition to this delayed funding, the October 2008 federal election and December 2008 prorogation meant that the Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs) were not operational until late 2009/early 2010, thus they were in operation for four months during the period of this evaluation.  To the extent possible, evidence is provided to demonstrate progress towards achieving the intended outcomes; however, this delayed start-up prevented the program from having the intended impact within the timeframe covered by this evaluation.

Findings

Relevance

Continued Need for the Programs

Evidence gathered for this evaluation suggests that there is a continued and ongoing need for both the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program as a necessary complement to Government of Canada climate change mitigation initiatives (i.e., reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and to address barriers that exist to adapting to an already changing climate.

The results of the literature review and stakeholder interviews provide evidence that the climate in Canada is already changing and that there is a need for programs such as those delivered by NRCan, aimed at building awareness and knowledge of how to adapt to these changes because mitigation measures taken now will not be enough to address climate changes that have already occurred (and are continuing to occur).  This continued need is further illustrated through case study examples.

Both programs work on a collaborative basis. The Climate Change Geoscience Program is providing scientific knowledge and data that is necessary to increase the understanding of climate changes and the impacts of these changes.  Complementary to this, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program facilitates adaptation decision-making across Canada by providing information related to adaptation needs and measures, support for the development of tools to assist decision makers in assessing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and support for regional scale collaboration on the issue.

Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan Strategic Objectives

Much of the focus of government priorities since 2005-06 has been on mitigation.  However, through the earlier United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol, Canada made commitments to also facilitate adaptation to climate change through the adoption of policies and measures.  These commitments are supported through recent speeches from the Throne and federal budgets.  These programs also directly align to the strategic objective of NRCan as identified in recent Program Activity Architectures and Reports on Plans and Priorities.

Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Given the supporting legislation and mandate, NRCan plays a legitimate role in facilitating adaptation to a changing climate.  Because climate change is a cross-cutting issue, leadership and coordination at the federal level is appropriate and necessary given the limited focus on adaptation measures to date. 

With its geoscience expertise and established networks, and through its continued collaborative approach to increasing awareness and adaptation capacity, NRCan is well positioned to provide this necessary leadership and coordination role through its Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs.

Performance

Effectiveness

There is evidence of achievement of outcomes related to the availability and use of information/tools and strengthened linkages among stakeholders by both the Climate Change Geoscience Program and the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.

Evidence of availability of the information produced by the programs and strengthened linkages among stakeholders relate to direct stakeholder involvement in activities, engagement of partners, production of datasets designed for specific users, and communication of results through presentations, publications, conferences, workshops, the Internet, etc.

There is some evidence that the Climate Change Geoscience Program is making progress towards having the science generated from the program used and thus, enabling the implementation and adoption of climate change adaptation actions.  However, it is evident that more time is needed for the implementation and adoption of actions to become fully evident.

Similarly, due to unanticipated delays in the start-up of the program at the time of this evaluation, there was some evidence to demonstrate progress towards the use of information and tools from the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, but limited evidence of the implementation and adoption of climate change measures and strategies.

The key factor identified as facilitating the performance of both programs was the emphasis on the collaborative approach to program delivery, noting in particular, the importance of stakeholder interaction for program success.  Other potential facilitators of success included recent climate events (e.g., hurricanes and other major storms, mountain pine beetle infestation, wild fires, droughts, etc.) because they helped to raise the profile of climate change.  Factors that may hinder performance include difficulty in recruiting new staff (in the case of the Geoscience Program) and a lack of collaboration between, and within, the NRCan programs, as well as heavy reporting requirements and administrative burden (in the case of the Adaptation Program).

Evidence gathered from the evaluation suggests that both programs are making progress towards meeting the needs of their target audiences (i.e., practitioners, decision-makers and policy-makers), thus increasing their likelihood of achieving their identified intended outcomes.

Unintended Outcomes

Potential unintended outcomes were identified by stakeholders from the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.  For the most part, these unintended outcomes were positive observations resulting from the activities and achievements of the programs.

Economy and Efficiency

Although evidence suggests that the approaches and activities implemented by the programs are effective in terms of progress towards achieving intended outcomes, it was not possible to assess the extent to which these are the most economic and efficient approaches and activities for achieving these outcomes. 

That said, it can reasonably be posited that through the collaborative approaches with partners providing in-kind and/or financial support to the programs, that this is an economic and efficient way to facilitate the effectiveness of the programs given current program resources.  However, limited information related to in-kind contributions, in particular, was available at the time of this evaluation so it is not possible to determine the extent to which these partnerships increased the effectiveness, efficiency and/or economy of the programs.

As climate change is a cross-cutting issue, some evidence from the literature suggests that adaptation programs could be more economic and efficient with an adaptation strategy that is integrated, across sectors, portfolios, and governments (e.g., a national strategy on climate change adaptation), in particular with respect to identifying priorities for adaptation-related research, planning and policy-making.  Evidence also suggests that improved communication of knowledge and information related to climate change adaptation opportunities may also offer opportunities to increase the efficiency and economy of the programs.

Program Improvement

Evidence suggests that there may be opportunities for improvements to program delivery approaches and mechanisms that could increase the relevance, effectiveness, economy and efficiency of the programs.  These include:

  • improved priority setting processes;
  • modifications to terms and conditions and funding formulas/rules;
  • increased collaboration between the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs;
  • increased collaboration between the RACs and Tools for Adaptation proponents within the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program; and
  • increased linkages to other NRCan sectors/programs.

Evidence from this evaluation also identifies some potential best practices and lessons learned that facilitate the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the programs.  Most notably, the use of collaboration, partnerships, involvement of communities, and a regional approach to climate change adaptation was considered a best practice of the programs.

With respect to resources, the general consensus was that the current resource levels were adequate, however it was recognized that this may be because of the use of partnerships and collaboration.  However, in the case of Climate Change Geoscience Program, it was identified that current difficulties in recruiting new scientific staff is quickly becoming an issue that could impact the effectiveness of the program.  In the case of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations it was felt that resource levels were appropriate given the current scope and design of the Program.

Conclusions

In conclusion, although the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs are relevant and are making progress towards achieving their outcomes, evidence from the evaluation did identify potential opportunities for improvement. 

It is evident that the relevance and effectiveness of the Geoscience Program could be increased through formal linkages with the Impacts and Adaptation Program as well as other sectors or programs within NRCan where the geoscience information could have an impact.  This would also enable the Geoscience Program to more directly contribute to the mandate of the Department.

Similarly, the effectiveness of the Impacts and Adaptation Program could be improved through strengthened linkages between the RACs and Tools proponents to build awareness and encourage interaction and knowledge exchange.  Increasing formal linkages with the Geoscience Program could also potentially increase the effectiveness of Impacts and Adaptation Program by providing geoscientific information and expertise that could contribute to the region-specific knowledge being developed by the RACs and to inform the work of the Tools proponents.

Recommendations and Management Response

Recommendations Management Response Responsible Official/Sector (Target Date)
1. In order to increase the relevance and effectiveness of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation and Climate Change Geoscience programs, NRCan should investigate and implement potential opportunities, where appropriate, for formal linkages/relationships between:
  • a. the Regional Adaptation Collaboratives and Tools for Adaptation initiatives within the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program;
  • b. the Climate Change Geoscience Program and other NRCan sectors/programs (including the Impacts and Adaptation Program).
1a) Accepted.  At the time of the evaluation, the Tools and RAC proponents were focussed on producing outputs.  The renewed Adaptation Program, Enhancing Competitiveness in a Changing Climate, will provide, by March 2012, a national-level forum for collaboration on adaptation between governments, business, professional, regional and national organizations including the development and exchange of information, tools, expertise. In addition to the development of new collaborative projects and assessments, it will facilitate broader dissemination of RAC and Tools project outputs both to program participants and other interested stakeholders. ADM ESS
June 30, 2012
 
1b) A priority for the new (starting April 1, 2011) Climate Change Geoscience Program (CCG), focused on northern resource development, will be the ongoing development of new and maintenance of established linkages with partners within and outside the federal government that will contribute to the achievement of the program’s new outcomes.  Discussions with other NRCan sectors have been initiated – notably the Energy Sector – and where appropriate, formal relationships will be developed. The new CCG Program will continue to work with the northern RAC.  A list of partners and contributions will be included as part of the year-end report starting in 2012.

The CCG is working with other programs in the Earth Sciences Sector on climate change-related issues and liaises with the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office on a regular basis.

The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Horizontal Task Team (HTT) has provided a departmental focal point for facilitating the awareness and integration of climate change adaptation considerations across the department.  Both the Impacts and Adaptation Program and the CCG Program will continue to participate actively in the HTT.  Both programs support the HTT department-wide effort to identify and assess the risks and opportunities that the impacts of climate change present for the department and its programs.
ADM ESS
June 30, 2012
2. NRCan should improve its ability to demonstrate efficiency and economy of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation and Climate Change Geoscience Programs by:
  • a. exploring and implementing mechanisms for tracking and reporting against the impact of in-kind and financial resources;
  • b. linking these resources to the achievement of outcomes.
Accepted.  The CCG Program is developing performance metrics that will capture both in-kind contributions as well as financial resources. The program will report on these metrics at year-end starting in 2012. 

The CCG Program will track and monitor financial and in-kind contributions from all partners and ensure these contributions support the on-time delivery of outputs and the successful attainment of program outcomes. To demonstrate the effectiveness of these contributions, several performance metrics (e.g., the number of climate change adaptation measures by communities in the North) have been developed to link the contribution to an outcome.  These metrics will be part of the annual year-end reporting for the Program starting in 2012.

The Impacts and Adaptation Program will continue to collect information on financial and in-kind contributions to projects as per program requirements in the contribution agreements and will report on these in the ESS mid-year reports. These requirements will be maintained under the renewed program. At the completion of the current program, the impact of the matching contributions will be reviewed by the program and reported to the ADM ESS by December 2012.  The impact of financial and in-kind contributions on Program outcomes will be measured and reported in terms of concrete outputs, including, but not limited to, the number of adaptation tools, information sharing mechanisms and reports developed, and the number of people and organizations using the outputs produced.

ADM ESS

June 30, 2012

1.0 Introduction and Background

1.1 Introduction

This report provides the findings of the evaluation of NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity over the period of 2005-06 to 2009-10, covering $49.3 million.  This evaluation was undertaken between October 2010 and July 2011 as part of NRCan’s ongoing evaluation cycle.

NRCan, through its Earth Sciences Sector, has been involved in climate change initiatives for over 20 years.  In recent years, the Government of Canada has explicitly identified the need for greater focus on impacts and adaptation.  This is evident from the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, the implementation of the Clean Air Agenda in 2008, as well as priorities identified in speeches from the Throne and federal budgets in recent years (i.e., 2005 to 2009).

In the period covered by this evaluation (2005-06 to 2009-10), NRCan has delivered two Geoscience and two Adaptation programs:

  1. Geoscience: Programs include Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change (2005-06), and Climate Change GeoscienceFootnote 9 (2006-07 to 2009-10).
     
  2. Adaptation: Programs include two iterations of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program (2005-06 to 2006-07, and 2007-08 to 2009-10).  Initiatives from 2005-06 to 2006-07 included the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN), Enhanced Research Program, and Capacity Building for Impacts and Adaptation Research.  Initiatives since 2007-08 include Tools for Adaptation (Tools) and Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs).

1.2 Context

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is evidence that the earth’s climate is warming and that these changes in climate are having observable impacts on both natural and human systems.Footnote 10  Specifically, “[t]he average temperature of the earth’s surface has risen by 0.74 degrees Celsius since the late 1800s.  It is expected to increase by another 1.8 to 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 – a rapid and profound change – should action not be taken.  Even if the minimum predicted increase takes place, it will be larger than any century-long trend in the last 10,000 years.”Footnote 11

With commitments through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol to address climate change, Canada has begun to implement measures and policies.  However, the primary focus of these measures in Canada has consistently been on mitigation (i.e., the reduction of greenhouse gases).  As the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) states: “Some effects of climate change are inevitable.  Yet, the level of attention paid to adaptation pales in comparison with the attention paid to reducing emissions, despite the fact that, in the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the government committed to work on both fronts.”Footnote 12

In 2007, the Government of Canada implemented the Clean Air Agenda, which included an Adaptation theme intended: “to help Canadians build their capacity to adapt, by developing knowledge, information, tools and/or collaborative arrangements that they need to take action to successfully reduce their risks.  These initiatives differ from many of the other programs within the Clean Air Agenda as they do not contribute to reductions of greenhouse gases [i.e., mitigation], but rather support the critical complementary activity of adaptation to climate change impacts.”Footnote 13

This is consistent with conclusions from the IPCC indicating that adaptation will be necessary to address the impacts resulting from the warming that is already unavoidable because of past emissions.Footnote 14  As illustrated in Figure 1, “[a]daptation is a necessary complement to mitigation in addressing climate change.”Footnote 15

In total the federal government allotted $1.9 billion to the Clean Air Agenda, with $85.9 million (5.3%) allocated to adaptation programming in five departments.  The remaining 94.7% was allocated towards mitigation activities.Footnote 16

Figure 1: Adaptation and Mitigation in the Context of Climate Change

Adaptation and Mitigation in the Context of Climate Change

Source: Modified from Smit et al., 1999 in: Lemmen, D.S., F.J. Lacroix, J., and Bush, E. editors (2008): From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007; Government of Canada, Ottawa ON, p. 4.

Text Version

 

1.3 Overview of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Sub-Activity

1.3.1 The PAA for the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Sub-Activity

NRCan has identified a strategic outcome relating to Safety, Security and Stewardship, which states that, “[n]atural resource knowledge, landmass knowledge and management systems strengthen the safety and security of Canadians, and the stewardship of Canada’s natural resources and lands”.Footnote 17  In support of this, the Department, through the Earth Sciences Sector, delivers initiatives related to climate change geoscience and adaptation (among other programming). Table 1 illustrates how these initiatives fit within the Program Activity Architecture (PAA) of the Department.

