Adaptation

Department: NRCan
CAA Program Name: Enhancing Competitiveness in a Changing Climate
PAA Strategic Outcome: 3   
Sub-Activity: 3.1.3 (Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation)

Program Description

The program transitioned from a focus on Innovative Risk Management Tools and Regional Adaptation Collaboratives that focused on engagement and capacity building of a wide range of decision-makers in adaptation to a renewed program that will provide stability and structure to support the ever-increasing array of adaptation activities. Through the new Adaptation Platform and its working groups, the program will enable collaboration on adaptation between governments, businesses, professional, and national organizations, including the development and exchange of information, tools, expertise. These activities are focused on enhancing competitiveness by equipping decision-makers in regions and natural resource industries with tools and information needed to understand and adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

Expected Achievements 2011-12

  • The Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs) and Tools programming will greatly increase the availability of adaptation information, tools and products
  • The RACs will continue to strengthen collaboration to address adaptation
  • The RACs will increase capacity to conduct and apply adaptation science

Performance Story 2011-12

The programs delivered 20 new case studies, and 2 decision support tools, and a multitude of reports, increasing the availability of resources for decision-making.  Work also started on products that will provide single point access to information. For instance, the new on-line compendium of water and adaptation information will help decision-makers access the latest information on all aspects of water resource management in a changing climate.  This is the first time all of this information has been compiled in one place and it will make it easier for users to access the latest, most relevant information for their water management needs.

The 6 Regional Adaptation Collaboratives strengthened collaboration through the delivery of 27 workshops and conference sessions that brought together decision makers to share knowledge and expertise to advance adaptation decision-making on 15 issues including water management, community planning, infrastructure, forest management, and mining.  For example, the BC RAC convened a workshop that brought together representatives from the mining industry and governments to discuss the current adaptation action in the mining sector and actions that could assist the sector further. 

The collaboration, information and recommendations from the RAC projects contributed to the development of policies including:

  • provincial climate adaptation guidelines for Nova Scotia municipalities
  • adaptation plans to address floods and droughts in Saskatchewan and other provinces

Building on the success of the RACs, the program launched the Adaptation Platform which brings together governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to share information, experience and expertise, generate new insights and identify opportunities for adaptation.

Lessons Learned

Time spent on building collaborative relationships at the start of projects is critical to the success and impact of the projects. 

Flexibility in program design and implementation are critical to allow the program to take advantage of new opportunities to advance learning and capacity development in this growing and evolving issue.

Financial Information ($ million)

Program Planned Spending FY 2011-12 Actual Spent FY 2011-12
2.75 2.14

Department: NRCan
CAA Program Name: Enhancing Competitiveness in a Changing Climate
Strategic Outcome: 3 
Sub- Activity: 3.1.2 (Forest Disturbances Science and Application)

Program Description

The Climate Change Adaptation Project provides knowledge and tools to members of Canada’s forest sector enabling them to make informed decisions about how they can best adapt to climate change. This integrating and transdisciplinary project brings together biophysical and social science, links them to policy, and emphasizes knowledge exchange, particularly through the early engagement of the end-users in research initiatives. Priorities are: a) a toolkit of forest adaptation models and decision support systems for forest practitioners; b) integrated information and/or systems to track and report on the impacts of climate change on Canada’s forest ecosystems; and c) an interdisciplinary assessment of forest sector vulnerability to climate change. Two emerging areas of research are assisted migration and adaptive capacity. Work in this project is highly collaborative and has strong linkages to outputs and components in several other projects.

Expected Achievements 2011-12

Forest Change, the CFS contribution to the Adaptation Project, planned to achieve:

  • formation of a steering committee of CFS researchers to provide regional representation and thoughtful leadership for the initiative
  • identification and acceleration of aligned CFS science for the planned Adaptation Toolkit
  • initial consultation with prospective end-users on the subject of their adaptation information needs
  • identification of a comprehensive list of indicators of climate change impacts on Canada’s forests
  • development of an initial framework for the CFS Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Tracking System
  • identification of the key policy drivers for a CFS Integrated Assessment of climate change implications for the forest sector
  • raising awareness about forest change in the forest sector community

Performance Story 2011-12

The Forest Change Core Team was formed in early October, composed of research representatives from each CFS regional centre. Programs funds were invested to accelerate work identified as key research activities to contribute to preliminary Adaptation Toolkit. Research results and sample information products were presented to the core team in late March 2012. In late February, the group held a first workshop with prospective knowledge users from industry, academia, and the provinces and territories, and consulted on their adaptation information needs.  Feedback on the workshop was very positive, and dialogue has continued between the participants and the Core Team in the form of phone calls, e-mail messages, and face-to-face meetings (e.g. presentations to Forest Products Association of Canada, OURANOS Consortium), as well as two published information articles on Forest Change in high well-read forestry journals (Forestry Chronicle, BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management). Knowledge exchange both within CFS and with external stakeholders and collaborators is a key component of on-going Forest Change work, and linkages with related initiatives, such as the work of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers Climate Change Task Force are being strengthened. Indicators of climate change impacts on the forest sector were developed through a series of planned working sessions at each CFS regional centre, where scientific and socio-economic researchers worked together to come up with a comprehensive list; a White Paper, which details both the process and result of this initiative is now available on the NRCan Wiki, and comments from reviewers are being solicited. A short list of useful and relevant indicators is now being developed via a prioritization exercise based on relevance and feasibility. An initial framework for the CFS Tracking System of climate change impacts has been developed, and aligned CFS monitoring programs which can contribute information have been identified. Key policy questions which need to be addressed by the CFS Integrated Assessment of climate change implications for the forest sector were identified through a series of interviews with CFS policy leaders. Input from these interviews were analyzed in a CFS workshop and then summarized and categorized in an internal report.  These questions are currently being prioritized on the basis of their importance and their probability of being successfully answered.

Lessons Learned

  • CFS has a great deal of capacity and research knowledge on climate change impacts and adaptation in the forest sector
  • The program provides a framework to better focus and coordinate research efforts to address adaptation.  In certain cases, research outputs only need additional focus and/or minimal extra work to become usable and useful adaptation information products
  • Knowledge Exchange is a key principle of Forest Change: end-users of adaptation information need be involved in the development of knowledge products in order to efficiently mainstream climate change into decision-making
  • the Forest Change initiative achieves interdisciplinary knowledge integration and is a good example of a successful integrated systems approach

Financial Information ($ million)

Program Planned Spending FY 2011-12 Actual Spending FY 2011-12
1.00 0.92

Department: NRCan
CAA Program Name: Enhancing Competitiveness in a Changing Climate
Strategic Outcome: 3 
Sub- Activity: 3.1.3 (Climate Change Geoscience and Adaptation)

Program Description

Climatic warming in the North poses new challenges to various mining-related activities, especially mine waste management and effluent treatment. Relying on available and proven technologies without exploring new alternatives is inadequate to efficiently tackle the pending challenges. The Metals and Minerals Sector (MMS) will assess the current mine waste management and effluent treatment practices in the North with respect to their ability to accommodate the impacts of extreme climatic events.  The work will focus on northern mining vulnerability, examining operations, development and reclamation projects, and researching potential adaptation options. The program will deliver reports and technical seminars to share the results of this work with decision-makers.

Expected Achievements 2011-12

  • Evaluation of the proficiency of current practices
    • Assess current mine waste management and effluent treatment technologies in northern mines and their ability to accommodate the impacts of extreme climate events
    • Review and  assess actual and potential impacts of a warming climate on mine waste management and effluent treatment at selected operating, developing and closed mines in the three Canadian Territories
    • Examine the efficacy of currently available mitigation and adaptation options
  • Scientific research to advance evolving technologies and fill in knowledge gaps
    • Preliminary investigation of the applicability of biochar and humic acid in mine waste management and effluent treatment in the North
    • Examination of the roles of microbes in metal remobilization and attenuation under different climatic settings

Performance Story 2011-12

During the past fiscal year assessments of mine waste management in the changing territorial climates were undertaken. This resulted in a report on “Yukon Mine Wastes and Climate Change” and climate change information as it relates to mining in NWT and Nunavut. Testing of potential adaptation technologies commenced, including evaluation of five different biochars for metal attenuation. Field sampling at the Giant mine was completed to secure samples for investigating various means to convert arsenic trioxide dust to more stable forms and the role of microbes in attenuating arsenic transport; pertinent laboratory work is under-way. Preliminary results are very positive.

Lessons Learned

To assure the acquisition of best possible data and that the project results are of practical use in the North, in addition to in-house research, this project entails consultations with northern agencies and collaborations with external research organizations (including two colleges in the territories) for various technical tasks. The main challenge of such an approach is establishing collaboration with external partners in a short time frame and the associated risk of collaborators not delivering the targeted results on time.

Financial Information ($ million)

Program Planned Spending FY 2011-12 Actual Spending FY 2011-12
0.20 0.20