Table 1: Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation within the NRCan PAA (2010-11)Footnote 18
PAA Level Order Program Name Expected Results
Strategic Outcome 3 Safety, Security and Stewardship Natural resource knowledge, landmass knowledge and management systems strengthen the safety and security of Canadians and the stewardship of Canada’s natural resources and lands.
Program Activity 3.1 Adapting to a Changing Climate and Hazard Risk Management Canada adapts to a changing climate and has the knowledge and tools to manage risks associated with natural hazards and hazards arising from human activities.
Program Sub-Activity 3.1.3 Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation The risks and opportunities due to the impacts of climate change on Canada's lands, coasts and economic sectors are assessed, and adaptations are incorporated into plans, strategies or guidelines.

1.3.2 Objectives for the Sub-Activity

In the 2010-11 PAA, the Department recognized that, “[i]mproving the quality of life of Canadians requires adapting the effects of climate change.”Footnote 19  As such, it was identified that “[t]hrough studies that assess the sensitivity and response of Canada’s landmass and coastal areas, and through the incorporation of new knowledge in planning and resource management, this sub-activity is assisting Canadians in understanding, preparing for, and adapting to the effects of a changing climate on their communities, infrastructure and way of life.”Footnote 20

1.3.3 Resources at the Sub-Activity Level

As shown in Table 2, the Climate Change Geoscience Program was an ongoing program with some reliance on support from other government departments (OGDs) and time-limited (i.e., c-based) funding.  On the other hand, the Impacts and Adaptation were funded through time-limited funding and delivered through contribution agreements.

Table 2: Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Expenditures, 2005-06 to 2009-10 ($million)
Source 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total
Geoscience
Total 5.4 4.2 1.0 4.4 2.4 17.4
OGD 1.1 0.7 * 0.5 0.9 3.2*
C-based** 1.1 0.1 * 0.6 0.0 1.8*
% C-based** 20.4% 2.4% * 13.6% 0.0% 10.3%
Adaptation
Total 8.6 6.8 6.8 2.8 6.9 31.9
OGD - - - - - -
C-based** 8.6 6.8 6.8 2.8 6.9 31.9
% C-based** 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Sub-Activity Total
Total 14.0 11.0 7.8 7.2 9.3 49.3
OGD 1.1 0.7 * 0.5 0.9 3.2*
C-based** 9.7 6.9 6.8* 3.4 6.9 33.7
% C-based** 65.0% 62.7% 87.2% 47.2% 74.2% 68.4%

Notes:
* In 2007-08, total external resources for Geoscience were approximately $0.8 million, but it was not possible to distinguish between OGD and C-based.
** C-based refers to time-limited funding.

1.4 Overview of Geoscience

Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, the Climate Change Geoscience portion of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity included:

  • the Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Program (2005-06), with the objective of lessening the “vulnerability of Canadians, their infrastructure and communities to climate change via research”;Footnote 21 and
  • Climate Change GeoscienceFootnote 22 (2006-07 to 2009-10), which built on the previous program, with the objective of applying “geoscience and geomatic expertise to assist Canadians in understanding, preparing for and adapting to the effects of climate change on their communities, infrastructure and way of life.”Footnote 23

Table 3 illustrates the progression of these programs.

Table 3: Programs Encompassed in Climate Change Geoscience (2005-06 to 2009-10)
  2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Climate
Change
Geoscience
Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change        
  Enhancing Resilience to a Changing Climate / Climate Change Geoscience*

Notes:
* In fiscal year 2009-10, the Enhancing Resilience to a Changing Climate Program name changed to Climate Change Geoscience.  This change was in name alone; it is the same program.

Detailed descriptions of the Climate Change Geoscience programs are presented in Appendix A.

1.5 Overview of Adaptation

Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, NRCan’s Impacts and Adaptation Program made up the Climate Change Adaptation portion of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity.  During this timeframe, this program had two iterations – under Action Plan 2000 (and extended through the Climate Change Interim Strategy), and most recently under the Clean Air Agenda.  For the purposes of this evaluation, these have been organized into two phases, with the focus being on the initiatives undertaken (as the program name did not change):

  • Phase 1 (2005-06 to 2007-08): under Action Plan 2000 (2005-06) the Impacts and Adaptation Program included C-CIARN, Enhanced Research Program, and Capacity Building for Impacts and Adaptation Research.  The Climate Change Interim Strategy (2006-07 to 2007-08) extended this program and transitioned it into the current program. 

    Under this phase of programming, the objective of the Impacts and Adaptation Program was to provide knowledge of Canada’s vulnerability to climate change for the purposes of assisting decision makers in making appropriate decisions on adaptation, and to better assess the risk posed by climate change,Footnote 24 although the Interim Strategy did place an added emphasis on strengthening capacity to use scientific and socio-economic information in decision making, and contribute to the development of a national adaptation strategy and implementation plan as part of Canada’s approach to climate change.Footnote 25
  • Phase 2 (2008-09 to 2009-10): under the Clean Air Agenda (2008-09 to 2009-10), the program includes Tools for Adaptation and Regional Adaptation Collaboratives.  The objectives of the Impacts and Adaptation Program under the Clean Air Agenda were to: generate and effectively deliver knowledge and information needed to understand the range of risks and opportunities from a changing climate; and effectively inform and engage decision-makers across a range of social and economic sectors with responsibilities to adapt.Footnote 26

Table 4 illustrates the progression of these initiatives within the Impacts and Adaptation Program.

Table 4: Impacts and Adaptation Program Initiatives Encompassed
in Climate Change Adaptation (2005-06 to 2009-10)
  Phase 1 Phase 2
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2000 Climate Change Interim Strategy Clean Air Agenda
Canadian Climate Adaptation Change Impacts and
Research Network*  
   
Enhanced Research Program
Capacity Building For Impacts and Adaptation Research
  Tools for  Adaptation
  Regional Adaptation Collaboratives

Notes:
* C-CIARN ended June 30, 2007.

Detailed descriptions of the Climate Change Adaptation programs are presented in Appendix B.

2.0 Evaluation Approach and Methodology

2.1 Evaluation Scope and Objectives

This evaluation covered NRCan’s direct program spending on Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation programs over the period of 2005-06 to 2009-10.  It assessed issues related to:

  • relevance, which focuses on alignment with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives, continued need, and alignment with federal roles and responsibilities; and
  • performance, which focuses on the achievement of expected outcomes (i.e., effectiveness), as well as the demonstration of efficiency and economy.

To the extent possible, the evaluation of these programs was undertaken using an outcome-based evaluation approach in that the relevance and performance of the programs were assessed primarily within the context of the outcomes the programs intended to achieve through their inputs, activities and outputs.  Given the long-term nature of many of the outcomes of both programs and the later start of the Clean Air Agenda funding for the Impacts and Adaptation Program, a formative/program improvement evaluation issue was added as outcomes could not reasonably be assessed beyond the immediate level.

2.2 Evaluation Methodologies

In assessing the relevance and performance of the Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation Program Sub-Activity, this evaluation used multiple lines of evidence including:

  • document and literature reviews: the evaluation reviewed program documentation, Government of Canada priority and policy statements, as well as academic and third-party research concerning climate change impacts, adaptation and geoscience;
  • stakeholder interviews: using a mix of purposive and convenience sampling, 51 interviews were conducted – 15 program personnel (4 Adaptation; 11 Geoscience), 28 beneficiaries/partners (17 Adaptation (11 RAC; 6 Tools); 11 Geoscience), 8 representatives from other government departments; and
  • case studies: 11 case studiesFootnote 27(6 Adaptation; 5 Geoscience) of specific projects/activities covering the breadth of programming between 2005-06 and 2009-10.

2.3 Evaluation Limitations and Mitigation Strategies

Limitations to this study should be considered when reviewing the results.  These limitations and associated mitigation strategies include:

  • Given the limited time and resources available for this evaluation:
    • Interviews were only conducted with beneficiaries/partners from the current Geoscience and Adaptation programs. Information related to the previous programs was gathered through a document review and case studies.
    • A limited number of interviews were conducted per program.  Although interviews are meant to provide an in-depth understanding of the programs, rather than a representative view, it was at times difficult to synthesize the interview data into common themes.  To mitigate this, interview data was triangulated with other lines of evidence in order to identify key findings/evidence.
  • Stakeholder interviews by their nature introduce an element of respondent bias as each interviewee brings with them their own values, beliefs and opinions.  While this is also what enables interviews to be enlightening in the context of an evaluation, every attempt to minimize respondent bias is made through the careful (non-leading) wording of interview questions and prompts, sampling from a variety of stakeholder groups, and triangulating all sources of data from all lines of evidence when identifying findings.
  • Performance measurement data reviewed as part of this evaluation in program documentation (e.g., mid-year reports, year-end reports, etc.) was limited in terms of addressing outcome achievement and tracking of resources (particularly in-kind resourcesFootnote 28) relative to outcome achievement.  Attempts were made to attain performance data through interview data to provide an indication as to the extent to which program inputs, activities, and outputs were effective, efficient, and economic.
  • The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program was originally a three-year program from 2008-09 to 2010-11, however, the Clean Air Agenda Adaptation Theme departments only received approval in the second  year of the CAA (i.e., 2009-10), thus delaying funding.  As a result, the Minister of Natural Resources approved a change to the program end date from March 2011 to March 2013.  In addition to this delayed funding, the October 2008 federal election and December 2008 prorogation meant that the Regional Adaptation Collaboratives were not operational until late 2009/early 2010, thus they were in operation for 4 months during the period of this evaluation.  To the extent possible, evidence is provided to demonstrate progress towards achieving the intended outcomes; however, this delayed start-up prevented the program from having the intended impact within the timeframe covered by this evaluation.

3.0 Evaluation Findings

3.1 Relevance

3.1.1 Continued Need for the Programs

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
1. Is there an ongoing need for the Programs? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews; case studies Ongoing need identified

Summary:

Evidence gathered for this evaluation suggests that there is a continued and ongoing need for both the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs as a necessary complement to Government of Canada climate change mitigation initiatives (i.e., reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and to address barriers that exist to adapting to an already changing climate.

The results of the literature review and stakeholder interviews provide evidence that the climate in Canada is already changing and there is a need for programs such as those delivered by NRCan, aimed at building awareness and knowledge of how to adapt to these changes because mitigation measures taken now will not be enough to address climate changes that have already occurred (and are continuing to occur).  This continued need is further illustrated through case study examples.

Both programs work on a collaborative basis. The Climate Change Geoscience Program is providing scientific knowledge and data that is necessary to increase the understanding of climate changes and the impacts of these changes.  Complementary to this, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program facilitates adaptation decision-making across Canada by providing information related to adaptation needs and measures, support for the development of tools to assist decision makers in assessing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and support for regional scale collaboration on the issue.

Analysis:

According to a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) fact sheet, “climate change impacts are already showing and will intensify over time if left unchecked”.Footnote 29  Perhaps more importantly, as scientific research and literature suggest, climate change is not only occurring but will, “continue to occur for many decades, and even centuries regardless of the success of global initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation).”Footnote 30  Furthermore, a “focus of public and media interest on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has contributed to a lack of recognition of adaptation and an underestimation of its potential value.”Footnote 31

Given that the world, and Canada in particular, is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, it is important that action be taken to both mitigate and adapt to these threats.  As noted in the Government Response to the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, “[a]lthough efforts to move towards stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases through emission reductions are important and necessary, it is also recognized that the rate and magnitude of climate change will continue to demand social adaptation strategies to minimize the risks to quality of life.”Footnote 32  Consequently, adaptation measures are a necessary complement to mitigation measures when addressing climate change.

Because climate change impacts many aspects of society (including the economy, health, infrastructure, ecosystems, etc.), there continues to be a need to adapt.Footnote 33  In Canada, the impacts of climate change are influencing human systems, as well as environmental, economic and social issues.  This is evidenced through such climatic events as “heat waves, forest fires, storm-surge flooding, [and] coastal erosion…”, for example:

  • “decreases in the thickness and duration of lake and river ice have significantly impacted the viability of many winter road networks that provide access to remote communities and mine sites in northern Canada”; and
  • “coastal erosion has impacted buildings and critical infrastructure, and threatened cultural sites on all of Canada’s marine coasts”.Footnote 34

This suggests that there is likely to be continued exposure and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and associated events.  Therefore there is a related need for increased resilience to these impacts.  However, developing resilience and identifying adaptation options requires a knowledge base.  Evidence from the documents and literature suggests that although there is sufficient knowledge to begin the process of adaptation, there continues to be gaps in the present knowledge of climate impacts (including sensitivity of physical, ecological and human systems to change), as well as a recognized need to maintain sources of data to effectively support climate change adaptation.Footnote 35

Although adaptation actions are being taken, it is often in response to a specific extreme weather event.  Taking a more proactive approach would “help reduce social and economic costs” and would “increase efficiency and further reduce vulnerability in Canada”.Footnote 36  In addition, because the health of Canadians, their communities, natural environment, and economy are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,Footnote 37 the need for adaptation initiatives is greater than the number of adaptation initiatives currently undertaken in Canada.Footnote 38  Collectively, through the Climate Change Geoscience and Impacts and Adaptation programming, NRCan is working to address these needs.

As noted by program personnel interviewees, the initiatives of the Impacts and Adaptation Program, under Action Plan 2000/Climate Change Interim Strategy, identified climate change as an issue for which NRCan was able to increase awareness and knowledge.  However, these interviewees identified a continued need for action to be taken to adapt to the impacts of climate change; specifically, to refocus research questions in order to meet policy decision needs to effect action.

In particular, there is a need to integrate, or mainstream climate change (and specifically the notion of adaptation to climate change) into relevant decision-making at all levels as “one element of integrative analysis and policy development” along with the many other factors that influence decision-making.Footnote 39  This is consistent with a previous (2006) evaluation of NRCan’s Impacts and Adaptation Program, which concluded that although the program had increased the information available, policy-makers and local decision-makers were not using the program-generated knowledge and improved awareness of Canada’s vulnerability to climate change and the need for adaptation to develop policies and strategies for adapting to climate change.Footnote 40

Through the RACs and Tools for Adaptation initiatives, NRCan’s Impact and Adaptation Program is taking a more proactive approach to helping decision-makers use information by funding activities (e.g., development of knowledge, information, tools, and collaborative projects) that help to build the capacity of decision-makers and practitioners to take adaptation action.Footnote 41

Further evidence from documentation and literature also identifies a number of existing barriers to adaptation.  For example, a 2007 national-scale scientific assessment of the current state of understanding related to the risks and opportunities that climate change presents for Canada identifies that although there is sufficient knowledge to begin the process of adaptation there are potential barriers to adaptation action, including:

  • lack of awareness and understanding among decision-makers of the risks and opportunities of climate change and the role of adaptation in responding to climate change;
  • lack of access to existing scientific climate change knowledge, data, and decision-support tools;
  • lack of scientific climate change information specific to a region or sectors, including the timing of expected changes;
  • regulations or legislation that may limit adaptation options;
  • societal expectations; and
  • perceived costs of innovation and associated competitive disadvantage for the private sector in the absence of demands for higher standards from consumers, or stricter codes and standards set by governments.Footnote 42

The theory of change underlying NRCan’s current Impacts and Adaptation Program assumes that adaptation is most effective when actions are proactive and mainstreamed into decision-making and because impacts and adaptation actions cut across boundaries, collaboration (e.g., regional) is an important element to facilitating adaptation by practitioners (e.g., engineers, planners, resource managers, etc.) as well as decision-makers in governments, the private sector and community organizations.Footnote 43  Thus, this program is designed to address, to the extent possible, the identified barriers to facilitate adaptation decisions and actions.

For example, as demonstrated by the case studies for RACs and Tools for Adaptation completed as part of this evaluation, the current Impacts and Adaptation programming focuses on collaboration and providing the information and tools necessary in order to take decisions and actions towards adaptation.  Specific examples from the case studies include:

  • Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions (i.e., Atlantic RAC) – This project has engaged a wide range of partners (64 in all) within the provincial governments, municipal governments, academia and not-for-profit sector.Footnote 44  The activities of the Atlantic RAC include: an assessment of the risks and vulnerabilities of selected communities; the review of relevant regulations, policies and guidelines from the viewpoint of climate change adaptation; and the evaluation of different approaches to address the identified climate change risks and opportunities.Footnote 45  The focus of these activities is to facilitate adaptation decisions related to vulnerabilities specific to the Atlantic region, including coastal flooding, erosion, sedimentation and saltwater intrusion, as well as inland flooding, drought erosion and sedimentation, and changes to water quality and quantity.Footnote 46
  • Tools for Engaging and Enabling Engineers (Canadian Council of Professional Engineers) – The objective of this project was to better prepare Canada’s engineering community to adapt to climate change by providing a tool for use in analyzing infrastructure vulnerability, building awareness of the developed tool and expertise in its use.Footnote 47  In the most recent phase of the project, the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Assessment Protocol (Protocol) was upgraded.  Targeted groups for this Tools project included engineers and owners of infrastructure as they will increase their awareness of climate change adaptation as well as their skill in using the developed tool to assess the vulnerability of infrastructure to climate change.Footnote 48

This idea of mainstreaming and collaborating speaks to the integration of “climate change policy to policy normally seen as outside the scope of climate change including livelihood enhancement, poverty alleviation, education, improved institutional arrangements, and sustainable development.”Footnote 49  Through the integration of the management of climate change risks into existing policy, “mainstreaming can lead to ‘win-win’ or ‘no-regrets’ adaptation through policy that reduces vulnerability to climatic risk while addressing other policies.”Footnote 50

General consensus among Regional Adaptation Collaborative stakeholders and partners was that climate change is an issue that will not be going away in the short-term.  As such, there is a continued need to bridge the gap between climate change knowledge and adaptation action at all levels – that is, to translate science into action at the decision-making level.  Likewise, the Tools for Adaptation stakeholders and partners identified that there is generally a lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding of the need for adaptation measures.

In particular, the majority of Adaptation stakeholder interviewees noted the need to shift the focus from whether climate change exists to taking actions to prepare for climatic events and to incorporate adaptation into existing planning processes and decisions.  Similarly, the majority of these interviewees identified a continuing need to increase capacity (e.g., awareness, knowledge, and understanding) at all levels of government and to provide them with the tools and information necessary to deal with climate change issues.  While the Tools for Adaptation initiative within the current Impacts and Adaptation Program is designed to develop tools to help increase this capacity, it was noted that there continues to be a need to mainstream climate change impact and adaptation and to provide decision-makers with the ability to identify, assess and rank risks to facilitate and enable adaptation.

Moreover, NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program also aims to contribute to climate change adaptation and address some of the barriers to adaptation by providing earth science information to support the development of policies and regulations.  Enhanced resilience to climate change and adaptation decisions and actions must “be based on some level of understanding of historical and present climate, projections of climate change, and the current and future implications of vulnerability and impact.”Footnote 51

Program personnel interviewees from the Climate Change Geoscience Program identified a need to mainstream climate change into decision-making and policy-making within governments and other organizations.  However, Climate Change Geoscience Program beneficiary/partner interviewees identified that there is a need for information to help them understand the implications of climate changes, what these changes might be in the future, and be able to plan and adapt to them.  Nearly all Geoscience interviewees (internal and external) noted that climate change will continue to exist into the future, so there will continue to be a need for a program such as NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program.

Like the Impacts and Adaptation Program, the Climate Change Geoscience Program approach involves collaboration with key stakeholders.  In this case, these stakeholders are those responsible for the development of scientific knowledge of how the Canadian environment will be affected by climate change, as well as those responsible for the development of policies to adapt to the environmental changes brought about by climate change.Footnote 52

Examples of how the Climate Change Geoscience Program collaborates with stakeholders and focuses activities to address specifically identified needs are illustrated in the case studies conducted as part of this evaluation.  For instance:

  • Clyde River: Case Study in Building Resilience to Climate Change on Canadian Communities – Through a collaboration with the Government of Nunavut, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Canadian Institute of PlannersFootnote 53, and the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre (which opened in Clyde River in late 2007), NRCan supports climate change adaptation in the Hamlet of Clyde River, Nunavut by: creating scientific information that helps the Hamlet adapt to climate change; building capacity for climate change adaptation planning; and publishing, sharing and communicating climate change adaptation knowledge learned from efforts in Clyde River within the Hamlet, but also across Nunavut and elsewhere.Footnote 54
  • Dendroisotopic Reconstruction of Hydroclimatic Conditions over the Past Centuries in Hydropower Regions of the Quebec-Labrador Peninsular – Through this activity, the Climate Change Geoscience Program “contributes to a large partnership effort to characterize the risks of the key hydropower production base to climate change, by reconstructing hydroclimatic conditions over the last centuries using dendroisotopic analysis.  The central output of the dendroisotopic analysis will be quantitative estimates of the long-term natural variability of the hydroclimatic regions in the Quebec and Labrador boreal and subarctic zones, which will be used by partners to validate their operational hydroclimatic model for improved prediction of water availability in response to climate change.”Footnote 55

3.1.2 Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan Strategic Objectives

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
2. Are the programs consistent with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives? Document review Consistent with priorities and strategic objectives

Summary:

Much of the focus of Government priorities since 2005-06 has been on mitigation.  However, through the earlier United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol, Canada made commitments to also facilitate adaptation to climate change through the adoption of policies and measures.  These commitments are supported through recent speeches from the Throne and federal budgets.  These programs also directly align to the strategic objective of NRCan as identified in recent Program Activity Architectures and Reports on Plans and Priorities.

Analysis:

Alignment with Government of Canada Priorities

As a signatory to the UNFCCC in 1992, and later (2002) to the Kyoto Protocol, Canada committed to implementing policies and measures that would mitigate climate change, and adopting policies and measures that would facilitate adaptation to climate change.Footnote 56

Climate change has been identified as a challenge to be addressed in recent speeches from the Throne (2007, 2008, and 2010) and federal budgets (2007 and 2011). While both the speeches and budgets identified that climate change is a “growing challenge”Footnote 57 and “[n]owhere is a commitment to principled policy, backed by action, needed more than in addressing climate change”Footnote 58 the emphasis was often on the reduction of greenhouse gases (i.e., mitigation), rather than actions to adapt to a changing climate.  That said, the Budget 2011 allocated funds ($58.0 million) specifically towards “a suite of programs aimed at helping Canadians adapt to a changing climate”.Footnote 59

Similarly, the Government of Canada’s recent climate change plans/policies have highlighted the changing climate as a priority issue.  For example, in 2005 (the beginning of the period covered by this evaluation), the Government of Canada published Project Green – Moving Forward on Climate Change: A Plan for Honouring our Kyoto Commitment.  In addition to a variety of mitigation commitments, this climate change plan also recognized the importance of investing in science and adaptation.  It specifically identified that the Government of Canada would “expand [its] capacity to transform scientific knowledge into usable information for policy-makers, resource sector managers, and the business community”.Footnote 60 This plan suggested that federal science and adaptation could consist of:

  • increasing knowledge and understanding: a solid knowledge base to increase understanding of current and future trends relating to climate change and its impacts on Canada;
  • enhancing awareness and engagement: engagement with other orders of government, universities, industry and communities in understanding climate change and developing holistic responses to climate change threats; and
  • developing appropriate adaptation tools: comprehensive risk assessments could play a critical part of ensuring that the governments have a solid understanding of climate change-related risks on operations and planning.Footnote 61

In 2007, the Government of Canada again committed funds ($85.9 millionFootnote 62) to five departments under the adaptation theme of the Clean Air Agenda for adaptation-focused programming intended to “develop the knowledge, information, tools and collaborative arrangements that Canadians need to initiate action to successfully reduce climate risks.”Footnote 63  The objective was to address “both the need to build capacity to respond to diverse risks across the country, as well as the importance of targeting three areas of concern (the North, health, and infrastructure)”.Footnote 64

Alignment with NRCan Strategic Objectives

Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, adapting to climate change has consistently been represented as a priority of the Department in its strategic objective statements and/or Program Activity Architecture.  For example, in 2009-10, NRCan’s Report on Plans and Priorities identified a strategic outcome related to safety, security and stewardship which stated that “Natural resource knowledge, landmass knowledge and management systems strengthen the safety and security of Canadians and the stewardship of Canada’s natural resources and landmass.”Footnote 65  This strategic outcome includes a priority related to adapting to a changing climate which continues to be the case in the 2010-11 Report on Plans and Priorities.

In particular, the expected result for the programs covered by this evaluation states that “the risks and opportunities due to the impacts of climate change on Canada’s lands, coasts and economic sectors are assessed, and adaptations are incorporated into plans, strategies or guidelines.”Footnote 66

3.1.3 Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
3. Is there a legitimate, appropriate, and necessary role for the federal government in the programs? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews Align with federal roles and responsibilities

Summary:

Given the supporting legislation and mandate, NRCan plays a legitimate role in facilitating adaptation to a changing climate.  Because climate change is a cross-cutting issue, leadership and coordination at the federal level is appropriate and necessary given the limited focus on adaptation measures to date. 

With its geoscience expertise and established networks, and through its continued collaborative approach to increasing awareness and adaptation capacity, NRCan is well positioned to provide this necessary leadership and coordination role through its Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs.

Analysis:

Legitimacy

In addition to being a signatory to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, the federal mandate to help Canadians adapt to climate change comes from the 2007 Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act which commits the federal government to ensuring “that Canada takes effective and timely action to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and help address the problem of global climate change”.Footnote 67

Given NRCan’s mandate “to improve the quality of life of Canadians by helping to create a sustainable resource advantage,” the Department “conducts activities in areas of core federal jurisdiction that fall within its legislated roles and responsibilities, working towards outcomes supportive of economic competitiveness, environmental responsibility, the safety and security of Canadians and the stewardship of natural resources”.Footnote 68  In the case of climate change, these activities relate specifically to the commitments as a signatory of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol through the delivery of the Climate Change Geoscience and the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs.

Appropriateness and Necessity

Climate change adaptation requires the involvement of a variety of stakeholders, including all levels of government, the private sector, academia, industry and business, not-for-profits and NGOs, as well as individuals. However, as noted by the Conference Board of Canada, “The government can, and ought to, establish national guidelines, goals and initiatives, but implementation and administration should be decentralized.”Footnote 69

NRCan’s approach to the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, in particular the RACs and the Tools for Adaptation, is consistent with this identified role in that the program is intended to “facilitate effective co-ordination and collaboration between industry, academia, governments, and local communities” Footnote 70 so as to increase adaptive capacity and enable adaptation actions to be undertaken and/or decisions to be made. 

Likewise, the Climate Change Geoscience Program provides geoscience and geomatics knowledge and expertise aimed at helping the federal government, provincial/territorial governments, private sector, and communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change on communities, infrastructure, the economy, and their way of life.Footnote 71  To facilitate this, the Climate Change Geoscience Program has entered into agreements with other federal departments/agencies to better be able to contribute its geoscience and geomapping expertise to the programming of these other organizations.Footnote 72

The majority of Impacts and Adaptation related interviewees (program personnel and beneficiaries/partners) believed that because climate change is a cross-cutting issue, coordination and leadership should be assumed at the federal level.  Many of the beneficiary/partner interviewees felt that any federal department with the mandate of climate change adaptation within its purview could take on the leadership role.  However, it was noted that given the leadership role that NRCan has played over the last five to ten years, it may be well positioned to continue in this role. 

In particular, Impacts and Adaptation interviewees (program personnel and beneficiaries/partners) recognized that NRCan has already established networks and collaborative relationships, and also have the geoscience and research expertise needed to adapt to a changing climate, which would facilitate the collaboration and cooperation across federal departments and other levels of government necessary for adaptation initiatives to be successful.  These interviewees also mentioned that no federal body appears to be offering programs such as NRCan’s, thus someone else would need to take it over in order to continue the momentum.  It was felt that a transition to another organization would cause unnecessary delays and potential resource/funding constraints.

In that same vein, the majority of Climate Change Geoscience interviewees (program personnel and beneficiaries/partners) indicated that NRCan is uniquely positioned to provide the geoscience information necessary to understand the impacts of climate change, and identify and adopt adaptation measures (i.e., to inform decisions about adaptation, including adaptation planning and policies).  In fact, nearly all of these interviewees highlighted that NRCan is the only agency with the capacity and expertise to provide this geoscience information and advice.  It was felt that without this, there would be a gap in the geoscientific information that would make it difficult for stakeholders to understand the impacts of climate change and undertake their planning and adaptation activities. Thus, any decisions would be made on information that was incomplete, not credible, or simply non-existent.

Similarly, the majority of representatives interviewed from other government departments recognized the importance of NRCan’s role in climate change programming.  With respect to the Climate Change Geoscience Program, it was generally felt that the science being produced is important to the mandate of other government departments and no other federal entity is currently mandated or resourced to do it.Footnote 73  From the Impacts and Adaptation perspective, the information resulting from key program outputs, such as the National Assessment, were also important for informing other federal departments of risks associated with climate change from the perspective of their mandates.  The RACs and Tools were identified as important programs for mainstreaming climate change adaptation.  Most other government department interviewees indicated that there would be a large gap in climate change programming without the Geoscience and Impacts and Adaptation programs – a gap that would need to be filled by another department, but one that it was felt could not be easily filled.

A brief look at activities of other countries further illustrates the importance of a national leadership role with regard to adaptation.  In the United Kingdom, France, and Finland, for example, governments “have developed national adaptation strategies and provide instructive examples of institutional mechanisms for responding to climate change risks” and implemented adaptation initiatives as a result, thereby demonstrating the perceived “importance of establishing institutions, programs, or co-ordinating bodies on adaptation to help build policy-making and management capacity at the national level.”Footnote 74

In addition, within Canada, there are several regionally-focused organizations involved in disseminating knowledge on climate change impacts for the purposes of adaptation, which, although similar in their goals to that of NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program, are not national in scope.  For example:

  • ArcticNet aims, in part, to contribute to the development and dissemination of knowledge to formulate adaptation strategies and national policies to help Canadians address climate change impacts in the Arctic;Footnote 75
  • OuranosFootnote 76 is a Quebec-based consortium with a mandate to coordinate vulnerability and impact assessments in Quebec and cooperate on developing adaptation measures and strategies;Footnote 77 and
  • the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is a British Columbia-based organization that aims to research, monitor, and assess the impacts of climate change, as well as assess, develop, and promote adaptation options to inform climate change policies and actions.Footnote 78

Because these organizations are not national in scope, there continues to be a role for national level adaptation and geoscience programs such as those offered by NRCan, in providing national level geoscience information and promoting and facilitating climate change adaptation across the country.

Universities and other science-based organizations are also involved in research activities similar to those undertaken by NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program.  For instance, universities are involved in undertaking projects focused on contributing to the earth science knowledge base to support climate change adaptation.  Sample projects include glacier and permafrost observation, paleoceanographic research and analysis of ice cores.  In some cases, these projects are undertaken in partnership with NRCan’s Geoscience Program as a means of leveraging resources and avoiding duplication of effort.  This benefits both the work of NRCan as well as the work of the universities.Footnote 79

Under the Clean Air Agenda, NRCan’s Adaptation Program “has evolved from a focus on building a dedicated research community and a foundation of knowledge to inform adaptation, to taking a more active role in promoting the integration of climate change and adaptation considerations at all levels of decision-making,” which highlights the importance of “increasing efforts to foster the uptake of research results into policy, planning, and operational decisions.”Footnote 80

Several federal government departments, provincial agencies, municipalities and organizations are involved in the identification, development and implementation of adaptation strategies.  In many cases, the program objectives may even be similar as most have the overall objective of protecting Canadians from harm resulting from climate change through adaptation activities and actions. For example, all initiatives within the Adaptation Theme of the Clean Air Agenda were intended to “help Canadians build their capacity to adapt, by developing knowledge, information, tools and/or collaborative arrangements that they need to take action to successfully reduce their risks.”Footnote 81  Nevertheless, it appears that these programs overlap where appropriate, but do not have redundancies or negative duplication. 

As noted by the Impacts and Adaptation interviewees, because climate change adaptation is really in its infancy, overlap can be important to help raise its profile, but also, similar activities can yield different results and lessons depending on the location or sector so what appears to be duplication becomes an avenue for sharing lessons across regions or sectors.  Nearly all interviewees (Adaptation and Geoscience) noted that all adaptation programs tend to be complementary rather than duplicative in nature.

The adaptation programs of the Clean Air Agenda align with the mandates of the respective departments and are complementary.  For instance:

  • the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada program “Assist Northerners in Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and Opportunities”, focuses on projects aimed at “working with Aboriginal and northern organizations, institutions and communities to assess and develop management strategies, to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, and develop future courses of action on adaptations”;Footnote 82 and
  • the Environment Canada program “Improved Climate Change Scenarios” focuses on “the enhancement and operation of global and regional climate models; the development of climate scenarios for climate, weather extremes and hazards; and the development of specialized information on hazards and climate extremes for infrastructure design.”Footnote 83

While it is recognized that climate change impacts and adaptation occur at the regional and local levels, further evidence from the literature suggests that the federal government is well placed to provide information on climate change impacts and adaptation, mainly because of its lead role in conducting research on climate change and measures to adapt.Footnote 84  Again, given NRCan’s involvement in adaptation programming and expertise in geoscience information, it appears to be well placed to continue with such type of programming and leadership – in collaboration and cooperation with others.

Three roles for the federal government in adaptation have been articulated by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy:

  • adaptor: taking action to minimize risks related to climate change impacts on a department’s own programs and activities;
  • catalyst and facilitator (coordinator): supporting the dissemination of research and information on the risks of climate change and potential adaptation options, including building adaptive capacity among key stakeholder groups, and acting as a coordinator to ensure adaptation measures form a coherent whole and are not counterproductive; and
  • intervener or rule-setter: government implements legislation in order to reduce its population’s vulnerability to climate change.Footnote 85

NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program supports the federal role of facilitator by conducting geoscience and geomatics research and disseminating information on climate change impacts and options for adaptation.  And the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program further contributes to this role as facilitator through the collaborative approaches of the RACs as well as by supporting the development and implementation of Tools for Adaptation.  Specifically, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program complements federal action towards mitigation and fulfills this role as facilitator because it is designed to:

  • “…establish and manage a series of collaborative arrangements and facilitate regional adaptation…;
  • …create a national coordination function designed to enable sharing of information, tools, and experiences nationally, and to coordinate program elements…;
  • …In collaboration with experts and practitioners in governments and the private sector…oversee the development of decision-support tools for adaptation and related information products…;
  • …create new mechanisms and use existing networks and relationships to disseminate information and tools generated through NRCan’s Climate Change Adaptation initiatives…; [and]
  • …[build] the capacity of practitioners and decision-makers to understand the issues, assess climate risks and opportunities, and evaluate adaptation options…”.Footnote 86

The Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation programs also play an important role from an international perspective.  Negotiating and fulfilling international reporting requirements related to climate change is an area of activity that is solely within the federal realm.  NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program makes a geoscience-based contribution, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to reports such as the Synthesis of National Reports on Systematic Observations.Footnote 87  NRCan’s contribution to this report includes information on changes in permafrost, glaciers and surface reflectance.Footnote 88 Also, the Climate Change Adaptation Program contributes to impacts and adaptation chapters of Canada’s National Communications to the UNFCCC.  Both programs contributed to reports (e.g., international assessments) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

  • adaptor: taking action to minimize risks related to climate change impacts on a department’s own programs and activities;
  • catalyst and facilitator (coordinator): supporting the dissemination of research and information on the risks of climate change and potential adaptation options, including building adaptive capacity among key stakeholder groups, and acting as a coordinator to ensure adaptation measures form a coherent whole and are not counterproductive; and
  • intervener or rule-setter: government implements legislation in order to reduce its population’s vulnerability to climate change.Footnote 85

NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program supports the federal role of facilitator by conducting geoscience and geomatics research and disseminating information on climate change impacts and options for adaptation.  And the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program further contributes to this role as facilitator through the collaborative approaches of the RACs as well as by supporting the development and implementation of Tools for Adaptation.  Specifically, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program complements federal action towards mitigation and fulfills this role as facilitator because it is designed to:

  • “…establish and manage a series of collaborative arrangements and facilitate regional adaptation…;
  • …create a national coordination function designed to enable sharing of information, tools, and experiences nationally, and to coordinate program elements…;
  • …In collaboration with experts and practitioners in governments and the private sector…oversee the development of decision-support tools for adaptation and related information products…;
  • …create new mechanisms and use existing networks and relationships to disseminate information and tools generated through NRCan’s Climate Change Adaptation initiatives…; [and]
  • …[build] the capacity of practitioners and decision-makers to understand the issues, assess climate risks and opportunities, and evaluate adaptation options…”.Footnote 86

The Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation programs also play an important role from an international perspective.  Negotiating and fulfilling international reporting requirements related to climate change is an area of activity that is solely within the federal realm.  NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program makes a geoscience-based contribution, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to reports such as the Synthesis of National Reports on Systematic Observations.Footnote 87  NRCan’s contribution to this report includes information on changes in permafrost, glaciers and surface reflectance.Footnote 88 Also, the Climate Change Adaptation Program contributes to impacts and adaptation chapters of Canada’s National Communications to the UNFCCC.  Both programs contributed to reports (e.g., international assessments) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

3.2 Performance

3.2.1 Achievement of Expected Outcomes (Effectiveness)

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
4. To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the programs? Document review; stakeholder interviews; case studies Some progress for both programs

Summary:

There is evidence of achievement of outcomes related to the availability and use of information/tools and strengthened linkages among stakeholders by both the Climate Change Geoscience Program and the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.

Evidence of availability of the information produced by the programs and strengthened linkages among stakeholders relate to direct stakeholder involvement in activities, engagement of partners, production of datasets designed for specific users, and communication of results through presentations, publications, conferences, workshops, the Internet, etc.

There is some evidence that the Climate Change Geoscience Program is making progress towards having the science generated from the program used and thus, enabling the implementation and adoption of climate change adaptation actions.  However, it is evident that more time is needed for the implementation and adoption of actions to become fully evident.

Similarly, due to unanticipated delays in the start-up of the program, at the time of this evaluation there was some evidence to demonstrate progress towards the use of information and tools from the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program but limited evidence of the implementation and adoption of climate change measures and strategies.

The key factor identified as facilitating the performance of both programs was the emphasis on the collaborative approach to program delivery, noting in particular the importance of stakeholder interaction for program success.  Other potential facilitators of success included recent climate events (e.g., hurricanes and other major storms, mountain pine beetle infestation, wild fires, droughts, etc.) because they helped to raise the profile of climate change.  Factors that may hinder performance include difficulty in recruiting new staff (in the case of the Geoscience Program) and a lack of collaboration between, and within, the NRCan programs, as well as heavy reporting requirements and administrative burden (in the case of the Adaptation Program).

Evidence gathered from the evaluation suggests that both programs are making progress towards meeting the needs of their target audiences (i.e., practitioners, decision-makers and policy-makers), thus increasing their likelihood of achieving their identified intended outcomes.

Analysis:

In reviewing the logic models for the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs, as part of this evaluation, it was evident that there are similarities and linkages between these programs and their identified outcomes.  As such, for the purposes of this evaluation, three key outcomes have been identified that will illustrate the extent to which the programs are achieving the key outcomes as identified in the respective logic models.Footnote 89  The three outcomesFootnote 90 identified for the purposes of this evaluation are:

  • availability and use by practitioners and decision-makers of information and tools related to identifying climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options (including increased awareness, being informed, and increased capacity);
  • strengthened linkages among stakeholders on the issue of climate change vulnerability and adaptation; and
  • practitioners and decision-makers within key economic sectors and vulnerable communities implement/adopt adaptation strategies and measures (including consideration of risks and opportunities in practices, guidelines codes/standards, policy, planning, operations, etc.)

This evaluation issue also considered the extent to which the programs are meeting the needs of the target audiences as well as the identification of factors impacting the performance of the programs (positively or negatively).

Availability and Use of Information/Tools and Strengthened Linkages among Stakeholders

The two outcomes, availability and use of information/tools and linkages among stakeholders are related and thus, presented together.

The majority of Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees identified examples of how the activities of the program contributed to the achievement of these outcomes.  These examples are consistent with those identified in the program documentation.  Most Geoscience Program beneficiary/partner interviewees also provided some anecdotal evidence that the program is achieving these outcomes – that information is being made available and shared, attempts are being made to translate the science to non-science users, and the work of the program’s scientists is feeding into the development of adaptation plans, particularly in the North.  Most of these interviewees also noted that relationships/linkages between stakeholders are strengthened because of the cooperation and collaboration with the work of the Geoscience Program.

In the case of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, most program personnel and RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees indicated that the collaborative nature of the RACs means that stakeholders have access to information and tools through meetings, the Internet, conferences, workshops, presentations at events, etc.  However, some of the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees believed that there continues to be opportunity to strengthen information sharing.  Similarly, most program personnel and the majority of Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees felt that the Tools for Adaptation initiative was increasing awareness among stakeholders and target groups of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options by making information and tools available to a broad range of stakeholders though activities such as training, conferences, etc.

The majority of Adaptation beneficiary/partner interviewees (RACs and Tools) indicated that while progress is being made towards providing information to increase understanding among practitioners and decision-makers about climate change vulnerabilities and to identify adaptation options, it is too early for the program to be able to demonstrate this.  In the case of the RACs, the majority of beneficiary/partner interviewees identified that, in most cases, while there is information that has increased understanding about climate change vulnerabilities, it is too early in terms of tools and information related to identifying adaptation options as the work is still being completed. 

Furthermore, with respect to the Tools for Adaptation, many beneficiary/partner interviewees suggested that work is still ongoing in terms of having tools and information available for understanding climate change vulnerabilities and identifying adaptation options.  Examples provided by a few interviewees to illustrate this include: recommendations on action to be taken emerging from exchange meetings with other Tool project participants (organized by CCIAD); preparation by one organization of a two-page summary of what the climate is expected to be like over the next 40 years in simple terms and identifying options for adaptation; and delivering symposia and undertaking fieldwork to identify adaptation options as a means of advancing the knowledge of what is required and what is possible.

With respect to strengthened linkages among stakeholders, Adaptation Program personnel interviewees explained that mechanisms are in place to meet, share and build on lessons learned, in particular, through the RAC Integration Group through which the leads of all RACs are brought together a couple of times a year to share information and lessons learned.  Again, the majority of RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees also posited that the nature of the RACs facilitated the identification of the different stakeholders who needed to be communicating and working together, and enabled the relationships/ linkages to be made through greater communication, sharing of concerns, solutions, and ideas, as well as facilitating collaboration toward common goals and objectives. 

The RAC Integration Group was highlighted by these beneficiaries/partners as a key facilitator in creating and strengthening linkages among stakeholders both nationally and within regions (i.e., across provinces and/or municipalities).  On the other hand, the majority of Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees were of the opinion that even though there is an emphasis on the need to strengthen linkages among stakeholders on the issue of climate change vulnerability and adaptation, there continues to be a need for the program to do this.  The sense among Tool beneficiary/partner interviewees was that linkages may have been strengthened internally (i.e., within proponent organizations and/or the Impacts and Adaptation Program), but less so with external stakeholders such as decision-makers.

Examples of evidence from program documentation illustrating progress towards achieving outcomes related to the availability and use of information/tools and strengthened linkages among stakeholders include:

Climate Change Geoscience
  • The activity of ‘building climate change adaptation capacity in the Canadian planning community’ was a collaboration between the Climate Change Geoscience Program and the Canadian Institute of PlannersFootnote 91 with the objective of transforming the results of earth sciences information into capacity building for professional planners.Footnote 92
  • The ‘assessment of urban heat island impacts in the Greater Toronto Area region’ was intended to contribute to urban geospatial information to predict urban heat islands in support of the development of planning approaches in the areas of urban design, hot weather response and energy consumption within the context of climate change.  A key feature of this activity was the collaboration between the Climate Change Geoscience Program and decision-makers (including the City of Toronto) in defining the research objectives and deciding how to apply the results.Footnote 93
  • A research activity undertaken jointly by the Climate Change Geoscience Program and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans used ice core records from Canada and Greenland to explore climate variability and its impact on the north Atlantic region of Canada.  A major identified user of this information is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Footnote 94
  • Environment Canada has used the snow cover data produced by the Geoscience Program to produce trends in arctic snow cover, while Ouranos has used this data to evaluate the Canadian Regional Climate Model of Environment Canada, and the Canadian Wildlife Service along with the University of Laval used this information to monitor the caribou habitat.Footnote 95
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
  • As of March 31, 2010, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program funded seven Tools for Adaptation projectsFootnote 96 through contribution agreements.  These projects involve the development, testing, and training related to a number of decision-support tools where appropriate.Footnote 97
  • As of March 31, 2010, five RACs had been established through signed agreements and a sixthFootnote 98 was under development.  The five RACs were at varying stages of development – for example, the Quebec RAC reported that its biggest accomplishments had been “setting up functional structures that would allow for activities that are better connected between key partners to facilitate adaptation…”, while other RACs reported that they had started work on projects and some had produced outputs (although it was unknown at the time of this evaluation the extent to which these outputs had been disseminated and made available for use).Footnote 99
  • The formation of a RAC itself can contribute to engagement and strengthening linkages among stakeholders because it brings together decision-makers from all levels of government (federal, provincial/territorial, municipal) as well as communities, industry, business, academia, and Aboriginal and non-governmental organizations.Footnote 100  For example, at the time of this evaluation: 15 sub-agreements had been put in place in the B.C. RAC and 20 in the Quebec RAC, thus bringing together partners in formal collaborations to address climate change adaptation; and workshops and other activities were held by all RACs to engage decision-makers in the project. Footnote 101
  • Highlights from the May 2010 RAC Integration Group Meeting provide some evidence of strengthening linkages among stakeholders through increased collaboration, engagement, and sharing of information:
    • the Prairies RAC reported that it brought together stakeholders in Saskatchewan to develop a draft action plan for drought monitoring, preparedness, and response that will influence provincial strategy; and
    • the Atlantic RAC reported an increased level of collaboration between Atlantic provinces and coordinated support from the Premiers such that provinces worked together in developing common methodologies and combining basic resources for projects.Footnote 102

Moreover, there is evidence from the program documentation that the first phase of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program covered by this evaluation also contributed to the outcomes of availability and use of information and strengthening linkages among stakeholders.  For instance:

  • Most of the research reports produced are posted on the program’s web site, thereby contributing to the availability of information, however there was little information available at the time of the evaluation about how these reports were used.
  • The National Assessment increased awareness and use by the academic community, practitioners, and decision-makers as evidenced by citations in peer review journals, products and publications aimed at stakeholders and other non-scientific audiences in provincial/territorial and municipal governments.Footnote 103
  • C-CIARN put in place mechanisms to disseminate research results to increase awareness and engagement of decision-makers.  In particular, program documentation identifies that ten workshops on climate change impacts and adaptation were organized by C-CIARN during the 2006-07 period.Footnote 104  A number of State-of-Play reports were also developed through C-CIARN which provided an overview of the issue in each C-CIARN region and sector and are available on the Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Program’s web site.
  • A number of tools for community planning and helping practitioners address adaptation to climate change were produced through contribution agreements between 2006-07 and 2007-08.  For example: two projects targeted professional engineers to: i) assess the needs of professional engineers; and ii) develop a tool to assess the engineering vulnerability of infrastructure to assist practitioners in adapting to climate change; and the Canadian Institute of Planners developed the capacity of planners to deal with climate change with support from the Capacity Building for Impacts and Adaptation Research Initiative.Footnote 105

Case studies conducted as part of this evaluation also provided supporting evidence illustrating progress towards achieving the intended outcomes.  For instance, a significant success story for the Climate Change Geoscience Program relates to the Clyde River project (case study in Building Resilience to Climate Change on Canadian Communities).  In the Hamlet of Clyde River, Nunavut, the Climate Change Geoscience scientists collaborated with the Government of Nunavut, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Canadian Institute of Planners (with support from the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program), thus forming the broader Nunavut Climate Change Partnership on a project entitled “Atuliqtuq” (or “coming into force” in Inuktitut).  The objectives included: building capacity through the development of adaptation plans in seven communitiesFootnote 106 and using the results to develop planning tools for other parts of Nunavut; creating and making available regionally and locally relevant scientific information to dealing with climate change adaptation and planning activities in the communities (e.g., permafrost degradation, landscape hazards, sea-level change, coastal erosion, freshwater supply); and developing tools for collecting, publishing and sharing climate change adaptation knowledge across Nunavut and elsewhere.Footnote 107

It was noted that “from a research and training perspective, the initiative helped community members and summer students become expert field assistants for permafrost, geophysics, sea-level change, watershed and other monitoring activities, as well as active participants at scientific and planning conferences.”Footnote 108  In Clyde River, specifically, collaboration between the Geoscience Program and the Canadian Institute of Planners enabled the creation of the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre, thus increasing climate change adaptation capacity as through Ittaq a business plan was developed, community logistical support services built up, a community climate change adaptation plan produced, and people from the community employed.Footnote 109

These specific examples illustrate that the Climate Change Geoscience Program is collecting earth sciences information relevant to assessing the impacts of climate change that is not only made available to other organizations, but appears to also be useful to these organizations when conducting their own climate change adaptation activities. Similarly, the specific examples related to the Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Program suggest that this program is providing tools and information to practitioners, decision-makers and other stakeholders that will enable stakeholders to assess risks, identify options for adaptation, and potentially implement/adopt adaptation measures and strategies.  Moreover, this evidence highlights that both programs work closely with other organizations, through collaborations and partnerships, to ensure the relevance of the activities undertaken in meeting the needs of target groups.

Implementation/Adoption of Adaptation Strategies and Measures

There is some evidence that the Climate Change Geoscience Program is making progress towards stakeholders using the geoscience information to implement/adopt adaptation strategies and measures.  The majority of program personnel interviewees identified examples of how the activities of the program contributed to the achievement of identified outcomes.  While the data and information (i.e., the science) being produced by the Climate Change Geoscience Program has been recognized as being useful to the program beneficiaries/partners, interviewees identified that more data is needed in order for them to proceed to the next step of implementation and adoption.

On the other hand, given the delays in start-up of the RAC component of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, it is premature to expect strong demonstration of progress towards this outcome.  To that end, the majority of program personnel and most of the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees indicated that at the time of the evaluation, the program was not yet at this point and it was too early to measure or expect progress towards the implementation/adoption of adaptation strategies and measures. 

A few exceptions were noted by RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees who provided examples of where limited evidence of this was available, including: climate change principles starting to be incorporated into planning documents, and some risk assessment work being carried out in provinces/provincial government departments.

Among the Tool beneficiary/partner interviewees, there was a mix of perspectives with respect to this.  In some cases, particularly projects/organizations that received funding under the first phase of the Impacts and Adaptation Program – 2005-06 to 2007-08 – covered in this evaluation (e.g., Canadian Institute of Planners, Canadian Council of Professional Engineers), tools were being used to assess risks, identify adaptation options, and in the development of adaptation plans. However, for the most part, these interviewees indicated that not enough time had elapsed for implementation and adaptation to be evident among the target audiences (i.e., practitioners and decision-makers).

Results of case studies conducted by the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) – funded by the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program – have influenced regional and/or municipal decision-making.  For example, in the Metro Vancouver case study area, recommendations were made to improve the resiliency of the infrastructure.  Meeting notes from the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee indicate that: "Many of the actions to support these recommendations [were] already addressed in the current version of the Liquid Waste Management Plan.  Additional new actions that further address these recommendations [were] being included in the review and update of the Liquid Waste Management Plan.  Other actions to improve the resiliency of Metro Vancouver’s infrastructure to climate change [were to] be considered as the 2009 budget is developed."Footnote 110

Examples of evidence from program documentation illustrating progress towards the use of information and tools resulting from the NRCan programs for the implementation and adoption of adaptation measures and strategies include:

Climate Change Geoscience
  • One research project explored the dynamics of the Prairie landscape under climate change, the implications of climate change for water resources, and adaptation options (such as bioenergy development).  The results generated by this research have been used by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada to prepare responses to climate change impacts in the national agricultural policy framework.Footnote 111
  • Improved projections of sea-level rise and coastal vulnerability provided by the program for Greater Vancouver informed the community of Delta’s Flood Management Plan, which aims to reduce the risks to the community caused by climate change-induced flooding.Footnote 112
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
  • Use of NRCan’s National Assessment with respect to informing decision-making and teaching the next generation, as evidenced by: “Officials with government agencies and non-governmental organizations place special value on detailed regional information, since it helps them better understand and mitigate risks on a regional level.  Example applications include the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission’s preparation of recommendations in response to proposed developments and their impacts on the environment; the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s integration of climate change considerations in risk assessments for food safety, animal health and plant protection; and Ecology North’s development of research and education support tools for adapting to changing climate conditions in the Northwest Territories.”Footnote 113
  • A citation analysis conducted by the Adaptation Program also reveals that the National Assessment has been cited in a number of provincial, territorial and municipal policy documents, including Prince Edward Island and Climate Change: A Strategy for Reducing the Impacts of Global Warming, Living Smart – British Columbia’s Water Plan, and a multi-jurisdictional report entitled Vulnerability of Canada’s Tree Species to Climate Change and Management Options for Adaptation: An overview for Policy Makers and Practitioners.Footnote 114

A case study of the enhanced permafrost monitoring network through community consultation and establishment of new sites in Nunavut completed as part of this evaluation provides an indication that the installation of new permafrost stations was an important development for the communities in which they are installed because the information gathered from them can be used when planning municipal infrastructure (e.g., buildings, water infrastructure, airports, etc.).

Case studies from the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program also provide insight into the progress (including the identification of potential challenges) that is starting to become evident:

  • Canadian Council of Professional Engineers – The project funded under the Tools for Adaptation initiative has developed a tool that is used to identify and assess the risks to infrastructure from an engineering perspective, and identifies adaptation options. While in many cases these have led to actions, the identification of risks and possible responses does not always lead to decisions to act on a recommendation because decision-makers need information on the costs and benefits (environmental, social, and economic) of the adaptation alternatives to address the vulnerable components of the particular infrastructure.
  • Canadian Institute of Planners – A number of Adaptation plans have been developed for communities in Nunavut, but it is too soon to tell how these will be used and implemented.

Thus, for the Climate Change Geoscience Program it appears that progress is being made towards having the science generated from the program used and is enabling the implementation and adoption of climate change adaptation actions.  However, it is evident that more time is needed for the implementation and adoption of actions to become fully evident.  Similarly, while there was some evidence at the time of this evaluation to demonstrate progress towards the use of information and tools from the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, more time is needed for the implementation and adoption of climate change measures and strategies.

Factors Impacting Performance

Most of the Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel and a few beneficiary/partner interviewees highlighted the importance of collaboration with partners in facilitating their work to the extent that they have been able to undertake so many activities and make progress towards the achievement of outcomes.  Similarly, program documentation highlighted an enabler of performance to be the maturity of relationships between members of the Climate Change Geoscience Program and key stakeholders and collaborators, along with the awareness within the program of the importance of stakeholder interaction for overall success.Footnote 115

Many Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees also considered the dedication, self-motivation, and expertise of the program scientists to be factors enabling success.  At the same time, most of the Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees noted that a lack of human resources (including the inability to recruit, as well as replace retiring scientists) along with limited A-based resources hindered the program’s ability to be as successful as it could have been in terms of outcome achievement. 

While it was clear that all of the Geoscience beneficiary/partner interviewees recognized and appreciated the work of the NRCan scientists, many of the interviewees also identified a lack of resources (both within NRCan and across stakeholder groups) and that the scientists are in high demand so not everything can get done. Program documentation also identified funding (primarily human resources) as a potential barrier to success as funding was less than requested two years in a row, thus limiting the program’s ability to produce deliverables and reducing employee morale.

In addition, Geoscience stakeholder and partner interviewees noted challenges impacting the performance of the Geoscience Program, including a lack of formal collaboration with the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, lack of collaboration/ cooperation with other areas of NRCan (within the sector and across sectors), disinterest in broadening expertise/specialization, and an inability to mainstream climate change into other programs.

Likewise, many RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees provided both positive and negative factors potentially impacting the performance of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.  In terms of positive factors, it was again observed that the focus on partnerships, collaboration, regions, and cooperation between different levels of government facilitate the effectiveness of the RACs.  Some interviewees also pointed out that the program may have benefitted from recent climate events (e.g., hurricanes and other major storms, mountain pine beetle infestation, wild fires, droughts, etc.), thus raising the profile of climate change.  The third factor thought to be facilitating the performance of the RACs, identified by some beneficiary/partner interviewees, was that the program was well managed and supported by NRCan.

However, the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees recognized that there were also some factors potentially hindering the performance of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.  In particular, some interviewees cited the heavy reporting and administrative burden, as well as the length of time to receive approvalsFootnote 116 as causing delays and therefore limiting the short-term impact of the RACs.

Most Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees identified that the support received from NRCan (e.g., funding, advice, and program personnel) facilitated the effectiveness of the Impacts and Adaptation Program.

Meeting the Needs of Target Audiences

The majority of Climate Change Geoscience Program interviewees believed that the program was meeting the needs of its target audiences (including communities, decision-makers, policy-makers, planners, scientific group, etc.).  It was noted by many interviewees that the program consulted with the target audiences to ensure the activities of the program were relevant to these groups.  With a couple of exceptions, the beneficiary/partner interviews also felt that the needs of the broad set of target groups were being met by the work of the program.  In particular, the interviewees cited potential communication issues in the form of a lack of a communications strategy and lack of feedback/ communication back to the communities to inform them of what was done with the information collected.

In the case of the Impacts and Adaptation Program, there was general consensus among program personnel interviewees that the needs of target groups were being met, particularly with respect to Tools for Adaptation.  As there was a delay in the start-up of the RACs, it was felt that it may be too soon to tell, though interviewees believed that stakeholders were engaged and progress was being made towards meeting their needs.  While the majority of RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees commented that the program was meeting the needs of the target audiences – despite consultations by the program with the provinces and related organization during the design phase of the current program – these interviewees generally felt that improvements could be made by including communities more in the process, communicating more with communities, and finding ways to better understand the needs of the target groups.

Many RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees did suspect that the needs of target groups will be better met as the work of the RACs progresses.  Lastly, among Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees, there were mixed responses.  Some interviewees thought that the program was doing well with meeting the needs of its target audiences directly involved in the process/projects, but less so with policy- and decision-makers.  To that end, a few Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees noted that the tools are not necessarily being marketed as well as they could be to these target audiences.Footnote 117

3.2.2 Unintended Outcomes

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
5. Have there been any unintended (positive or negative) outcomes? Stakeholder interviews;
case studies
Potential unintended outcomes identified for each program

Summary:

Potential unintended outcomes were identified by stakeholders from the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs.  For the most part, these unintended outcomes were positive observations resulting from the activities and achievements of the programs.

Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel and beneficiary/partner interviewees observed some potential unintended outcomes while others were identified through the case studies.  Those identified include:

  • visibility now of the cost of implementing adaptation measures;
  • training of students;
  • fostering the development of Nunavut’s first community-based research centre (Ittaq);
  • facilitating some take up by other programs on monitoring, although not with a climate horizon; and
  • fostering closer working relationships with other parts of NRCan’s Earth Sciences Sector.

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program personnel and beneficiary/partner interviewees reiterated the following potential unintended outcomes identified through the case studies:

  • B.C. RAC Case Study – A sub-committee of the Council of the Federation was established with the mandate of facilitating information sharing between policy staff on successes and challenges in advancing adaptation within governments and providing opportunities for more detailed discussion.  The idea of establishing the sub-committee emerged through informal discussion at a National RAC Integration Group meeting.
  • Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE) Case Study – As a result of the work on their Tools project, CCPE has promoted their Canadian tool in international forums such as the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and as Chair of its Committee on Engineering and the Environment (climate change adaptation is one of six work themes of the Committee).  The CCPE was invited to Costa Rica to do a case study assessing infrastructure using the tool developed through the Tools for Adaptation initiative, potentially opening doors to new work for Canadian engineers internationally.
  • Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) – Tools for Adaptation work opened opportunities for CIP to do international work.  CIP is using its newly-developed expertise in community planning in some work in Central America.  This work led to the development of a community planning tool for Guyana and CIP is now looking at developing an international planners’ guide.

3.2.3 Economy and Efficiency

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
6. Are the programs the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress towards outcomes? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews Insufficient evidence to assess

Summary:

Although evidence suggests that the approaches and activities implemented by the programs are effective in terms of progress towards achieving intended outcomes, it was not possible to assess the extent to which these are the most economic and efficient approaches and activities for achieving these outcomes. 

That said, it can reasonably be posited that through the collaborative approaches with partners providing in-kind and/or financial support to the programs, that this is an economic and efficient way to facilitate the effectiveness of the programs given current program resources.  However, limited information related to in-kind contributions, in particular, was available at the time of this evaluation so it is not possible to determine the extent to which these partnerships increased the effectiveness, efficiency and/or economy of the programs.

As climate change is a cross-cutting issue, some evidence from the literature suggests that adaptation programs could be more economic and efficient with an adaptation strategy that is integrated, across sectors, portfolios, and governments (e.g., a national strategy on climate change adaptation), in particular with respect to identifying priorities for adaptation related research, planning and policy-making.  Evidence also suggests that improved communication of knowledge and information related to climate change adaptation opportunities may also offer opportunities to increase the efficiency and economy of the programs.

Analysis:

Partnerships and Collaboration

By design, the Climate Change Geoscience Program often conducts its activities through partnerships using either financial or in-kind support.  At the time of this evaluation, it was not possible to determine the overall amount of support (financial and in-kind) leveraged by the program, but from the evidence, it is clear that the use of partnerships facilitates the achievement of outputs and progress towards outcomes.

In spite of these partnerships, many Geoscience Program personnel interviewees recognized that the focus of the Climate Change Geoscience Program may have been too broad to efficiently and economically achieve its intended outcomes.  While the program did make progress towards achieving the intended outcomes, it was identified by these interviewees that a number of activities being undertaken go beyond geoscience.  It was suggested that perhaps by identifying where NRCan Geoscience should be the lead and where it should play a supporting role, activities could then better align with resources.

The design of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program also uses a collaborative approach, requiring both the Tools for Adaptation and RAC contribution agreement proponents to match a minimum of 50% of the federal government’s contribution towards the project. In the current phase of programming, support from all federal government departments, including NRCan, must be matched by the proponent.Footnote 118

This requirement is slightly different than what was required under the previous phase of programming – namely, C-CIARN and the Enhanced Research Project – which set a goal, rather than a strict requirement, for the leveraging of 50% of project costs that could be obtained from other government departments, other levels of government, private sector and/or other organizations.  In both phases of programming, the 50% of leveraged support could be in the form of financial and/or in-kind contributions.Footnote 119  Limited information from the documentation was available to assess the extent to which in-kind contributions leveraged facilitated the effectiveness, efficiency, or economy of the program.Footnote 120

Nevertheless, with collaboration and cost-sharing through collaboration agreements as key elements to the design of the Impacts and Adaptation Program, the majority of program personnel interviewees, and most of the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees believed that the mix of activities and approach used were working well in terms of enabling the Program to achieve its outcomes efficiently and economy.

Delivery Approach

The Tools for Adaptation beneficiary/partner interviewees identified that the delivery approach and key activities could be improved to some extent.  The majority of suggestions related to an improved/increased virtual presence and opportunities (e.g., up-to-date user-friendly website, use of social networking tools, Internet courses, webinars, virtual library, etc.) increased participation in conferences with papers, booths, workshops, presentations and poster sessions, as well as increased opportunities for Tools participants to share experiences with each other.

Prioritizing Risks and National Coordination/Integration

Evidence resulting from a review of selected institutions – tools approaches by the Policy Research Initiative (March 2009)Footnote 121 – suggests that neither Canada nor the selected European countries (France, Finland, United Kingdom) included in a Policy Research Initiative study have a rigorous process for prioritizing risks at the national level nor an appropriate adaptation response to these risks.Footnote 122  However, these countries do have national adaptation strategies.

This Policy Research Initiative study also identified (based on its review of literature) that in order for there to be effective use of tools to prioritize climate change risks, governments need to “improve the institutional means to facilitate government-wide adaptation planning,”Footnote 123 which could mean some need for a national framework, such as those in France, Finland and the United Kingdom. As climate change is a cross-cutting issue, there is a need for adaptation actions to be integrated across sectors, portfolios and governments.  Specifically, for climate change adaptation programming to be efficient and economic, there may be a need for:

  • adequate institutional and financial mechanisms for adaptation research and planning; and
  • coordination for climate risk management to be integrated into policy-making and strategic planning.Footnote 124

While the Climate Change Geoscience Program consults heavily with partners and stakeholders in order to set its research priorities and ensure the relevance of this research to its partners and stakeholders, there is no national framework related to climate change adaptation against which to identify priorities.  That is, NRCan’s Geoscience Program strives to provide climate change research information that is relevant and can be incorporated into planning and policy-making but does so with somewhat limited resources by leveraging partnerships. 

Playing a coordination role is beyond the mandate and resources of the Climate Change Geoscience Program, but does suggest that there may be a need for an overarching national strategy related to climate change adaptation within which the Climate Change Geoscience Program would fit.  However, because the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program is the only federal climate change program funded to address impacts and adaptation, creating agreements in all provinces and territories and working directly with them to deliver a national adaptation frameworkFootnote 125 (2005), NRCan’s Impacts and Adaptation Program has often played a national coordination role.

Communication

In instances when NRCan has developed key information resulting from its climate change adaptation programs, evidence from this evaluation suggests that this information is not always as well communicated as it could be to ensure its effectiveness.  As a result, the programs efforts may not be as efficient as they could be in terms of having the information used in policy and decision-making related to climate change adaptation.  For example, a couple of the Climate Change Geoscience beneficiary/partner intervieweesFootnote 126 indicated that better communication is needed of geoscience knowledge and results of the program to stakeholders. 

Similarly, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development reported that the 2008 national-scale assessment led by NRCan (From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007) – although a detailed communications strategy had been developed and the report had been made available on the Internet – the document was released with no announcement.Footnote 127  Moreover, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development noted that even though this assessment identified risks to Canadians and Canada’s ecosystems spanning all aspects of Canadian society, “the government failed to take simple steps that would raise Canadians’ awareness and understanding of the risks,”Footnote 128 which also speaks to the potential need for a national strategy on adaptation.

3.2.4 Program Improvement

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
7. Are the programs designed in such a way as to enable the achievement of outcomes? Document review; literature review; stakeholder interviews; case studies Some opportunities for improvement

Summary:

Evidence suggests that there may be opportunities for improvements to program delivery approaches and mechanisms that could increase the relevance, effectiveness, economy and efficiency of the programs.  These include:

  • improved priority setting processes;
  • modifications to terms and conditions and funding formulas/rules;
  • increased collaboration between the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs;
  • increased collaboration between the RACs and Tools for Adaptation proponents within the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program; and
  • increased linkages to other NRCan sectors/programs.

Evidence from this evaluation also identifies some potential best practices and lessons learned that facilitate the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the programs.  Most notably, the use of collaboration, partnerships, involvement of communities, and a regional approach to climate change adaptation was considered a best practice of the programs.

With respect to resources, the general consensus was that the current resource levels were adequate, however it was recognized that this may be because of the use of partnerships and collaboration.  However, in the case of Climate Change Geoscience Program, it was identified that current difficulties in recruiting new scientific staff is quickly becoming an issue that could impact the effectiveness of the Program.  In the Case of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations, it was felt that resource levels were appropriate given the current scope and design of the Program.

Analysis:

Potential Areas for Improvements

Although the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs are making progress towards achieving their intended outcomes, there may be opportunities for improvements to increase relevance, effectiveness, economy and efficiency.  Evidence also suggests that there are elements that are considered to be working very well and potential best practices and/or lessons learned from which to draw when considering potential opportunities for NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation programming.

In particular, a couple of Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel noted that there may be a need for improving communications between policy-makers/policy analysts and scientists.  Other areas for improvement mentioned by many Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel related to setting priorities, including: having a transparent process; prioritizing based on available expertise; entering into strategic agreements with science departments to deal with horizontal issues; working with agencies that can assist in the uptake of what is produced; having policy and management identify long-term areas of focus that can be used to guide resource allocation; and focusing on areas that would meet the needs of other areas of NRCan.

Moreover, a couple of Climate Change Geoscience Program beneficiary/partner interviewees noted that the program could be improved if its profile and priorities were raised within NRCan.  A few other beneficiary/partner interviewees identified potential improvements with respect to support, in particular allowing for long-term, ongoing support for fundamental work (e.g., monitoring and research).

From the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program perspective, the RAC leads expressed a need to consider how other federal government departments are involved with RAC activities because they are also important partners in climate change adaptation.Footnote 129  Under the current structure, support from any federal government department program (including NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program) increased the amount of matching contribution required of the proponent.  Potential opportunities related to the administration, funding and structure of the Impacts and Adaptation Program, such as rules related to support from other federal government departments, were reiterated in the stakeholder interviews:Footnote 130

  • Many of stakeholder interviewees (program personnel, RAC and Tool beneficiary/partners) identified a potential to improve the program by allowing for more flexibility of the 50/50 matching requirements (particularly in the North and for smaller organizations who may not be able to attain the required 50%), as well as removing (or reducing) the 10% holdback to reduce cash flow issues with proponents.
  • The majority of program personnel interviewees also noted the potential for modifying the terms and conditions, including allowing for more federal government department participation by modifying the federal contribution matching requirement.
  • Many of the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees suggested permitting roll-over of funding each year to accommodate changing priorities, and removing the holdback.  From the administration perspective, some of these interviewees also felt there should be more flexibility/less controls in terms of what can be included in RAC activities, less reporting requirements, and more time with the front-end process (i.e., proposals).
  • Some of the Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees also identified a need for streamlined and clarified processes.

Furthermore, a review of the logic models from both the Impacts and Adaptation and Climate Change Geoscience Programs provides an indication of potential areas in which the two programs could collaborate, particularly with respect to community adaptation and economic resilience activities.  Although the specific approach and scope of the activities and outputs may vary between the two programs, the wording in the logic models suggests that outputs of a similar nature are being produced by both programs.  Ongoing program reporting suggests that the two programs were working towards clarifying the relationship between them and enhancing synergies.Footnote 131  At the time of this evaluation, it was unclear to what extent this had happened.

Most of the Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees indicated that there should be a more clearly defined and formal relationship between the Geoscience Program and the Impacts and Adaptation Program.  These program personnel felt that the geoscience information could be helpful to the Impacts and Adaptation Program, in particular the RACs.  Similarly, these program personnel identified a potential role for the Impacts and Adaptation Program in helping the Climate Change Geoscience Program with non-science aspects, such as outreach and translating the science to policy.

On the other hand, the majority of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program personnel interviewees described the relationship between the two programs as occurring at the strategic level or existing informally through the sharing of information and expertise.  For example, the Climate Change Geoscience Program played a key role in setting up the northern RAC based on its expertise, and also introduced the Canadian Institute of Planners to the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program after which they applied for funding for their capacity building initiative.

Only a few of the RAC and Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees were aware of the Climate Change Geoscience Program and/or linkages between it and the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.  Of the few RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees who were aware, it was noted that interaction was taking place at a project level or in an advisory role in a specific region and a couple of interviewees also pointed out that the current structure of the RACs in fact discourage linkages with federal government scientists, including those in the Climate Change Geoscience Program.  Nevertheless, many of the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees felt that there could be a benefit to exploring opportunities for formal linkages (e.g., where expertise is relevant/could be helpful, advisory role/steering committee member) and a few of the Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees identified opportunities to strengthen linkages and information exchange between the scientists and non-scientists.

Additionally, although the majority of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program personnel interviewees thought there were good linkages between the RACs and Tools for Adaptation initiatives, most of the beneficiary/partner interviewees felt that the linkages and collaboration between the two needed to be improved.  In fact, the majority of RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees had limited or no awareness of linkages between the RACs and Tools initiatives.Footnote 132  In particular, many of the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees indicated that it would be useful for NRCan to provide information about the Tools (e.g., a brief description, status, anticipated date of availability, etc.) to the RACs and communicate information to them regularly (e.g., through presentations, information on the web, webinars) because it was felt that these tools could be useful to the work of the RAC.  As well, only a few of the Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees were aware of linkages between the Tools and the RACs.  Nevertheless, most of these interviewees felt that it would be beneficial to have more networking opportunities to strengthen the linkages between, and increase the awareness of the RAC and Tools initiatives.

This desire to strengthen linkages between Tools and RACs was identified directly to the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program through the RAC Integration Group in which the RAC leads requested that tools project contacts meet with each RAC.Footnote 133

Best Practices

Only a few interviewees identified best practices related to the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs.  The best practice noted by a couple of Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees related to the relationship/engagement that the program has been able to develop with stakeholders and communities.  Likewise, best practices identified by program beneficiary/partner interviewees centred around the cooperation and collaboration between the program and the communities and stakeholders in conducting the geoscience work, including encouraging partnerships with other experts who have complementary and supportive skills.

In terms of the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, some of the Tools beneficiary/partner interviewees suggested that the multidisciplinary and collaborative approach is a best practice for facilitating the program’s effectiveness.  Most of the lessons learned and best practices identified by the RAC beneficiary/partner interviewees focussed on the structure and administration of the RACs.  In particular, it was noted that the focus of the RACs was clear and continuous, and work was facilitated by the collaborative nature of the RACs.

Adequacy of Resources

Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees generally felt that financial resources were adequate but that the breadth of the current program was perhaps a bit too broad and could be streamlined to better align with resources and focus the program’s efforts.  However, it was further identified that part of the reason financial resources have been adequate is because of the strength of the program to develop partnerships with stakeholders, leveraging financial and/or in-kind support.  Many of the program personnel interviewees highlighted that the program relies heavily on in-kind support in particular, but agreed that measuring this support was difficult and not currently tracked.

On the other hand, some of the Climate Change Geoscience Program personnel interviewees raised concerns about human resources identifying that it is difficult to recruit new and/or younger scientists noting that it is difficult to hire, and the expertise required may not be available.  With a number of scientists nearing retirement age, human resources may become a potential issue for the Climate Change Geoscience Program in the future.

All Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program personnel interviewees considered the current resource levels to be appropriate given the current scope and design of the program (e.g., the matching requirement).  It was noted by a couple of interviewees, however, that with the current resource levels, some opportunities are not taken and with an expected increase in demand in the future, current resources may not be adequate.

4.0 Conclusions

In conclusion, although the Climate Change Geoscience and Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation programs are highly relevant and are making progress towards achieving their outcomes, evidence from the evaluation did identify potential opportunities for improvement.

It is evident that the relevance and effectiveness of the Geoscience Program could be increased through formal linkages with the Impacts and Adaptation Program as well as other sectors or programs within NRCan where the geoscience information could have an impact.  This would also enable the Geoscience Program to more directly contribute to the mandate of the Department.

Similarly, the effectiveness of the Impacts and Adaptation Program could be improved through strengthened linkages between the RACs and Tools proponents to build awareness and encourage interaction and knowledge exchange.  Increasing formal linkages with the Geoscience Program could also potentially increase the effectiveness of Impacts and Adaptation Program by providing geoscientific information and expertise that could contribute to the region-specific knowledge being developed by the RACs and to inform the work of the Tools proponents.

Appendix A: Climate Change Geoscience Programming Descriptions

Climate Change Geoscience Program: Description and Delivery Approach

Within NRCan’s Earth Sciences Sector, the Climate Change Geoscience Program is under the purview of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), Central and Northern Canada.  This is illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Location of Climate Change Geoscience within the Earth Sciences Sector

Figure 2: Location of Climate Change Geoscience within the Earth Sciences Sector

2005-06: Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Program

Text Version

 

The Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Program was delivered from 2002-03 to 2005-06,Footnote 134 with the objective of lessening the “vulnerability of Canadians, their infrastructure and communities to climate change via research”.135  This objective was to be achieved by:

  • conducting and publicizing research aimed at improved understanding of the sensitivity of Canada’s landmass and coastal areas; and
  • through the incorporation of new knowledge, planning and resource management.

As described in Table 5, the program undertook 27 activitiesFootnote 136 across six projects related to:

  • the monitoring of Canada’s landscape and coastal areas through satellite observation and in-situ measurements;
  • paleo reconstructions for understanding historical climate and landscape evolution;
  • spatially explicit, process-based modelling of landscape dynamics; and
  • simulations and assessments of landscape changes in response to climatic, socio-economic and policy scenarios.

Activities were selected by first identifying the criteria required for an effective project and soliciting proposals from scientists within ESS to meet those criteria.  All activities were evaluated against the criteria and the set of activities that best addressed the project needs and fit within the budget scope were selected.

Table 5: Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Program Projects
Project (# of activities) Description
Earth Science for National Action on Climate Change  (8 activities) Generated new knowledge in areas in which gaps were identified by the Canadian Climate Change Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or areas in which reducing uncertainties was critical for policy decisions.
Regional Climate Change Impacts: Geoscience Information for Other Government Departments (4 activities) Emphasized the development of relationships with key clients (e.g., federal/provincial/territorial transportation agencies, provincial/territorial governments, environment and resource agencies) to respond to major climate change issues related to Arctic warming, sea-ice thinning, sea level and coastal changes, and water resource concerns in Canada.
Municipal Case Studies: The Planning Process and Climate Change (5 activities) Undertook case studies to address a cross-section of major climate change issues that were facing Canada, including: water resource depletion; coastal attack due to higher sea levels; and permafrost melting.
Paleo-environmental Records of Climate Change (3 activities) Provided paleo-scenarios for evaluating the potential response of specific regions or environments to climate change and to help constrain or validate simulations of past climate change.
Monitoring Methods and Assessment of Carbon Sequestration over Canada’s Landmass (4 activities) Aimed to carry out research and produce synthesis papers and other key outputs for the purposes of better informing the Canadian government, policy makers and the public about the monitoring methods and potential for biological and geological sequestration over Canada’s landmass.
Socio-economic Vulnerability and Integrated Assessment (3 activities) Addressed issues related to the cost of impacts and adaptation to Canada by linking scientific assessments of climate change vulnerability with socio-economic dynamics for improved understanding of the socio-economic costs and vulnerability.

Source: NRCan, Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Archived Website, 2007.

These projects and activities were intended to contribute to the effective reduction in the vulnerability of Canada’s people, communities, and infrastructure to climate change by: delivering geoscience data, maps, imagery, reports, knowledge, expertise and understanding to decision-makers; contributing results to climate change impacts monitoring and assessment, reporting, and negotiation teams; and enhancing resilience and reducing vulnerability through increased adaptive capacity.Footnote 137  The long-term outcome identified for this program was “The vulnerability of Canadians to climate change is reduced.”Footnote 138

2006-07 to 2009-10: Climate Change Geoscience Program

In 2006-07, the Reducing Canada’s Vulnerability to Climate Change transitioned into the current Climate Change Geoscience Program.  The objective of the Climate Change Geoscience Program is to “apply geoscience and geomatic expertise to assist Canadians in understanding, preparing for and adapting to the effects of climate change on their communities, infrastructure and way of life.”Footnote 139  In support of this objective, the program generates information and knowledge about the sensitivity of Canada’s land to the effects of a changing climate.

The Climate Change Geoscience Program delivers products to NRCan management, as and when required to meet federal, national, and international commitments related to climate change and climate change adaptation.  Activities and projects of the program are based on science priorities defined by the federal government and/or NRCan.  These science and science-related activities are primarily delivered through investigations, sometimes intra-departmental, but most often through partnerships with other government departments, academia and other related agencies.  Partners participate as committee members, co-funders, and/or recipients of funds with commitments to deliver on the mandate.  Interdepartmental letters of agreement, memoranda of understanding and other mechanisms are used to formalize these partnerships.

As described in Table 6, the program undertook 31 activities across five projects related to a variety of themes, including: the North, communities; coasts, water resources; satellite climate data; and past climate changes. The activities started with the development of a research proposal to the program manager.  Each activity was assessed with respect to its ability to contribute to the logic model and to ensure that all elements in the model were addressed.

Table 6: Climate Change Geoscience Program Projects
Project (# of activities) Description
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Key Economic and Natural Environmental Sectors
(9 activities)
Conducted focused studies for the purposes of contributing to the understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on the energy supply, agriculture, and the natural capital of the North, as well as to identifying options for adaptation.
Building Resilience to Climate Change in Human Settlements
(6 activities)
Conducted place-based research in regions and communities on the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts, in the Arctic and in southern Ontario with the goal of having ESS information enable the identification and characterization of vulnerabilities and adaptation options by practitioners in the regions and communities.
Earth Science for National Scale Characterization of Climate Change Impacts on Canada’s Landmass
(6 activities)
Expanded work related to generating national scale datasets and knowledge pertaining to climate variability, ecosystem response, and climate change impact on Canada’s landmass and natural resources for key areas and gaps identified by Canadian policy makers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Paleo-environmental Perspectives on Climate Change
(6 activities)
Used proxy records of past terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric conditions preserved in terrestrial and marine sediments, ice cores and other such natural archives to advise public policy and guide adaptation strategies to the potential impacts of climate change in Canada.
International Activities
(4 activities)
Fed knowledge generated by the program into (and influences) international assessments and governments.  In turn, the program is networked with the international science community and is informed by advances outside of Canada.

Source: NRCan, Enhancing Resilience in a Changing Climate: About the Program. From https://geoscan.nrcan.gc.ca/starweb/geoscan/servlet.starweb?path=geoscan/fulle.web&search1=R=288756, retrieved October 5, 2010.

The Climate Change Geoscience Program delivers programming along three streams:

  • economic resilience: activities are focused on using earth science capacities to understand the climate change-related risks and resilience of water systems and related landscape that are needed for key economic activities and ecosystem services;Footnote 140
  • community adaptation: activities relate to the application or earth science to enable the “identification and characterization of vulnerabilities, hazards and adaptation options by practitioners in communities, governments and planning organizations across Canada”;Footnote 141 and
  • advising public policy: activities include producing national scale knowledge of climate change impacts on Canada’s landmass, increasing the understanding of past climate variability to provide context for current adaptation strategies, and increasing the exchange of climate change knowledge between Canada and the international science community.Footnote 142

The long-term outcome identified for this program is that “Canada’s resilience to climate change is enhanced through effective adaptation strategies, informed ESS geoscience and geomatics outputs.”Footnote 143

Climate Change Geoscience Program Stakeholders: Partners and Intended Beneficiaries

Partners

Program partners depend on the expertise and knowledge of the Climate Change Geoscience Program in conducting in-situ geological and geographical surveys, satellite remote sensing, and integrated analysis, to understand the impacts of a changing climate on the communities, infrastructure and sectors notably in northern and coastal communities.

Key partners and collaborators in the delivery of the program include:

  • universities, such as St. Francis Xavier University, University of Arizona, University of Lethbridge, University of Calgary, Royal Roads University, Heidelberg University, University of Maryland, etc.;
  • other government departments, including the Department of National Defence, Environment Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans;
  • private sector, such as SoftMirrors Ltd.;
  • international organizations, in particular the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
  • clients, such as Hydro Quebec, Manitoba Hydro, City of Halifax, City of Delta, northern communities (Clyde River, Pangnirtung, Iqaluit, Arviat, Whale Cove, Kugluktuk, and Cambridge Bay), Fraser River Basin Council, and the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Intended Beneficiaries

The Climate Change Geoscience Program is intended to reach out to a very large number of organizations from the provinces/territories, professional organizations, and universities from Canada and abroad.  These organizations often worked directly with the program in carrying out studies or were direct recipients of the geoscience products.

The target groups identified by the program as key players involved in mitigation and adaptation efforts include:

  • decision-makers in key sectors, including urban, water, agriculture, energy, transportation, and ecosystems;
  • leaders and planners in vulnerable communities in coastal, drought-prone, and permafrost affected areas;
  • scientists advising policy-makers and adaptation decision-makers related to change detection, trends, potential for rapid changes, extremes and impacts; and
  • policy-makers involved in reporting and negotiating for the Government of Canada on issues such as greenhouse gas and carbon budgets, carbon sequestration, mitigation and adaptation measures.
 

Appendix B: Climate Change Adaptation Programming Descriptions

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program: Description and Delivery Approach

Within NRCan’s Earth Sciences Sector, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program is under the purview of the Coordination and Strategic Issues Branch. This is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Location of Impacts and Adaptation within the Earth Sciences Sector

Location of Impacts and Adaptation within the Earth Sciences Sector

Phase 1: Action Plan 2000 and Climate Change Interim Strategy

Text Version

 

For 2005-06, under Action Plan 2000, the objective of the Impacts and Adaptation Program was to provide knowledge of Canada’s vulnerability to climate change for the purposes of assisting decision makers in making appropriate decisions on adaptation, and to better assess the risk posed by climate change.Footnote 144  Although this objective remained the same under the Climate Change Interim Strategy from 2006-07 to 2007-08, this Interim Strategy did place an added emphasis on strengthening capacity to use scientific and socio-economic information in decision making, and contribute to the development of a national adaptation strategy and implementation plan as part of Canada’s approach to climate change.Footnote 145

The initiatives encompassed in this phase of the Impacts and Adaptation Program included:Footnote 146

  • Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN), which consisted of six regional and seven sectoral nodes, a national network coordinator and was funded through contribution agreements.  The purpose of this network was to enhance the coordination and collaboration between impacts and adaptation researchers and stakeholders by providing a focal point for contacts, data, and information related to impacts and adaptation research across Canada.
  • Enhanced Research Program, which aimed to increase knowledge of Canada’s sensitivity to climate change and the adaptation capacity in key sectors in order to identify Canada’s vulnerabilities to climate change and enable decision-makers to meet immediate and long-term needs.  This initiative was funded through letters of agreement with federal project leaders and contribution agreements for non-federal project leaders.
  • Capacity Building for Impacts and Adaptation, which was based on the need to increase Canada’s capacity in the area of impacts and adaptation research in order to meet the growing demands for information to feed the development of adaptation strategy and policy development.  The intention was for this initiative to start to address recognized capacity gaps while reviewing progress in addressing these gaps in non-critical areas.  This initiative would build impacts and adaptation research capacity in the Prairie Adaptation Research Cooperative facility in Regina and other key sectors and regions (e.g., the North).  It was funded using contribution agreements.

Similar initiatives continued to be the focus of the Impacts and Adaptation Program under the Climate Change Interim Strategy (2006-07 to 2007-08).  The three specific activities identified under this strategy include:Footnote 147

  • funding research and activities that improve our knowledge of the risks and opportunities presented by climate change, thereby building the foundation upon which appropriate adaptation decisions can be made;
  • assessing the knowledge of Canada’s vulnerability to climate change through coordination and publication of scientific assessments; and
  • facilitating knowledge dissemination and communication between stakeholders and researchers.

The long-term outcome identified for this program, under Phase 1, was: as the program reduces the gaps in knowledge and awareness of the risks of climate change and the benefits of adaptation, more adaptation strategies will be developed and implemented, reducing the negative impacts of climate change and enhancing its benefits.Footnote 148

Phase 2: Clean Air Agenda

Building on the initiatives under Phase 1 (2005-06 to 2007-08), the objectives of the Impacts and Adaptation Program under the Clean Air Agenda were to:Footnote 149

  • generate and effectively deliver knowledge and information needed to understand the range of risks and opportunities from a changing climate; and
  • effectively inform and engage decision-makers across a range of social and economic sectors with responsibilities to adapt.

The long-term outcomes identified for this program, under Phase 2 are:Footnote 150

  • practitioners consider risks and opportunities from a changing climate in routine practices, guidelines, or codes and standards; and
  • decision-makers consider risks and opportunities from a changing climate in policy, planning, or operations.

The two main initiatives under Phase 2 of the Impacts and Adaptation Program (2008-09 to 2009-10) are: Regional Adaptation Collaboratives and Tools for Adaptation.  These initiatives are delivered using contribution agreements with eligible recipients.  These are defined as Canadian organizations, including:Footnote 151

  • educational and academic institutions;
  • provincial, territorial, regional and municipal government agencies;
  • not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations;
  • businesses and their professional associations; and
  • Aboriginal organizations.

Regional Adaptation Collaboratives

Regional Adaptation Collaboratives provide a mechanism for collaboration among different levels of government, the private sector, and community organizations on complex adaptation issues that address federal, sectoral and/or regional priorities.  The objective of the RACs is to equip decision makers with the information and advice necessary to make policy, operational and management changes that respond to regional opportunities and threats from a changing climate.Footnote 152

Specifically, RACs design local projects targeted to decision makers that integrate adaptation measures into regional planning, policies and programs.  The development of region-specific knowledge and tools such as community development plans, building practices, and water and resource management are then shared across regions and sector to accelerate adaptation planning and decision-making nation-wide.Footnote 153

The Regional Adaptation Collaborative initiative issued a call for Letters of Interest. The proponents each identified their own list of projects/activities to be pursued through the RAC initiative.  This list was based on each region’s specific adaptation priorities, as well as level of momentum (willing partners) and supporting information/data needed to successfully advance adaptation decision-making within the timeframe of the program.  The National Assessment provided a useful reference to all RAC proponents in that it identifies adaptation priorities, by region of Canada. The letters were reviewed and successful proponents were asked to submit a full proposal.

As at March 31, 2010, five RACs had been established through signed agreements and a sixth RAC (Northern Regional Adaptation Collaborative) was under development.  These RACs, their priorities and the amount of NRCan’s contribution are identified in Table 7.

Table 7: Regional Adaptation Collaboratives
RACs* Focus Areas* NRCan Contribution
($M)**
(over life of Program)
# of Partners*
Preparing for Climate Change: Securing British Columbia’s Water Future
  • Water allocation and use
  • Forest and fisheries management
  • Flood protection
  • Community adaptation
3.8 18
Prairie Regional Adaptation Collaborative
  • Water supply and demand
  • Drought and flood planning
  • Forest and grassland ecosystems
3.3 10
Ontario Regional Adaptation Collaborative
  • Extreme weather risk management
  • Water management
  • Community development planning
3.3 9
Regional Adaptation Collaborative – Quebec
  • Built environment and infrastructure
  • Water management
  • Forestry, agriculture and tourism sectors
3.7 20
Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions
  • Community planning for food and coastal areas
  • Groundwater protection
  • Enhancing capacity of practitioners
3.7 66
Northern Regional Adaptation Collaborative
  • Vulnerability assessment of Nunavut’s mining sector to climate change
  • Documentation of good environmental practices for Northern exploration and mining
0.4 5

*Source: NRCan website. About the Collaboratives. From http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/environment/impacts-adaptation/regional-initiatives/collaboratives/10633, retrieved July 21, 2011.
**Source: Internal Program Documentation.

Tools for Adaptation

The Tools for Adaptation initiative involves the development of adaptation tools to support decision making on whether and how to adapt to a changing climate.  These tools aim to address the need to make climate change information relevant and useful to potential users from a variety of different sectors.  This initiative strives to meet this need by developing tools tailored to meet user needs.Footnote 154

Two types of tools are being created: risk management tools; and adaptation planning tools.  Risk management tools are based on classic risk management approaches and provide a step-wise approach to assessing the risks from climate change to a community, region, infrastructure or business.  They can be used to do a high level review of risks to create a business case for future analysis or to conduct a detailed risk assessment with more in-depth information.  Adaptation planning tools guide users from the risk assessment stage through to the identification and implementation of adaptation resources.Footnote 155

The Tools initiative was targeted at specific sectors: initially communities and the energy sector.  The approach was to assess the need for tools, and where appropriate, fund their development, distribution and training.  National organizations, such as Engineers Canada and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Canada, were targeted because of their role and reach.  In a few cases, Canadian experts were targeted because of their unique expertise (such as economic expertise at Climate Change Central).

As at March 31, 2010, the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program funded seven Tools for Adaptation projects through contribution agreements, as identified in Table 8.

Table 8: Tools for Adaptation Projects
Project (Proponent) NRCan Contribution ($M)
Risk Management Tool for Communities (S.e.i. Inc) 0.07
Tools for Engaging and Enabling Engineers (Engineers Canada) 1.7
Mainstreaming Climate Change Tools for the Professional Community (Canadian Institute of Planners) 0.8
Scoping Report on CSA’s Standardized Climate Change Risk Management Guidance (Canadian Standards Association) 0.03
ICLEI Municipal Adaptation Guidebook 0.1
Guidance on Economics of Adaptation (Climate Change Central) 0.04
Examining Climate Change Preparedness (Marsh Insurance) 0.01

Source: Internal program documentation.

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program Stakeholders: Partners and Intended Beneficiaries

Adaptation involves a wide range of players: individuals, community groups, non-government organizations, business/industry, and all levels of government. 

Partners

NRCan’s federal partner departments include: Environment Canada; Health Canada; Public Health Agency of Canada; Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; and others – specifically those departments with an interest in the sectors, or regions targeted for program activity, or those with responsibilities for complementary adaptation activities as parts of their mandates (such as Infrastructure Canada and Transport Canada).

With the implementation of the Clean Air Agenda and the establishment of the RACs, most provinces/territories and municipalities are considered partners as they will be directly involved and share in the decision making as to the choice of adaptation actions to be implemented.

Other partners include the organizations participating in the development of the various tools for assessing vulnerability, prioritizing risk, and developing the process and steps in implementing adaptation strategies.

Intended Beneficiaries

The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program is intended to reach out to a broad target of practitioners (e.g., engineers, planners, resource managers) and decision makers in governments, the private sector and community organizations across a range of economic and social sectors, as well as the research community and non-government organizations.Footnote 156

Other intended beneficiaries of adaptation actions taken to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change include Canadians in all regions across a variety of sectors (including, but not limited to agriculture, ecosystems, water resources, fisheries, oceans and coastal zones, forestry, human health, infrastructure and economy, transportation and tourism, etc.).Footnote 157

Logic Model for NRCan’s Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives

 

Appendix C: List of Case Studies

The following case studies were conducted as part of this evaluation study:

Case Reason for Selection
Climate Change Geoscience Program
1. Dendroisotopic Reconstruction of Hydroclimatic Conditions over the Past Centuries in Hydropower Regions of the Quebec-Labrador Peninsula
  • Addresses the issue of ensuring resiliency of key economic sectors to climate change
2. Clyde River: Case Study in Building Resilience to Climate Change on Human Settlements
  • Addresses the issue of climate change impact on northern communities
3. Enhanced Permafrost Monitoring Network through Community Consultation and Establishment of New Sites in the Mackenzie Region
  • Addresses the issue of the source and magnitude of climate change impacts on key environmental indicators
  • Addresses the issue of climate change impact on northern communities
4. State and Evolution of the Columbia Icefield – Predicting Changes in Future Water Resources
  • Addresses the issue of the source and magnitude of climate change impacts on key environmental indicators
  • Addresses the issue of forecasting the possible magnitude of future environmental changes
5. Dynamics of the Prairie Landscape under Climate Change and Implications for Water Resources and Bioenergy Development
  • Addresses the issue of ensuring the resiliency of key economic sectors to climate change
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program
6. Preparing for Climate Change: Securing British Columbia’s Water Future
  • A RAC involving a single province
7. Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions
  • A RAC involving multiple provinces
8. Tools for Engaging and Enabling Engineers
  • Proponent was involved in both phases of programming so progress made towards outcomes
9. Mainstreaming Climate Change Tools for the Professional Planning Community
  • Proponent involved in both phase of programming so progress made towards outcomes
  • Potential links with Climate Change Geoscience Program
10. National Assessment of the Impacts and Adaptation in Canada
  • Key output of previous phase of programming
  • Informed the development (i.e., priorities) of the RACs
11. C-CIARN Forest Sector: State of Play
  • The status of climate change impacts and adaptation from the perspective of C-CIARN forest sector